“We’re just taking things that people haven’t seen for a while and bringing them back,” said Jordan Silver, the founder of Silver Lining Opticians. Silver’s eyewear store on Thompson Street in New York City will celebrate its 10th anniversary this November, a testament to its status as the go-to place to source unique frames in the city.
Along with drawers of vintage grail-level Persol and Vuarent frames, the store has an in-house label that produces a range of stylish frames at a more accessible price-point. Most of the pieces feature seven-barrel hinges, glass lenses and real rivets. The frames take inspiration from vintage pieces Silver has in the store and have minimal branding. “I think in New York, we have a real advantage where most people understand that they don’t need a brand on the side of everything to know what’s quality and what’s not,” Silver said. “And now with our own brand that starts at $245, we’re able to introduce people to luxurious product without being so expensive.”
The Silver Lining Opticians house brand is made in China, and Silver is proud of it. “Our stuff is made better than a lot made in Italy,” he said. Though the brand first started manufacturing in Germany, they moved production to China to take advantage of modern factories and skilled craftsman. The message is similar to what other luxury brands, such as Feit and Garrett Leight, have declared: the Made in China label is no longer a stigma.
The Silver Lining Opticians house brand is made in China, and Silver is proud of it. “Our stuff is made better than a lot made in Italy,” he said.
Silver’s frames have something that you can’t buy at a Sunglasses Hut. “For me it’s more about comfort,” he said. “I find inspiration in the vintage, but I don’t think there’s that much room to invent something new in that a lot of it has been invented.” That “comfort” is not only how the frame feels on your face, but also how the frame can affect the wearer’s mood. “What’s most important to me is the feeling you get,” he said. Eyewear is such a subjective accessory, but the right frame can boost a person’s confidence almost instantly. And unlike other accessories, eyewear is a constant. “It’s different than the rest of fashion because, I think, it’s something most people wear every day.”
Unlike brands that root themselves in active lifestyles or physical pursuits, Silver Lining Opticians is designed for everyday wear. “This is an urban brand,” Silver said. “It’s not to be worn working out, it’s to be worn in the city.” It’s not about polarized lenses or hydrophobic coatings. It’s not about hyper-light frames or anti-reflective coatings. It’s about eyewear that looks good — simple as that.