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The Optimist Glasses
When I started fishing I bought a pair of glasses at the Orvis store in Vermont. They had a 1970s aviator feeling and I loved them. Even though they were not fancy, or even particularly well-made, I was very devoted to these glasses. Naturally, they stopped making them, and I could never find them again. So over the years I replaced the scratched lenses and glued them back together when they broke.
I always wanted a better pair of polarized glasses for fishing, one with some of the swagger of older frames, but lightweight, made of the best materials with lenses that can handle the glare on the Bahamas flats where you need them to spot the nearly invisible bonefish. Working with the good and talented people at Kirk Originals we created The Optimist, glasses for anglers and sartorial obsessives. Made by hand in England, these sunglasses that are perfectly at home trout fishing in Montana or sitting on a terrace in Florence. That’s a pretty good equation.
This has been one of the most enjoyable projects I’ve worked on. Though “work” might be the wrong word. I had an idea for something, but Mark Brown at Kirk Originals, interpreted those ideas and made them real. When I felt some proportions weren’t quite right, they massaged them until they were just what I wanted. I’m very excited with how they turned out. Hand-made glasses have a certain feeling when you hold them that’s very special and can’t be replicated. There are only fifteen pairs of The Optimist glasses. (There may be some more down the line, so look alive out there.) They do just about everything you could want, except maybe catch a fish.
Photos: Chase Winfrey