by Taylor Hein, Doctor’s Assistant
Eclectic Eye houses independent, hand-crafted frame lines, including Anne et Valentine, Andy Wolf, Francis Klein, and Theo, to name a few. Compared to mass produced frames, the difference in quality and craftsmanship is clear once you hold premium acetate.
Acetate Cellulose is a hypoallergenic, plant-based plastic product that has been used in eyewear production since the late 1940s. It was the material of choice because designers realized that it did not become brittle like other types of plastics. Cellulose Acetate is also very versatile, and allows for a wide range of hues from rich colors to crystal clear. Another reason it was popular was because people liked the way it felt, it could be polished to be very smooth and would hold its shape better than rival materials. Cellulose Acetate is also renewable, and comes from natural cotton and wood fibers.
Designers craft hand-made frames by layering cellulose acetate into large blocks, then slicing out individual parts, polishing them, and assembling them into a unique, individual frame. It has been said that Italy and France have the best cellulose acetate. Fashion houses source the best material that has been formed with time to cure and secrets that have been passed down from tradesman to tradesman.
The process of cutting the frame out of layered acetate ensures you will never get the same pattern twice. Each frame features details of the acetate in different places on the face front and temples. Recently, the optical business is trending towards vintage or specialty-designed acetates, which results in gorgeous, one-of-a-kind patterns with a retro feel.
The difference in quality from a handmade piece to a mold injected plastic frame is obvious when you mold the frame to fit a person’s face. Premium acetates take longer to shape in order to hold their fit, whereas cheap plastics require little to no heat to bend, never hold the proper adjustment, and oftentimes break much easier.
Feel the difference yourself! Stop by Eclectic Eye and have an Eyewear Architect fit you with a hand-made frame sourced from premium, cellulose acetate or another quality material today.
For an inside look at what it takes to make a quality, hand-crafted, designer frame, check out this video by one of our favorite designers, MYKITA.