High Adventures in the Great Outdoors – Vinylize
Fashion and music have never not gone hand in hand and with the merch game being stepped up like never before, the new millennium has seen musical acts sparking entire fashion movements, apparel lines and had purists and polemics throw up their hands conceding that music has been diluted to a mere fashion show.
The concept of “wearing” music by donning the classic garment of your favourite band is as old as rock’n roll and offerings now seem to include every possible merch item that can be printed on.
However, there are also more sophisticated and subtle ways of showing one’s appreciation for a band and / or music at large.
Originally derived from Tipton Eyeworks, an endeavour where Hungarian-American Zachary Tipton started to create his own eyeglasses and channelled his alchemy in the creation of rimless glasses, he eventually looked for the right materials to give the frames more volume.
The material was found in form of vinyl records and after crafting prototypes from a Creedence Clearwater Revival album, Zack ventured on to hone his craft making vinylized eyewear, fine-tuned his approach and concept to then take operations to the next level.
Having starting with a grass roots operation, Vinylize has now grown to a veritable undertaking with every Vinylize frame being handmade in Budapest by a dedicated team of close to twenty people. With painstaking attention to detail and quality source materials, each frame takes six weeks before after a final hand polish, it is unleashed.
Given the quality of the frames, it was only a matter of time until Vinylize was able to not only recycle used vinyl records but enter well-curated partnerships with both brands and bands to create purpose-made eyewear.
One of those relationships evolved after AC / DC having experienced Vinylize’s frames in the third dimension, which matured to an on-going collaboration that now has the band licensing Vinylize’s collections to distribute them worldwide.
With custom-made models in a range of classic and innovative new styles, one can pick the source vinyl from AC/DC’s classic albums to then have one’s prescription grade frames or alternatively sunglasses made from scratch.
I opted for a classic Wayfarer model made from AC/DC’s Back in Black vinyl album and the result is one piece of art and an example par excellence for craftmanship, but tastefully and non-declamatory shows one’s appreciation in a stylish manner.
The way it works is that Vinylize sources the vinyl from distributors in the UK, which is then fused to cellulose acetates, the cotton fibres of which are used to create the interior for the frames. Needless to say, because of the complexity of vinyl, each frame is unique and has idiosyncratic features owed to factors like track length, groove depth and dynamic spectrum.
How cool is that?
Apart from collaborations with bands and labels to enable fans to literally wear music, Vinylize also commenced working with other brands and given the brand’s ethical and sustainable approach, a focus was put on recycling which saw e.g. Nespresso coffee capsules turned into face furniture.
Given the handmade nature of Vinylize’s frames along with the time and efforts that go into the creation, each set is a unique limited edition per se and comes not only with a two-year warranty but also a hand-written certificate of authenticity.
Having experienced the Vinylize’s craftmanship and creativity, my next visit to Europe warrants a visit to their showroom in Budapest, which doubles not only as a hotbed of artistic collaborations and a fully-stocked and stylishly decked out bar, but also a place where you can have a contactless vision exam being conducted in alignment with Vinylize’s ethos to provide unique high end customer service combined with best practice vision care.
images from company website