• About Séamus

    Originally from Northern Ireland, I came to England seventeen years ago. My first proper job was in an opticians and I have never left the industry since (apart from one month at a bespoke shirt makers). I have sixteen years experience of the eyewear industry and have a passion for handmade spectacles and sunglasses with an eye on innovation in design.

  • Monthly Archives: March 2013

    Monday, March 11, 2013

    Portugal’s Finest

    Today we are very happy to introduce Paulino Spectacles to you. They have just launched their first collection and were conceived by optician Ramiro Pereira Paulino in honour of his Grandfather, Paulino Bernardo Pereira, the man who started the family opticians in the late ‘30s.

    Paulino Bernardo Pereira, Grandfather of Ramiro.

    Paulino Bernardo Pereira, Grandfather of Ramiro.

    At a time when most frames were custom-made and made to order, Ramiro’s Grandfather was famous for his fastidiousness. He ensured that his customers received eyewear that was robust, that fitted well and suited them. His customers were from mostly agricultural backgrounds and the strength, comfort and quality of the eyewear they bought was extremely important.

    Paulino Spectacles 3

    When Ramiro’s Father took over the business in the ‘50s, he moved the business to the town of Caldas da Rainha. Although he was moving into a market already well served by opticians, his skill and experience made him stand out against his competitors. He continued his Father’s made to measure service and created customised frames for his clients with the same attention to detail and perfectionism that had made his Father’s frames a byword for quality.

    Paulino Spectacles 2 sm

    By the ‘70s Ramiro junior was spending his out of school hours at his Father’s business. Amusing himself by making toys out of the offcuts of the frames his Father was working on. He grew up in this environment and learned the craft from his Father, eventually working in partnership with his Father. Ramiro has a passion for the legacy of his family business and in particular, the creation of new frames. Frames that can arouse an emotion in the wearer because of the feel of the high quality acetate, the luxurious colours and the sense of craftsmanship in each pair of spectacles or sunglasses.

    Paulino Spectacles 1 sm

    Paulino Spectacles is a collection of fourteen frames available as either optical or sunglass configuration. Each one is hand-made in Portugal at the last surviving eyewear factory in the whole of the Iberian Peninsula. There is not a single computer at the factory. Each frame tooled by hand and worked on by one of a team of five. They use (as always) the best Mazzucchelli organic acetate that ensures a level of finish that matches the vision of Ramiro.

    Ramiro Paulino Pereira, founder of Paulino Spectacles

    Ramiro Paulino Pereira, founder of Paulino Spectacles

    We have every model here for you to see at the moment and we are the only store outside of Iberia to have them. To try them on, pop into the store and for more information on Paulino Spectacles, visit their website.

    Comments Off on Portugal’s Finest
    Friday, March 8, 2013

    Milan

    Last weekend, I found myself in Milan for the Mido optical show. Although the more commercial of the two largest optical shows, expectations were still high. The recession affects creatives as much as any other profession. On the one hand, it is well documented that financial hardship creates an environment of job insecurity leading many to make the leap into self-employment but also it tends to inspire creativity in some. When these two influences combine in the optical market, we get lots of new companies. And so here we are.

    Mido

    There seemed to be a raft of these new companies showing their collections for the first time. Some good, some not so good. One thing I noticed is that a lot of frame manufacturing companies are offering collections direct to opticians now. I guess that, when faced with lower orders from the designers, they need to use their production capacity in some way. Unfortunately the designs of many of these companies were a little bland but nice to see people trying to keep the European factories working. Not that it is very likely but were the manufacturing centres of Jura or Cadore to fail, I doubt they could be restarted.

    Trend wise, this year seems to be the year of Neon (or day-glo or fluorescent or whatever you like to call it). Trends in colours tend to be driven by material companies. Much as in clothing, when a new palette is released, everybody wants the new style. Last year saw the release of new colours from the largest supplier to the hand-made market and now we see the result of the inspiration it provided.

    New Struktur

    The above example is by French brand, Struktur. I will have these in store in a few weeks. Michel Henau had new models and colours which, though maybe not neon, still exhibit a more colourful direction.

    Below is an example of one the new models from my favourite German designers, Framers. They have some exciting new shapes and colours and again we see some brighter colours coming from them.

    FRAMERS lookbook 2012

     

    On the new front, I have been looking at the work of Veronika Wildgruber for the last year since she launched her collection. Veronika is a Berlin based furniture designer who has turned her hand to eyewear. They are hand-made in France (in Jura of course) and are pleasantly quirky but ultimately glamorous. They should be in store just before the summer.

    The last little thing I picked up were modern-day pince nez makers, Seeoo. I have been eyeing these for a few years and wondered if I should get them in. Lately I have been asking a few of you for your opinion and it seems to be well received. They will arrive in just a couple of weeks. For those of you who don’t want to wear varifocals all the time, these can be gently clipped to your nose below your specs (if you wear specs) and allow you to read comfortably.

    seeoo_classic_rosso

    Stay tuned for some rapid updates over the next few days. We have a few arrivals that we need to tell you about!

    Comments Off on Milan