Talk to almost anyone with a strong glasses prescription, and they’ll confess a bit of self-consciousness. Not only do these thick lenses often look odd in thin and airy frames, they’re so strong that they can actually distort the wearer’s visage.
Since she was eight years old, Tamar Canfi, a recent graduate of Shenkar College of Engineering and Design in Israel, has worn glasses. Today, her prescription is a strong -10. “Your face looks weird, with extremely small or large eyes,” laments Canfi. “Regular eyeglasses just emphasize the physical disability.”
In turn, she created frames unlike anything you’ll find at Warby Parker. Instead of using thin wires or thick Ray-Ban resins, Canfi’s frames–spotted recently on Dezeen–are made out of intricate layers of clear plastic. By using a mix of shapes and a combination of convex and concave material, she doesn’t remove distortion from her glasses–she adds more. Canfi is essentially taking the unavoidable warp from a strong lens and amplifying it across one’s entire face, celebrating the look as a beautiful, prismatic design feature, rather than attempting to hide the phenomenon or simply pretend it doesn’t exist.
“I really hope these frames will help change the perception of thick lenses and alleviate the stigma attached to wearing these kinds of glasses,” says Canfi. “Rather than seeing it as an awkward physical disability, I want it to be a bold fashion statement that people can wear with confidence.”
The prototypes you see here are made of CNC-cut plastic, but Canfi believes the designs are scalable, using production methods like injection molding that are common in the existing world of eyewear. Before taking them to market, however, Canfi believes she can streamline her audacious designs to trim down the weight and size so that they’re more comfortable to wear.
And if you think about it, what makes Canfi’s designs so fascinating isn’t just how they look, but specifically why they look like they do. In the world of fashion, where trends are often built upon artistic whimsy and well-placed influencer adoption, she’s bucking trends by practicing inclusive design–starting with the unique needs of a group that’s been ignored by most of the industry, and creating innovation specifically tailored to them that one day, who knows, could be worn by many more than those who need the most extreme vision correction.
“Many top fashion houses today that dictate trends for the entire fashion world use exaggerated and odd designs,” says Canfi. “So why not integrate a true need into a new fashion trend?”