I’m Elina Varonen the founder of Trend Optic where we source luxury quality eyewear.
My story starts in Finland where I grew up. My journey to Melbourne took place almost a decade after graduating and qualifying as an Optometrist from Metropolia Ammattikorkeakoulu. I established my first store in the heart of Helsinki with a like minded business partner. At first, we bought and stocked standard eyewear that almost any store sold – but growing dissatisfaction with what the bigger companies were showing me and my partner led me to uncover and build unique collections of bespoke frames and styles from makers not really in the public eye, the studios without big ad budgets and factories in China – the hard to find almost unheard of outside a select few outlets — the sorts of suppliers who lie off the beaten path of the masses. You’ll find them in France, Italy and Japan mostly – where frames were designed and shaped by artisans dedicated to their craft and handmade in a way lost to the modern era.
When you go down that path you’re free of the usual suspects and you can focus on building a collection based on what you think your customers will love. You look for subtleties. Something the big brands ignore because not enough people may notice it. I think quality is not necessarily the most important thing for a lot of these bigger brands. But I care. It’s in my DNA. In Finnish, we call it SiSu. It’s a philosophy of living, a way of being. So I’m going to go the extra mile to find the extraordinary, the understated, the elegant, the type of classic style that embodies the prestige of durability, of discreet ostentation without affectations.
When you start thinking about the design of a pair of glasses, you want to understand the lifestyle, understanding how a person is out in the wild – life is constantly happening, you could be anywhere, in a business meeting, face-to-face with with a client, on a zoom call, out to dinner or walking down the street – Eyewear is about your relationship to others as much as it is about your relationship with you – It can be a conversation starter or a silent nod of acknowledgement. Wherever you are, your glasses make a strong statement about you, your position, your credibility, your professionalism, your style, your persona – And there’s more to eyewear than just the brand – When people ask me what I do – I always say I start with a look. Over the years of custom fitting discerning clientele I’ve kind of gotten to know my way around the face enough. So I can start imagining how a particular style of eyewear will look on somebody, what style will enhance your best features and draw the eye naturally to you based around a range of elements like the shape of the brow, the structure of the cheekbones, angle of the forehead and shape of the nose – From a fit standpoint there are around 20 different fit points on a frame. That’s why we start with the highest quality titanium frames to ensure precise fit every time.
Is it narrow enough? is the temple long enough? Or is the overall width of the frame and the shape of the lens going to work? What’s the right bridge width? How does it suit the depth and character of a person’s face? – Glasses are always worn best when they are not mass-produced for some generic standard – the people I see are distinctive in their nature, their business, their personalities, their character – and they understand the importance of these subtleties. I’ve never fitted someone who just wanted to blend in and be lost in a crowd.
For me it’s important that we choose frames made from the highest available acetate, it all matters – the type of titanium used, the craftsmanship embodied in each design, how much curve is on the exterior surface, the plating, the soldering points, the filigree, the fine details that might escape unnoticed except to the trained eye – the aesthetic of everything is important. The nose pads, the polishing and the tumbling of all the finished surfaces of your frames, the customization and quality.
Time is precious, so I don’t want to waste a moment of someone’s time. My clientele walk out the door after a fitting knowing 100% with certainty that they have the right glasses style for them. For me it all starts with a custom fitting – that’s why I work one-to-one at a scheduled appointment – it’s kind of old school, but it really is the only way. And once we lock in on a style that’s it, you have your signature look – timeless, classic, elegant. But most importantly – just for you
Other stores and brands might add precious materials like diamonds and gold to add expense and draw the eye – but the quality of execution wouldn’t be any better. For me less can be more, a millimetre here, a makers unique signature feature there can alter the landscape with a subtlety that cannot be offset with mere distractions – At Trend Optic we deal in exclusive small batches of 10 – 100 frames, not mass factory produced injected moulded frames hot stamped with a name or a logo.
So why does quality matter? The closer you look at eyewear, the more you discover about it, and the more you fall in love with it. And by that I mean when you invest in quality you discover a unique essential element or something about the way it’s crafted that resonates with you, or something that you discover that’s kind of what makes that product personal to you. It’s these things that make you appreciate the attention to detail of the designer – Why did they go to that level of detail versus just getting the overall shape down? It makes you fall in love with your glasses that much more. It makes them more personal to you. There’s a lot of things like that you can love about quality, especially if you appreciate nuance and different levels of fit and finish – you can really find there’s a lot to really love about how something is beautifully executed and made.
I don’t invest in here today gone tomorrow consumable designs like the many seasonal avant-garde frames that are one and done – Trend Optic is about tailored classics with a little bit of a twist to them that fit you like a glove. I want people to put them on and say okay, that’s what I’m looking for. I don’t know if there’s a particular quality to it, but I do know that takes skill and craft and a trained eye to see the difference and appreciate that aesthetic.
Shop 2, 309-311 Little Collins Street
MELBOURNE VIC 3000