Full-time glasses wearers, whether they're optical or sunglasses, fear the day an arm breaks off, bends or suddenly loosens. These sort of issues are often a death sentence, especially if you don't have the tools (or extra money) to fix them. But Warby Parker's newest shades, which were designed with Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon, are built to bend in every direction.
Called Flippies, a follow-up to the duo's earlier Spinnies, frames that doubled as fidget spinners, these sunglasses have fully posable arms, thanks to their custom hinges, which allow them to flip back and forth. The mobility is for more than just durability, though: When you flip them, you reveal two different front-facing frames, meaning these are secretly reversible, a first for the eyewear brand.
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But Fallon and Warby Parker cofounders Dave Gilboa and Neil Blumenthal have built quite the rapport, a relationship that stems from their first collab.
"So I sent this to Neil and Dave, and I go 'I got a new idea,'" Fallon jokes to Gear Patrol. 'I go 'Parker Warbys.' I don’t hear back from them for eight months. I go, 'Okay, I get it, he’s just not that into you. We’re fine. I’ll think of another idea.' And then out of nowhere I got an email from Neil, and he’s like, 'Dude I just got this email. It was in my spam folder and someone brought it to my attention. I’m so sorry I didn’t look at it. But I think this is kind of a fun idea. I think we want to develop this.'"
From there, the trio tinkered with the "Parker Warbys" idea until they arrived on Flippies.
"Then it gets into the room of actual, real designers, like scientists and nerds and people that have angles and know how much pressure to put on a frame, and [all of] this stuff that I would never know," Fallon explains. An early prototype didn't pass Warby Parker's robotic stress test, which accounts for more than 1,000 bends of both arms, assuming someone wants to show off both sides.
Although they're different colors, both sides bear the same shape — a classic, slightly up-curved Wayfarer. The featured hues are Jet Black and Warby Blue. The arms, on the other hand, are both black, but they are end-capped (and attached) by shiny silver hardware. The lenses are a muted gray with an anti-reflective coating — consistent with most black-framed sunglasses — no matter which way you wear them. They're also surprisingly thin, the late night host explains, despite being dual-purpose.
"Also, I didn’t realize, [but] when you do close them shut, they’re really thin," he says. "It’s kind of awesome — that’s an extra thing, because sometimes glasses are a little bulky to put in different things. They’re very, very thin when you fold them together."
Best of all, though, all of the proceeds are going to Warby Parker's Pupils Project, an ever-expanding non-profit program that provides free screenings, eye exams and prescription glasses to school-aged children across the US.
"We’ll see how they do, but I have a feeling they’ll do pretty well," Fallon adds. "If they called them Parker Warbys, I think that would have been pretty good, but they have Spinnies, now Flippies; it sets it up for other sequels. I can be the John Wick of glasses-making."