Let’s be honest, the only upside about needing prescription glasses is being able to adorn your face with fabulous frames, right? Your eyewear doesn’t just help you see more clearly, it helps make sure you’re seen, too. Fashion-forward and affordable, Warby Parker were quick to pick up an enthusiastic customer base across North America that now stretches to more than 80 stores—the latest addition, right here in Vancouver.
It’s only the third Canadian location for the New York-based brand (they opened two Toronto storefronts in 2016 after already building a loyal e-commerce clientele) and they are keen to take on the West Coast. “Our store here in Vancouver is special,” says associate manager of communications, Ruthie Ben-Zvi. “We have a lot of things here that are custom just to this store and to Vancouver. It’s supposed to feel a little bit like a library, just because of that inherent tie between glasses, reading, and learning.”
And the bright Vine and West 4th store employs blue-and-white terrazzo tiles, walnut display cases, shelves of (colour-coded) books, and even a retail counter labeled “reference desk” in an effort to make bookworms feel at home.
Each time Warby Parker arrives in a new city, they commission local artists to make new work for the space. Here, they enlisted illustrator and animator Sebastian Curi to create a mural that would light up the room. There are also fun touches such as a classic coin-operated vending machine that spits out illustrations crafted by Vancouver-based Hiller Goodspeed. All proceeds from the vending machine will benefit The Writers’ Exchange, a local non-profit devoted to getting inner-city kids excited about reading and writing.
And the good news doesn’t stop there: The Buy a Pair, Give a Pair program means that for every sale made, a pair of glasses is distributed to someone in need—that’s four million frames and counting. That makes the limited-edition Lowry sunglasses (created just for the Vancouver store) even more tempting. After all, it’s always summer somewhere.
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