3D printing has significantly impacted the eyewear industry, allowing manufacturers to create custom frames or even letting customers 3D print their own frames. Several producers of 3D printed eyewear have arisen with innovative products, but so far there hasn’t been anything quite like Wires Glasses, a startup that launches its new glasses collection today. The company was established last year by London designer Yair Neuman under the creative direction of Lily Cole, and is moving forward with a seed investment from True Ventures.
The frame of each pair of Wires glasses is formed from an extruded metal wire, which can be paired with any of seven different 3D printed lens rim designs in multiple shapes and colors. The interchangeable rims allow wearers to change their look anytime without having to buy a new pair. The minimalist design is not only cool-looking, but it reduces waste through its use of 3D printing, reflecting a dedication to sustainability espoused by Co-Founders Cole and entrepreneur Kwame Ferreira. Normally, glasses frames and rims are cut from large sheets of material, creating a great deal of waste in the process.
Typically, when a person needs a new pair of sunglasses before going on vacation, they swing by the local drugstore or Sunglass Hut, but Neuman decided to make his own, using materials he had on hand, including a single piece of wire. The pair he made would become the Wires Glasses prototype.
“Wires is inspired by both ancient African wire artistry and technological advancements like 3D printing,” he said. “It’s art and science combined.”
The first collection, Wires 1.0, was handcrafted in 2017 by a group of experts in Zimbabwe. Wires 2.0, the collection being released today, is now handmade by an Italian family-run business.
Another aspect that makes Wires Glasses unique is its novel invisible hinge mechanism, which allows the frame to fold as a result of geometry rather than screws.
“Wires is creating one of the freshest things I’ve seen in eyewear in a very long time,” said Tony Conrad, partner at True Ventures. “The collection is unique, and the co-founding team has this incredible mix of experience in design, fashion and sustainability. We also like that Yair is focused on designing products that are in line with how the modern consumer thinks.”
Wires 2.0 features several different unisex frames ranging from trendy to avant-garde styles. They utilize prescription-ready Carl Zeiss lenses, which can be fitted into any of the interchangeable rims.
3D printing has allowed for some seriously stylish glasses over the last few years; gone are the days when glasses were unattractive burdens that no one wanted to wear. The technology also allows for modular designs such as those produced by Wires, meaning that wearers no longer have to be restricted to just one style of glasses but can switch them up whenever they like. Each pair of Wires Glasses costs $380, while additional pairs of interchangeable rims go for $70.
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