A new and vintage eyewear boutique proves there's a right way to get framed. By Kirsten Fleming
Channeling the bespectled look of Arthur Miller has never been cooler, but finding a pair the playwright would deem up to snuff has never been more elusive. Nowadays, opticals are owned by conglomerates, carry licensed brands produced in China and sold around the world, and dispense prescriptions with the mentality of Ronald McDonald. But for those looking to join the true society of the spectacle, there's a silver lining—literally—on SoHo's Thompson Street. "We're like tailors for eyewear. People come in for the perfect fit," says co-owner and optician, Erik Sacher.
He and partner Jordan Silver opened Silver Lining Opticians last month with the intention of filling the void in this shrinking art-form. "We aren't trying to be everything to everybody," says Silver. "We're bringing back the feel of an old neighborhood optician and focusing on the quality and design of the frames."
What they do have includes a roster of only independent frame designers like Oliver Goldsmith of London and Anglo American. If they aren't brand new, they're part of Silver's impressive archive of unworn vintage spanning over 6,000 in numbers—including 500 one-of-a-kind pieces from iconic labels like Persol, Balenciaga and Ray-ban. "They're a higher quality than what's being made today," adds Silver, who began collecting vintage glasses while studying architecture in Paris.
The decidedly handsome spot has a subtle whiff of old school without the meticulous curation of a Disney experience. From the hinged dark wood display case to the leather couch in the back, the shop caters to a masculine customer (though they have a selection of women's and children's glasses, too). "You can try out the merch, sit on the couch, and just hang out. " says Silver.
Ultimately, Sacher and Silver see it as a resource and destination for the four-eye obsessed. "It's not about the status. It's about craftsmanship rather than mass-market," says Silver. "We want our frames and the shop to evoke timelessness."
Silver Lining Opticians, 100 Thompson Street (between Prince and Spring streets); 212-274-9191.
A new and vintage eyewear boutique proves there's a right way to get framed.