We were alerted to this interesting line of eyewear from Italy before heading over to Florence for the Pitti Uomo trade show, and seeing it up close, we could really see the quality and craftsmanship that Dom Vetro (which translates to House of Glass) is striving for.
We spoke to the brand’s founder, Ashley Bezamat to hear more about the backstory.
How long have you been in Florence?
Been living in Florence for a couple of months getting the collection ready.
How did Dom Vetro begin?
Dom Vetro started as a documentary project about craftsmen having made eyewear for generations. It is very hard to find this level of quality in the eyewear market. There is one company that dominates eyewear and that’s it. In a global economy these guys we are working with aren’t marketers; they are true craftsmen.
What drew you to these craftsmen?
I am an entrepreneur and I have always loved glasses. Even as a kid I would save up to buy shades. When I found the product I was going to Italy and couldn’t find what I was looking for. I searched every single little optical store and I found one pair of truly artisanal glasses and found out who made them. Then I made a trip up to their village in the Dolomites and filmed a documentary of the guys making the glasses. I had no plans on getting into eyewear.
But you did!
I asked them to make 100 pairs of glasses and I started giving them to friends and I got into a couple of stores. We realized there is really something here.
How much do you have to do with the design process?
I started basically designing the perfect glasses for me and choosing colors that I love, and it really resonated with people. Now I am just helping get the business competitive and help them think with the times so that they can keep doing what they do. Watch the video on how long it takes to make a pair of glasses. It’s amazing.
I am impressed with the fairly reasonable price tag.
Our price point is attainable. I want people to be able to experience the brand. I have an issue with the level of quality and the price points out there in our market.
Besides the craftsmanship, what sets Dom Vetro apart?
Our lenses are polarized crystal. They aren’t plastic. Also everything from the screws to the acetate is from Italy and every pair is hand polished and finished.
Are you working with any brands?
I can produce sunglasses for other brands. I love working with other people. So far we have done one collab with Club Monaco.
As for the Feel Good Friday angle, how are you helping these old guys out?
Dom Vetro is absolutely making a difference. These men have kids, they want to retire, but it is hard since there are just a few of them left! So we need the younger generation to step up. I think there is a growing appreciation for what these people do and I hope that breathes some new life into our generation.
Why are they based in such a remote area?
The Italian Alps are significant, since making glasses requires a lot of energy. Glass lenses need lots of power so the shops are built on little rivers enabling the water to run through the shops to make the glasses; and the wood from the forests is used to burn to make the glass. Now you can just plug your machine into a socket but it was a competitive advantage to have those resources back in the day.
Do you spend a lot of time in the village?
To be there is really my sanctuary! I must have lived there in another life.