This month, our Guest Editor David Hellqvist, Fashion Features Editor at Port magazine, talks about his experience of wearing spectacles.
I was seven or eight when I was told I had to wear glasses. In Sweden, where I’m from, they won’t let you wear contact lenses until you’re aged 15. At least that’s how the law was laid down in the mid-90s. As a result, the kids who couldn’t see all left the optician with glasses. None of them left happy. Except for the fact that it increased the risk of getting picked on, they were often in the way when playing, or got damaged during sports. My brother, who got his glasses at an even younger age than me, once went swimming in a lake without taking them off and lost them. Me and my dad had to dive in and try and locate them on the muddy bottom – it took quite some time.
When I did turn 15, like every other bespectacled teenager in Sweden, I rushed to the optician to get contact lenses. It was an adolescent sense of freedom, no longer was I strapped into a pair of frames that had most likely been chosen by my mum for their comfort and longevity as opposed to style and design. I then wore contacts religiously for 10 years. There was nothing you could have said or done to change my mind.
My current ones, and my last couple of frames, have been made by Oliver Peoples. At the moment I’m wearing an OP Sheldrake style but done in collaboration with a Japanese brand, adding thickness to the frame on the sides. From the front they look like any rectangular tortoise glasses, but look closer and you’ll find they have a design USP that make them unique. It’s that subtleness I’m after, it makes them stand out without having to scream about it.
Personally, I like buying glasses from brands that do just that, glasses. They are eyewear experts trained at designing and producing frames of the highest possible quality. Another brand that qualifies for that is Persol. I like the Italian sleekness of the classic Steve McQueen style, they tick all my boxes. This summer I went to Italy for holiday, and I remember specifically looking at the sunglasses the Italians wore, both men and women. Even if not all of them necessarily dressed well, the majority had impeccable frames, be it Ray-Ban or Persol. I admire their natural instinct, their sartorial sprezzatura. I want some of that, and I’ll gladly wear glasses for the rest of my life if that’s what it takes.