When I bought new glasses last fall, there was no way I could possibly have anticipated the reactions the oversized tortoiseshell cat eyes would elicit from strangers. These included a flight attendant asking me to get up from my seat and come show them to her colleague; in New York City, a woman approaching me in Bloomingdale’s saying she had seen me earlier in Madewell and had to know where I got my glasses; after appearing on The Marilyn Denis Show on behalf of the mag, a viewer emailed prodding to know the same. After informing them they were the Vancouver brand Derek Cardigan, sold exclusively on clearlycontacts.ca, I gleefully confided the frames only cost $38 and that with lenses, they came to $107 in total.
The creator of the gloriously nerdy and statement-making styles is 26-year-old Derek Desierto, plucked from the admin department of the company when marketing execs discovered he had a design background. A fan of Woody Allen and Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo, Desierto was inspired by them, as well as vintage styles for his first collection. Originally launched in the fall of 2010, his thick frames also feature math symbol accent details in the corner as a proud badge of dorkdom. But for the less geek chic-inclined, Desierto’s designing a new collection with much more subtle frames that will launch later this year, in part to satisfy his parents, who feel his existing ones are too trendy. As for the name, it’s a repurposed high school moniker given to Desierto for always choosing cardigans over V-necks for his school uniform. But it’s also a nod to his grandpa-influenced style. “I’m totally an old soul.”
Want your own conversation-starting frames? As a special offer for FASHION readers, first-time customers can get frames free when they order prescription eyeglasses or sunglasses until the end of May. Restrictions may apply. Code: FMFIRSTPAIRFREE