Snap Inc. is growing up.
After launching a second, more mature generation of its camera-embedded sunglasses, Spectacles, in April, the company is rolling out two even sleeker black styles, named Nico and Veronica. The updates to these are almost exclusively aesthetic, so it's not surprising that Snap has timed their rollout to the day before the launch of Fall Fashion Week.
Both new styles — the unisex Nico (below left) and more feminine and much larger Veronica (below right) — have the same technology as the second generation pair that launched earlier this year: They, too, are water resistant, with faster upload speeds and improved image quality. However, they are also polarized, a feature that bumps the price of each pair up $50 to $199 and puts them on par, at least cost-wise, with similar models from Ray-Ban.
"We have to remind ourselves that we’re comparing against other eyewear companies, but these also have the camera technology," Lauryn Morris, the Product Design Lead for Spectacles, says of the cost.
Compared to the original pair of Spectacles, which came in bright, playful colors that Morris describes as "almost toylike", Nico and Veronica represent a major growth spurt. Although April's release of the second generation marked vast improvements in technological elements that were lacking in that first pair — including a more recent update, which let users export videos in formats other than the default, circular format — they still aren't the most practical pair for wearing on an everyday basis. The round, vintage style may work for summer months, but does not make the frames a must-have fall accessory. (Snap did not share sales figures for the second generation, but said they have seen about a 40% increase in the number of Snaps recorded with the glasses per user.)
Snap is hoping Veronica and Nico will fill a gap in the Spectacles lineup.
"We wanted to make sure we were walking this line of sophistication, but also accessibility," Morris says. "We could have gone really avant-garde, but our hope with these is that people will see them as their classic, go-to sunglasses. We wanted to make sure that they’re the pair you grab on your way out the door for a weekend adventure."
Both frames have a gorgeous, glossy black finish that looks more high-quality than previous pairs, and the arms are lined with stylish patterns: A subtle marbling for Veronica and tortoise shell for Nico. In place of the rigid, yellow charging case that housed previous pairs is a softer, black leather case. This one does not act as a power bank for the glasses, so you'll need to use the included charging cord to do so externally.
As for those names, which sound like they belong to two people jetting off on holiday to the Amalfi Coast, there is no clear origin story. "We auditioned a lot of different nomenclatures — city names, activities, numbers — and these were the ones that were the most relatable to us," Morris says.
Nico and Veronica sound more aspirational than relatable, but fit with the sleek vibe they are intended to embody. In addition to being sold online, Snap will sell both pairs in-store for the first time later this fall at Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom.
Though the pairs look decidedly less Snapchat-like — that is, less outwardly playful — the company has no concerns about where these new additions fall in the product family.
"We always want to hang on to that quirkiness and playfulness from Snap," Morris says. "We are really looking to these styles to give us an elevation and sophistication for the product. We definitely think there’s a place for a range within our collection and want to continue to explore that, offering looks that are sophisticated and premium and some that are a little more playful."
In other words, these are shades Snap wants to see on the faces of every front-row fashion influencer and stylist this season, and in ones to come. To be fair, they certainly look better than having your phone in front of your face if you're going to live stream the shows anyway.