The world’s first user-designed eyewear
The eyewear industry is not as it would appear. Nine out of ten frames you reach for will be from the same manufacturer: Luxottica Group. Their near-monopoly on the designer eyewear space means those Ray Bans or Dior sunnies you saved up to purchase cost almost nothing to produce. On the other end of the spectrum, you have poorly made eyewear that breaks even before you carelessly toss it in your bag, although going through a pair every few months is doing no favors for the environment anyway.
3DNA, a graduate of Betatron’s acceleration program, is here to do things differently by introducing a co-creation process for eyewear, where customers can design a pair of fully bespoke frames in ten minutes. Not only do they offer a vast array of customization options, but 3DNA’s face-scanning technology also ensures the frames will fit perfectly. Their no-inventory model reflects an industry-wide shift towards customization, where the emphasis is on individuality, empowerment through design, and the elimination of wasteful consumption habits.
The process is simple: make an appointment at one of 3DNA’s locations across North America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region, have your face scanned (or take a 3D selfie using an iPhone X or iPad Pro), design your frames, and wait for them to arrive in about ten days.
You can customize frame shape, material, accessories (nose pads and hinges), and lens on the platform in the form of a 3D rendering, so you can see how each element suits your face. The selection is more than sufficient for bringing any style you see on the market to life, with room to get as creative as your heart desires. There’s also an option to personalize the frames with a name or message.
We were especially impressed by the unique materials on offer–such as mother of pearl, horn, stone, and wood–and the platform itself, which allows every minute detail to be adjusted. Aside from being able to alter rim size or the position of the bridge, what makes the process special is the user’s ability to change elements like the frame’s proportions or the alignment of bifocals–something that isn’t achievable through traditional eyewear retail.
3DNA also offers B2B services for eyecare professionals, where they can create custom frames for patients or design their own eyewear collection. The company is passionate about transforming the opticianry profession by giving opticians more agency to be inventive and hands-on when serving their customers.
The quality of 3DNA frames are on par with high-end eyewear, and while the cost is steep, with a pair retailing anywhere between US$600 to $1,200, the company is working to bring it down as it continues to expand its reach. –MC
Photos courtesy of 3DNA.