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Chanel, Prada, Tom Ford and the art of craftmanship at Encino’s Optx Fine Eyewear

Posted By Karen Young On October 18, 2009 @ 11:32 pm In Featured,Lifestyle,My Daily Find,Shopping,spotlight | 2 Comments

Karen_Young_MDF100BY KAREN YOUNG

Wayne Fletcher sits behind the counter at Optx Fine Eyewear, his newly relocated modern and airy store at the Encino Place corner mall, talking passionately about handcrafting the lenses for the frames he sells — explaining in detail how he honed his craft apprenticing in small towns on the east coast before he moved west.

Chanel is exclusive to Optx in Encino. Photos by Karen Young

Chanel is exclusive to Optx in Encino. A design from the Perle Collection is seen above. Photos by Karen Young

“I learned by doing all work by hand and I still do it,” he said. “That kind of service doesn’t exist much anymore…it’s a big part of what I do.”

Fletcher, who has 27 years of experience in the optical business and is a licensed optician, moved Optx from Studio City to Encino last month.   Only weeks after his move, the storefront area he occupied with other stores and eateries was flooded by a broken water main.  He shakes his head sadly as he talks about what their situations hold, rebuilding their stores.

Owner Wayne Fletcher has 27 years experience in the optical business.

Owner Wayne Fletcher has 27 years experience in the optical business.

In the years before Optx, Fletcher gained a reputation at various highly regarded eyewear stores, including Dan Deutsch Optical Outlook in Studio City, where he helped open the store in 1993 and worked until 2000.

Fletcher could be considered a hybrid in the world of opticians — craftsman, businessman, therapist — he plays all three roles in his one man shop where he takes the orders, fits frames to a face, and grinds the lens to fit in the frame.

Proudly displaying the machines he uses to perfect lenses,  it’s clear that Fletcher takes great pride in his service.  He is constantly reading and researching changes in lens technology. Personally, his goal is for people to be comfortable in their eyewear choice and if something goes wrong, he’s there to help with the repair, even if frames were not purchased at Optx.

Tiffany

Tiffany designs are forever classic.

“When any customer comes in. I’ll do minor repairs…adding a screw, a nose pad, refitting a lens or bending and molding a frame for a better fit.”

Since he does most everything in house (except the eye exam itself), he is often able fill a simple prescription lens in 30 minutes or the same day. More complex prescriptions can be completed in a few days.

Lindberg is a favorite of Laker's coach Phil Jackson.

Lindberg is a favorite of Laker's coach Phil Jackson.

Moving on to the design side, Optx carries a stunning array of frames. Each one lending an architectural element to the wearer’s face.

“Frames are now influenced by a retro, thick, nerdy style that can actually look sexy,” said Fletcher, as he grabbed a couple pair of Chanel frames, one with a denim looking side and another with a quilted look, that are borrowing from the distinct Ray-Ban style.

Chanel gave Optx the exclusive rights to sell their elegant designs in Encino.  “ I have the Perle Collection…the temple treatments are infused and adorned with pearl accents,” said Fletcher.

Tom Ford's designs have a retro flavor with a modern sleekness.

Tom Ford's designs have a retro flavor with a modern sleekness.

Unique among his frames is the Lindberg Collection that has been made popular by Lakers coach Phil Jackson. “Made of surgical titanium, they’re tension mount, no nuts, bolts…with incredible durability in a multitude of finishes,” said Fletcher of these Danish made frames that you can literally twist, turn and bend.

Tom Ford is also a big brand for Optx.  “Ford’s designs have more retro flavor, but are combined with a modern sleekness,” described Fletcher.

Other popular brands include: Oliver Peoples, Tiffany, Armani, Prada, Gucci, Dior, Marc Jacobs, Ray Bans, Roberto Cavalli, Chloe, Porsche, Persol, John Varvatos, Beausoleil, and Alain Mikli.

Prada

Prada reflects the new fashion trend in eyewear — nerdy, yet sexy.

Fletcher says the part of the business he enjoys most is interacting with his customers. “I just enjoy learning about people and the interesting stories in their lives,” said Fletcher. “My industry is very similar to that of a hairdresser. We’re dealing with psychology about how people feel about themselves through their appearance.”

Darren Witcher

Darren Witcher, wearing a Lindberg frame above, stumbled upon Optx nearly two years ago and won't buy his eyewear anywhere else.

Darren Witcher, who is the Director of Player Development for UCLA Football, became a customer and a friend nearly two years ago when he moved to Studio City from Seattle and stumbled upon Optx.

“I love Wayne’s attitude. He’s a great people person and pays equal attention to everyone,” said Witcher. “I won’t buy my glasses anywhere else.”

ATTENTION EYEWEAR SHOPPERS:  Optx will give a 15% discount to MDF readers! Frames run $100-$600. Average price is $250 – $300.

Optx 16101 Ventura Blvd Ste 238 Encino, CA 91436 (818) 789-7600 www.optxfineeyewear.com

Karen Young is the Editor/Publisher of My Daily Find.

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