Black Eyewear was founded in 2006 by Robert Roope, a lifetime jazz fan, to satisfy the demand for simple clean black frames.
Robert was trained at 14 years old as a Navigation Officer in the Merchant Navy. At age 16 he sailed from Liverpool to South America. He traded in countries along the Pacific coast, like Ecuador, Columbia, Peru and Chile. While he was there he visited lots of Jazz clubs.
When he left the navy he had a colour vision problem. This led him to his first job as an optician in a Dollond & Aitchison practice in Holloway.
In the sixties the way people perceived glasses started to change. Glasses changed from being an obstacle on the face to an extension of a persons appearance. The old saying: Men don’t make passes on women with glasses, did not hold anymore. This quickened the whole optical industry and turned glasses into fashion items.
In 1967 Robert started to work in an optical company in Copenhagen to distribute eyewear from Germany, Italy, Spain and the USA. The best brands were from manufacturers like American Optical, Carl Zeiss, Metzler, Marwitz, Rodenstock and others. At that time Denmark was famous for Jazz and Robert took advantage of this opportunity to visit all the Jazz houses.
At the beginning of the seventies Robert was sent to South East Asia to start optical factories and teach locals how to make spectacles in Singapore, Kuale Lumpur, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Jakarta.
When Robert returned to the UK in ’75 he set up his own opticians store. In 1998 he eventually made his large vintage eyewear available to public through his the shop and Retrospecs.co.uk . This was a collection of frames and sunglasses that has been gathered from all the places in the world Robert has been.
In 2006 Roope’s two most important of his passions came together. His son Tom suggested that Robert should start his own brand. This is how Black Eyewear was born. A collection of six black frames was created, each made hand by hand in Italy. Since then Black Eyewear has grown significantly.
Robert’s creation process for sunglasses is a unique approach. Instead of creating sunglasses on their own he visualises a face. A look, style and character then enters his mind and he starts to frame the sunglasses to this imagined face. Every frame is named after a famous Jazz musician. This way Robert can pass on his appreciation for frames and Jazz at the same time.
Roberts frame’s come into their own when you put them on your face. Some of them then blend in perfectly. They transform the face, adding character and mystery to it.