How Eyeglasses became Eyewear

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Prior to 1980 eyeglasses were considered a medical device for improving eyesight. Frame styles came in limited shapes and colors and designers paid little attention to fashion.

That all changed on September 9, 1979 when opticians Barbara McReynolds and Gai Gherardi opened their first optical shop in Los Angeles, California and l.a.Eyeworks was born. Their vision was to challenge the prevailing norm that wearing eyeglasses wasn’t cool.

These pioneering opticians believed that in addition to helping you see better, eyeglasses could also be a fashion accessory for your eyes – “eyewear” not “eyeglasses”.

West Coast Vision meets Minneapolis Style

While l.a.Eyeworks was busy promoting eyewear fashion on the west coast, Prince Rogers Nelson known to most of us as Prince was introducing America to the Minneapolis Sound and Minneapolis Style. Prince along with many other musicians of this time made their choice of eyewear an integral part of their personal brand.

This west coast idea of “eyewear as a fashion accessory” fit perfectly with the Minneapolis Style of Kate and David Daly when in 1981 they opened Eyedeals in the Uptown area of Minneapolis and became l.a.Eyeworks first distributor.

And so it began.

The transition from eyeglasses as a medical device to eyewear as a fashion accessory had begun. It was championed by a small handful of pioneering eyewear designers, musicians and forward looking optical retailers.

l.a.Eyeworks and Eyedeals were among the leaders of this initial vanguard of optical visionaries who believed in the power of Uncommonly Cool Eyewear to communicate your unique personal style to the world.

Check out l.a.Eyeworks 2019 Spring Eyewear Collection