Seven Must-Have Frames From Chicago’s Best Eyewear Shop

Want to look cool and squint less?

April 25, 2017 9:00 am

There’s no sartorial power move quite as effective as throwing on a great pair of sunglasses.

Even better when they’re a pair of sunnies no one else has.

And that’s exactly what you’ll find at the city’s most eclectic eyewear shop, Labrabbit Optics, where, on top of offering an impressive range of hard-to-find frames, owner Coyote DeGroot just launched a made-in-Japan private collection.

Labrabbit Optics

Full disclosure: DeGroot — the one-man-show behind Labrabbit Optics — has been your correspondent’s eyewear guru for close to a decade. Think of him as the type of gadabout who’s as happy to talk about Japanese craftsmanship as where to find best burger in town (it’s not Au Cheval).

So with visions of summer on the mind, we spoke with the optician for seven frames that’ll have everyone this summer asking, “Hey, where’d you get those?”

The Aviator II by Randolph Engineering
“Randolph is the official sunwear contractor for the US military; not only are their sunglasses extraordinarily sturdy, but also American-made. The polarized mineral glass lenses are highly scratch-resistant, and a backside anti-reflective coating eliminates distracting reflections and glare. Cool, classic and well-suited for both casual and formal occasions.” BUY IT HERE

The Dancen by Labrabbit Optics
“I’m always experimenting with new lens technologies and coatings, so I created this cool combo: brushed gold frame with double gradient gold mirror-coated lenses. The end result has an amazingly rich appearance; I haven’t seen anyone release anything like it. Handcrafted in Japan under my personal creative direction, these shades are made from pure titanium: lightweight, strong and hypoallergenic.” BUY IT HERE

The Vision of Division: Limited #2 by Kaneko
Japanese craftsmanship at its best, this frame combines an aviator shape with a flat top-line and rock-solid seven-barrel hinges. The polarized lenses are great for driving and fishing, and add unexpected functionality to this showy, limited-edition design. This amazingly distinctive eyewear is best suited for those with a flatter nose bridge.” BUY IT HERE

The North by Article One
“These guys are doing fantastic work up in Flint, MI, and their collection consists of classic looks as well as a few curveballs. Their ‘North’ model mixes up a traditionally masculine shape (the aviator) with the addition of a pale pink acetate rim. The light color minimizes the silhouette of the frame and pairs perfectly with a summertime tan.” BUY IT HERE

The Vie by Labrabbit Optics
“Sometimes a full-on sunglass lens can be too dark, which is why I used pink polarized lenses in my private-label Vie model. Round shapes are typically perceived as being more friendly and open … wear these to your next BBQ and see what happens. Super-sturdy seven-barrel hinges add longevity to this lighthearted, fun frame. As with all the Labrabbit frames, these were handmade in Fukui, Japan by seasoned craftspeople.” BUY IT HERE

The Cabriolet by Jacques Durand
“I’ve never seen another sunglass design quite like this: a removable acetate ‘visor’ adds additional protection against the sun. It’s minimal yet shocking in its brilliance. Wear this frame with clear prescription lenses for additional versatility. Biodegradable M49 Mazzucchelli acetate was used in the construction, making this statement piece earth-friendly as well.” BUY IT HERE

The Everest by Labrabbit Optics
“The acetate used in this sunglass’s construction has dual layers, giving the plastic a complex depth that changes depending on the viewing angle. I call this color ‘smoked plum,’ and I love how it contrasts with the photochromic green lenses. The lenses utilize a special adaptive technology called Drivewear: they have a medium tint in low- and indoor-light, and turn a dark brown when exposed to direct sunlight. They’re polarized, too, which makes them perfect for driving.” BUY IT HERE

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