Me and my glasses
A passion for vintage
The founder and creator of William Morris Eyewear, Robert Morris, tells OT about why he loves the vintage look and how there’s nothing more sophisticated than a well-dressed British man
How many frames do you own?
I own 40 pairs of sunglasses and 20 spectacles.
Do you have a favourite pair of glasses?
My William Morris Black Label 20th anniversary frame. For our 20th year, I wanted to create something which stood out and really made a statement. The design is heavier than most and the aviator shape can be worn by confident men and women. For the first time, we also added our brand details on the frame but not in the obvious place – rather than putting the William Morris brand on the outside arm we featured it on the top part of the frame front on a silver plaque that is only noticeable from certain angles. It’s the frame that I receive the most comments about when I’m wearing it. Being a limited-edition frame makes it even more special. I tend to rotate my sunglasses depending on my mood.
Who would you pick as your style icon and why?
My style icon would be Ralph Lauren. I love the classic style and designs of his clothing collections. It's how I view William Morris – conservatively different. It's also understated but very stylish.
How long have you worn spectacles for, and what prompted you to go for your first eye test?
I've worn spectacles for around 10 years now. My first eye test was prompted by a fascination about how practitioners communicate with their patients. It's a very close and personal environment the optometrist works in and communication skills are crucial.
"The British have become less conservative and more daring when it comes to frame shapes and colours"
Can you describe your first pair of spectacles?
Vintage. I've always loved the vintage/retro look. To me it's a classic, iconic look which never goes out of fashion. The design looks great on younger wearers as well as more mature wearers but both tend to be characters who are confident and stylish. I love the look too because it looks great dressed up with a smart suit or casual with jeans. It's a look that has stood the test of time.
What eyewear trends are you excited about at the moment?
I'm loving the fact that larger and retro metal shapes are coming back into fashion. I'm also loving the fact that gold is back in fashion – it’s very chic and sophisticated.
How has British style changed over the years?
The British have become less conservative and more daring when it comes to frame shapes and colours. It's wonderful to see eyewear finally becoming a fashion accessory.
What makes British style so great?
Dressed well there's nothing more sophisticated and iconic than a British man. The pocket handkerchief and the cravat to finish off an outfit is very British. For me, accessories are the key.
What’s the most important thing to consider when designing eyewear?
The most important thing is to be conservatively different but wearable and not overdone. Anyone can over-design but then it's not wearable and can look ridiculous.
What are your top tips for choosing the best pair of frames?
- Don't take your partner when choosing
- Choose an opticians that understands eyewear fashion
- Step out of your comfort zone
- Choose at least two different looks.