I'm sat writing this blog post in my favourite glasses. They are vintage tortoiseshell cat eye frames with my prescription in the lenses. It took me an age to find a pair of glasses I felt comfortable wearing on a night out but these are a statement pair of specs and they match my style perfectly. Matched with a bold lipstick, I never feel like the classroom four eyes or the ugly duckling like I have done in the past. And these frames are from Dead Men's Spex . I am always telling people where my frames are from, so now I'm telling you all! We got in touch with Darren at Dead Men's Spex to aska few questions about vintage eye wear...
How did it all begin?
As with all good stories it started with a dream. The dream was to be able to run my own business out of the main stream of optics (I had managed opticians for over 15 years) but still using the skills and experience that I had gained. I have always loved the craftsmanship of old spectacle frames and collected them for myself. About 10 years ago I started selling those that were surplus to my own collection on eBay and Dead Men's Spex was born. We moved to North Norfolk 6 years ago and I took the fulltime plunge and Dead Men's Spex has settled in country life and gone from strength to strength with it's own website and a presence at local and national shows. We have a growing stock of 4000 plus frames at any one time much to Claire's (my wife) unperturbed resignation - "it was an impulse purchase" has become my clarion call as I try to hide another box of frames! .
Why not go out and buy vintage repro frames on the high street?
There is a world of difference between true vintage eyewear and repro frames. The major difference is the quality of materials. Most pre 1970s frames are hand cut from slab acetate or shaped from rolled gold or gold fill wire. Unlike injection molded modern plastic frames and plated metal frames, vintage frames hold there colour and luster far better and with gold fill you get real gold running through the frame that doesn't rub off like modern plating can. And while we're on the quality high horse, vintage frames have properly engineered joints that can be re-pinned and and changed if a problem arises. So it comes down to quality and superior design. Why buy repro when you can get the original for cheaper in most cases?
Have you found any frames that became your favorite or they you couldn't quite let go? Or any ridiculous ones?
Yes I still maintain my own collection of frames that range from the late 18th century through to the late 20th. I have early Georgian silver frames that will never be sold including Martin's Margins right through to whacky 1950's cocktail frames. Usually it's the rarity of a frame that attracts me along with classic styling.
(Diary Of A Vintage Girl aka Fleurre De Guerre did a shoot with Darren's private collection, oh my goodness it's definitely worth checking out that blog post, so click here!!)
Where can we find you?
On the web at www.deadmensspex.com or at one of the shows we attend - listed on the events page of our website when they are confirmed.
There are plenty of frames for both ladies and gents so go and have a little lookyloo folks!
PS. Here are my frames just so you can see them in real life wearable action