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Colour applied by hand to a frame at the Mykita factory.

Hand-made vs. Mass-produced Frames

theeyemakers™ stocks independent, hand-crafted frame lines, including Anne et Valentine, Barton Perreira, Lindberg, Mykita, and Theo, to name a few. Compared to mass-produced frames, the difference in quality and craftsmanship is clear once you hold premium acetate.

Acetate Cellulose is a hypoallergenic, plant-based plastic product that has been used in eyewear production since the late 1940s. It was the material of choice because designers realized that it does not become brittle like other types of plastics over time. Cellulose Acetate is also very versatile and allows for a wide range of hues from rich colours to crystal clear. Another reason it is popular is that people like the way it feels, it can be polished to be very smooth and can hold its shape better than rival materials. Cellulose Acetate is also renewable and comes from natural cotton and wood fibres.

Designers craft hand-made frames by layering cellulose acetate into large blocks, then slicing out individual parts, polishing them, and assembling them into a unique, individual frame. It has been said that Italy and France have the best cellulose acetate. Only the best material is sourced by Fashion houses. Top-quality cellulose acetate takes time to cure and manufacturing secrets are passed from craftsman to craftsman.

The process of cutting the frame out of layered acetate ensures you will never get the same pattern twice. Each frame features details of the acetate in different places on the face front and temples. Recently, the optical business is trending towards vintage or speciality-designed acetates, which results in gorgeous, one-of-a-kind patterns with a retro feel.

An image showing the preparation of a frame.
Frame manufacture at the Mykita factory.

The difference in quality from a handmade piece to a mould injected plastic frame is obvious when you mould the frame to fit a person’s face. Premium acetates take longer to shape to hold their fit, whereas cheap plastics require little to no heat to bend, never hold the proper adjustment, and oftentimes break easily.

Feel the difference yourself! Have an Eyewear Specialist fit you with a hand-made frame sourced from premium, cellulose acetate or another quality material today.

All images courtesy of Mykita.