Monthly men’s magazine GQ recently wrote an article about the “fake nerd,” a person who poses as a nerd to appear hipster and eccentric. According to the magazine, the “fake nerd” is most readily identified by his “Warby Parker glasses and a ‘Big Bang Theory’ t-shirt.”
Although glasses might only cost a few dollars to make, many are marked up by nearly a thousand percent. Glasses that cost $30 to produce may be sold at your local optometrist clinic or Sunglass Hut for $300.
Sophomore Henry McNamara feels that some people decide to pay so much for glasses because they are more of a luxury design nowadays. “I think it really varies from person to person whether they even need glasses or not. But I guess so many people are wearing glasses today not because it’s something trendy, but because people are becoming more aware about their eyesight,” he explains.
Senior Elena Enioukova has frames from Kate Spade. “I paid over a hundred dollars for just the frames, but since I needed them and my insurance covered the cost, I wasn’t too worried about the price,” she says.
Along with prescription glasses, the market for sunglasses is also expanding, according to the Grand View Market Research and Consulting Services (GVMRCS). In fact, this market, worth $10.82 billion in 2012, is expected to expand by eight percent by 2020.
Cheang feels that sunglasses are more about fashion than utility. “If you wear sunglasses indoors, especially at school, where you’re in class for like five to six hours, there’s really no point in having them,” she says.
McNamara agrees, saying, “Unless you are driving, I definitely feel that spending a lot of money on sunglasses is definitely more an investment in fashion rather than vision. Whereas prescription glasses are mainly bought because people need them, I think sunglasses are purchased because people want them. But I do have a friend, Aria, who wears glasses that have no prescription on them.”
According to Eyecessorize, an online publication about eyewear fashion, 16 million Americans have worn eyeglass frames without a prescription, just for aesthetic purposes. Sophomore Aria Natarajan is among those who wear glasses without any prescription. “I honestly feel that anyone can wear glasses, whether they need them or not,” she says. “I definitely don’t think spending that much is necessary, but if glasses look good on you, they look good. Same goes for sunglasses.”
And although some have chosen to switch to contact lenses, the market for designer glasses in not expected to shrink. According to GVMRCS, the market for eyewear may expand to be worth roughly $150 billion by the year 2020.