Me and my glasses

Your eyewear, your identity

Jonathan Nixon, owner of independent practice, Bespoke Eyewear Harrogate, on predicting the fashions and seeing his frames on television


How many pairs of spectacles and sunglasses do you own?

I have four pairs of glasses and three pairs of sunglasses. I never want people to see me in the same frame for too long. I cycle through them based on the way I am feeling at the time. I have a couple of pairs of acetate frames, and a couple of pairs of metal frames.

Being the representative of Bespoke Eyewear as the dispenser and the person that is dressing my clients, it is important to me to reassure them and give them confidence.

What is your eyewear style?

I like to look at fashion and try to predict what is going to be fashionable, so I can be ahead of the game and ahead of the market when it comes to our range of frames.

My face is quite small, so I have to go for around a 48 to 52, which is oversized to me. So I’ll wear an aviator or a heavy acetate. My face is quite narrow, so I am trying to broaden it out to make it more rounded. One of the frames I am wearing at the moment is a titanium, lightweight metal frame with a bar across the top. It has two colours with a metallic front and a dark red on the inside.

Can you describe your favourite pair?

It’s definitely my Gold & Wood sunglasses. It’s a metal framework with blue wood going around the outside of each lens, and a silver mirror with an 85% grating in a varifocal and it looks immaculate.

Who would you pick as your style icon of glasses wearers and why?

Ian Wright, Match of the Day pundit. I’ve supplied his glasses for two and a half years. This happened because once, as one of my clients was leaving, he mentioned he was playing golf at the weekend with Ian Wright. I asked my client if he would take along two pairs of glasses. Just from looking at Mr Wright on the internet I picked out two pairs of frames and said, “Tell him, if he likes them to send me his prescription and measurements and I will do one pair free of charge and the other at 50%.”

The reaction to his glasses on Match of the Day was phenomenal. He’s now probably had 60 pairs from me in two and a half years. Eventually, I got a 3D print made of his face to his exact dimensions so I could send him a picture of a pair of frames over WhatsApp, he would say yes or no and I could then order the lenses, fit them exactly and post them out. I admire his passion for eyewear.

How long have you worn spectacles for, and what prompted you to go for your first sight test?

I have been wearing spectacles since I was nine years old. Like my brothers and sisters, I was myopic.

I actually didn’t start off in the profession. I got a degree in chemistry and worked in pharmaceuticals and waste management. Then at 36 years of age, I felt I needed a change. My brother offered me the chance to join him as a dispensing optician, so in 2004 I joined him and retrained, working with him for about four years.

I had an idea of being able to show people the different styles out there, that they have never seen, or might have seen while on holiday in Italy or France, and bring that to Harrogate. So I opened the shop in 2010. As of November this year, we have been here for 10 years.

bespoke eyewear shopfront

How important is eyewear in reflecting your personality?

I believe one hundred percent that glasses are jewellery for your face. They make you as a person and give you confidence. When you get up in the morning and put your glasses on, you want to look in the mirror and think: “I look good today.” I’m going to do the best possible job I can for my patients prescription and to give them the best look.

What are your top tips for selecting the right pair of frames?

If they have got a long face, I will always try to broaden it. If I’m looking at a high prescription, then I will always try to minimise the distance of the frame surrounds. I will also look at the pupil distance and work out in my head how thick those lenses are going to be and get the pupil distance to match with the frames.

If a lady comes in wearing her hair down, I will ask if she ever wears her hair up, because then she needs to see what those glasses look like with her hair up or down.

At the end of the day, the tip I give is that it doesn’t matter what you wear from your shoulders down. As long as you look at the frame from the neck up and it suits your face, then that’s what you drive for. When people look at you the first thing they will look at is your face, and the second thing is your shoes.