It is no secret that high-fashion is like history; it is known to repeat itself. While the latest fads might not always be carbon-copies of their predecessors, the roots of modern style are often painfully obvious to those with an observant eye—and eyeglasses themselves might be the perfect example of this. With the recent rise in demand for make-a-statement spectacles, it seems that every major clothing label has produced at least one or more lines of à-la-mode eyewear in the past decade. But for those of you fellow four-eyed fashionistas who wear their nerd-knowledge proudly, there is a new solution to vision vogue, and one that might make you think twice before buying another pair of wayfarers with your tax-backs next spring.
A small upstart located in Brooklyn’s East Williamsburg Industrial District has managed to stay footed in recent years, despite an onslaught of efforts to gentrify the surrounding area and push-out the last of New York’s manufacturers to make-way for high-end real estate. Nevertheless, Jonathan Schipper and Amelia Biewald, accomplished metal sculptors and owners of “EXOvault”, have managed to thrive and grow their small business in a sea of sharks.
For years EXOvault has been pumping-out high-end iPhone cases crafted from a wide array of unusual woods and metals, hand-finishing each exemplar specimen of minimalist design and finely-tuned engineering. However, it was only last week that the Company had publicly announced the recent development of its “EXO1000” line of eyewear, which carries-on the legacy of EXOvault’s esteemed iPhone cases. Milled, drilled, routed, machined and cut from raw aluminum, each pair of EXO1000 frames is designed and manufactured entirely in-house, in a factory space that is a far-cry from your stereotypical “Brooklyn Basement”.
Sprawling the length of a classic New York warehouse, the EXOvault shop is lined with mills and routers of all sorts, each interspersed with various mechanical apparatuses and neatly-arranged arrays of hand tools. The marriage between WWII-era Made-in-America machinery and top-notch CNC equipment comes together in a beautiful harmonious song in the pleasant din of the bustling workspace. The love for labor and craftsmanship is inherent in the atmosphere and in the attitude of the company—it is the sort of pride that you think of when you look at a hand-forged item and imagine the passion that the blacksmith imbued into that thing with every stroke of his mallet. The dedication to meticulous detail, and the enthusiasm that the Company fosters for the modern-era of American manufacturing, is very much apparent in the high-quality, low-volume products that ship from the EXOvault shop.
While some might find that the slightly more-than-modest appearance of the EXO1000 aesthetic is too-bold for their taste, there is no doubt that others will take strongly to the look, embracing what is probably one of the most defiantly-different frame styles to hit the market in recent years. If you consider yourself to be the type who occasionally indulges in a fashion accessory that tastefully externalizes your passion for technology, then these are probably just the thing for you. While the EXO1000 might be an outlier in the sprawling mass of today’s eyewear options, it is certainly one option which manages to transcend Hipsterism, while cheersing an homage-toast to Retro and Steampunk in the meantime. After all, we are living in the era of the chic geek.
EXOvault is releasing these funky-fab frames with a variety of surface finishes for customers to choose from. Currently, these options include plated gunmetal, bronze, nickel, and anodized aluminum, but according to the Owners, developments for more options are currently underway. The retail price of the EXO1000 frame is set to be $600 USD, but a special promotional price of $250 USD is available to early-birds who pre-order their specs from the Company Website at http://www.exovault.com. Prescription lenses must be ordered separately and set by a qualified optician (I had mine set inexpensively at LensCrafters® with same-day placement and they are perfect). Non-prescription sunglass lenses can be ordered with your frames and set by the specialists at EXOvault for a nominal fee. The EXO1000 frames are currently in-production and are projected to ship beginning in late-November of this year.
(Images via EXOvault)