The original direct-to-consumer eyewear brand is launching a brick-and-mortar outpost in B.C.
Warby Parker, a New York City–based prescription-eyewear retailer known for its stylish and affordable frames, is opening its first Western Canadian store in Vancouver on Saturday (February 23). Situated at 2290 West 4th Avenue, the library-inspired space will offer Warby Parker’s full collection of prescription and non-prescription men’s, women’s and children’s glasses, plus sunglasses, accessories and access to comprehensive eye exams. All frames (from $150, prescription included) are designed and produced in-house, and include everything from lightweight stainless-steel aviators and rose-gold cat-eyes to mixed-material gold-filigree shapes and the Lowry: a pair of limited-edition matte-black sunglasses with flash-mirrored lenses that have been crafted exclusively for the Vancouver opening. Like Montreal’s BonLook, the company operates on a direct-to-consumer model which cuts out middlemen like wholesalers and retailers to keep costs low for customers. According to Neil Blumenthal, cofounder and CEO of Warby Parker, the business has been looking to launch a location in Vancouver for a while but was focused on finding the right space. “Our brand stands for fun, creativity, doing good in the world,” he tells VanMag. “And while these are values that are universal, we think there are a few cities that exemplify them, Vancouver being one of them.” In addition to marble-topped accents and book displays, the store will be decorated with a custom mural by local artist Sebastien Curi. There will also be a coin-operated artwork dispenser that spits out original illustrations by Hiller Goodspeed—another Vancouver name—for 50 cents each. One hundred percent of proceeds from this contraption will benefit The Writers’ Exchange, a local literary program that boosts kids’ reading, writing and self-confidence. “We take a lot of pride in giving back,” notes Blumenthal, “and we try to do it in a really thoughtful way.” To celebrate the opening, Warby Parker is hosting Curi on Sunday (February 24), when he’ll be signing poster versions of his mural. On Saturday (February 23), shoppers will be able to nab treats from The Juice Truck. The brand is entering a neighbourhood where eyewear competition is stiff: Ollie Quinn and Bailey Nelson both operate showrooms on West 4th, too. But Blumenthal isn’t worried. “Obviously, I’m biased when I say this,” he states, “but we don’t have a competitor that matches us when it comes to the value we provide and the customer experience.” Check out some of our fave picks from Warby Parker below before you shop the showroom IRL starting this weekend. Warby Parker Evalina Eyeglasses, from $225 Warby Parker Hughes Eyeglasses, from $150 Warby Parker Darin Sunglasses, from $295 Warby Parker Christabel Eyeglasses, from $225 Warby Parker Renee Sunglasses, from $150
2290 W 4th Ave. warbyparker.com Hours: Open Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.