What’s the difference between vintage and retro?

Whether you’re buying clothes or even a house, everyone is looking for that vintage look these days. But most of the time people get stuck with a retro style instead. The same goes in the eyeglass world, where most optical stores that stock their shelves with retro frames passing them off as vintage.

You might be thinking that vintage and retro are in fact the same, but they’re not! So what’s the difference? What makes a pair of glasses really vintage as opposed to simply retro?

Vintage means classic. It’s the definition of lasting charm. The opposite of modern. Retro, on the other hand, is what you might call wannabe vintage. Retro is taking what was once old and making it new. It means recreating the style of an earlier time with modern materials. Bottom line: It’s not the real deal.

Most of the eyewear fashion trends you’ll see today are retro, not vintage. Many name-brand frames have a retro look but they’re mass-produced in China where quality is lost. Other lesser-known high-end designer brands have been crafting eyewear the same way since the ’20s, making vintage-looking frames with newer materials.

But sometimes you’ll be lucky enough to find real vintage frames, frames that haven’t seen the light of day since they were manufactured in their era. These, my friends, are never-worn vintage.

And never-worn vintage is what you want when it comes to fashion eyewear. Genuine, bona fide, honest-to-goodness, classic eyewear. Frames with a story behind them, a story of a far-gone era and a consummate designer. That is something you will never find with modern eyewear. But you will find it at 312 Optical Studio. And we can’t wait to show it to you.