Tag Archives: eyewear

Because the trendiest (and best) eyewear is handcrafted STATE-side

When I wrote about and modeled my new Tradlands flannel shirt back in December, you might have noticed that my (awesome looking) glasses also appeared to be brand spanking new. You were right, they were.

State optical ravenswood frame

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been talking about American-made style here on the blog. Why? Because shopping local strengthens our economy, helps small businesses grow and is actually more environmentally friendly than importing goods from far away.

When it comes to clothes, I hope you’re starting to realize that there is an abundance of made in USA brands out there. However, although many great handmade accessories (bags, jewelry, boots) can be found, some items are harder to find than others.

One thing that came to bite me before on my “Not made in China challenge” was eyewear.

Eyeglass frames are VERY often made in China or at least, rarely made in USA. So, in order to not shop for sweatshop-made imports, I had been wearing the same old, made in China Oakleys since April 2013! My friend, who happens to co-own an optician store, told me it was time for me to up my style with a new, ethically made pair from a “just-in” designer line of frames.

Meet STATE Optical. Luxury eyewear, handcrafted in Chicago, Illinois.

Handcrafting frames at State Optical
Handmade by American craftsmen. Here, the STATE logo (Pic by STATE).

As I am writing this, there are 18 styles for optical frames and six different sunglass frames to chose from. All styles are named after the streets of the Windy City and come in four different colors.

I am wearing the Ravenswood frame in Granite, and do I need to mention how trendy they make me look? (These are the kind of frames an aspiring writer should be wearing! I feel very editorial.) The color of the frame is modern yet subtle and goes well with all my clothes.

“Named for the Ravenswood Land Company who originally planned the area around the thoroughfare as Chicago’s first suburb, Ravenswood Ave is now home to art centers, non-profits, some of the best pizza in the city, brewhouses, you name it. This style evokes the same vibe, worldly yet laid back.

State optical Ravenswood frame
“Worldly, yet laid-back”.

I’ve had my frames for about two months, and so far I LOVE them.

I am especially impressed by the fact that I haven’t felt them get “looser” over time. Anyone who wears glasses knows that the most annoying thing about it is to constantly correct them, push them up the nose, because they loosen and become too big with wear. STATE uses a unique German designed and manufactured custom hinge, with a nylon sleeve around the screw that allows a locking effect which should prevent the temples from loosening over time. Judging by my own experience it definitely seems to be working.

Custom hinge. STATE brand logo.
Custom hinge. STATE brand logo.

Founded in 2014, STATE Optical Co., in their own words, “Is a brand fueled by an intrinsic motivation to accomplish the improbable and blaze its own path despite evidence that “it can’t be done”. Of course, referring to the idea that manufacturing in the United States is an impossible feat.

Well, they, like so many other wonderful, small business brands I promote and love, are proving that indeed it CAN be done – with great success, better materials, more advanced techniques, superior craftsmanship and elevated attention to detail.

Handmade in USA is here to stay.

Check out STATE and their story at StateOptical.com and find a retailer near you. I got mine at Optical Edge, Houston, TX. Frames are $300+.

Note: Prescription lenses are readily available Made in USA! Just ask your optician before she cuts them for you, to make sure.

Glasses, glasses, glasses and a Jordi Labanda girl

Anyone who’s spent time with me during the last year has probably heard my “I can’t see, the road is blurry” complaints. Well, hubby finally managed to get me to the optometrist.

I’m not going blind or anything, which is great news since there’s so much beauty in this world, but my eyes have gotten quite a bit worse since April 2013 when I did my last check and bought my Oakley (made in China!) glasses. So a little complaining has been in order. My prescription sunglasses are even older, 2011(!) and way overdue to get upgraded style-wise and prescription-wise. They have definitely been bothering me lately.

My husband also needed new glasses, so we headed over to Lens Crafters hoping to find something cool for both of us. Frames are very often made in China, but I think eyewear is one of those exceptions where you need to keep an open mind and go with what works for your face and vision needs. If China happens, China happens. Also, I have not seen any local or environmentally friendly, good looking choices.

Since I still really like my 2013 Oakleys, I decided to change only the prescription lenses (USA made!) and keep the frames. Yay, that’s glasses done sustainably!

My husband decided to go with Ray Ban black hipster frames (you know what I am talking about) which were made in China, unfortunately. Our first felony of 2015! I wasn’t even considering asking him to pick something else (wife points – wop wop). Record the felony and move on.

For sunglasses, I did navigate towards the ones they keep locked up (figured they were less likely to be made in China) and immediately found myself eye to eye with the most gorgeous Tiffany & Co frames. Made in Italy* gorgeousness with a price tag to match… But they were perfect, and could be made with my prescription. Where do I sign?! (Let me just mention that the minty-turquoise box is FSC® certified and gorgeous too, and I couldn’t stop smiling when I was walking around with it in the mall.) This is the fanciest thing I have ever bought I think! ($369 with prescription lenses)


I love my new sunglasses so much! They are spectacular! My Spanish friend at work told me I look like a Jordi Labanda girl. O M G, it’s my dream to look like one of them! (I’m dead serious about that.) And all it took was some Italian bling?! I wish I had known this trick sooner.

IMG_5868Conclusion of this story: I am beyond excited to actually see! I feel like the world is now displayed on an apple retina screen. Lens Crafters gave us a really good deal too, since we bought two full pairs (China/USA, Italy/USA) and one set of lenses (USA) at the same time :)

We committed a felony but we also made a Jordi Labanda situation happen. All in all; extremely successful.

*Made in Italy may mean parts or labor have been sourced other places. They do not have to report foreign sub-suppliers per Italian law, as far as I understand. But, considering this is a luxury brand, I am hoping for the best. Also reading about Tiffany & Co. I feel very comfortable with their sustainability efforts.