Che Eyewear, located in the heart of the Smith Street shopping district, feels more like a carefully curated museum than a boutique. Stocking a mix of vintage and current eyewear, the store’s contents are like a history lesson in style, and Rose, the store’s owner, is more than happy to be your guide.
Upon my visit, the front window is impeccably designed around a campaign image for Karen Walker, one of the many labels that Che boasts. It is a delicate carousel filled with eyewear and animal statues, which Rose explains are a nod to the child modelling the frames in the image. It is this attention to detail that is the heart of the boutique, and an insight to how Rose interacts with her clientele.
Guiding me through the store, Rose exposes her immense knowledge of eyewear, picking out vintage frames from the 40s and 60s from their drawers, the same ones that salespeople carried when showing the latest collections, one of particular interest was donated to the store after the salesman had retired. Coming from a family of optometrists, it’s no secret that she definitely knows her product and keeps it all in the family, with beautiful images of her aunt displayed throughout the store.
As for the most popular styles, Rose points out rounded shapes, and classics like aviators and wayfarers. She also makes mention of underground sunglass designers, CoLab, who create their styles with artists, and number each of the limited frames. As we make our way through her current collection, she forecasts that thinner frames will be making a comeback, showing a new piece and its vintage inspiration side by side.
It’s not all just style though, Rose explains that the frames available can also be made to individual prescriptions to ensure that your latest treasure is also functional, and is always on hand to guide you to find your perfect shape.
If you’re after a new pair of eyewear with a little bit of history, Che Eyewear is located at 363 Smith Street in Fitzroy, and is open Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday through Saturday.
Images courtesy of Che Eyewear