State Optical Co. Makes Luxury Handcrafted Glasses the American Way


You need a pair of glasses. At least you have an abundance of options. Walk into your local optometrist and there before you are row upon row of frames: Ray Bans, Ralph Lauren, Persol, hell, Tiffany & Co.  even got into the frame game. Except, they’re all largely owned and manufactured by one company: Luxottica.

Luxottica owns 28 of the largest frame labels in the world, allowing them something close to a monopoly, marking up prices to whatever they feel like, while manufacturing 90% of the frames in countries like Brazil, India, and China.
Therefore, we are excited to learn State Optical Co. is seeing American manufacturing through a new lens– as makers of luxury eyewear right here in the USA.

State Optical Co.

Enter Scott Shapiro who knows his eyewear: his family owns Europa Eyewear. The idea for State Optical had been kicking around Shapiro’s head for a while when he met cousins Marc Franchi and Jason Stanley. Franchi and Stanley were already making eyewear in California and Shapiro knew he’d found the perfect partners to make State Optical a reality. Franchi and Stanley took Shapiro up on his offer to move to Chicago and there they started State Optical Co. in a large factory with machinery sourced from all over the world

Shapiro also teamed up with Blake Kuwahara, that mad genius visionary of optometry. Kuwahara is internationally recognized for his designs, which draw inspiration from classic frames, but that are somehow fantastically unique. When it’s something you wear everyday, shouldn’t it say something about you? And shouldn’t it be the best?

State Optical Co.

Not the type to rush perfection, each State Optical frame takes about 14 days to complete in their Chicago factory. It requires 75 individual steps to craft the frames, much of which is done by real humans. Frames are named for Chicago streets; the logo even pays homage to Illinois becoming the 21st state in the union. It’s American sensibility and heritage updated– and worn proudly on your face. You can even tour their factory on Tuesdays and Fridays!

State Optical’s attention to detail and human touch mean these are some seriously impressive glasses. Beyond just looking great, they created a special hinge with a company in Germany that prevents the arms from loosening, leading to the wildly annoying slippage most Four Eyes are acutely aware of. Each frame is hand polished and designed to last, because luxury should also mean quality.

And, just in time for summer, State Optical has released a line of sunglasses. They feature the same bold designs, interesting colors, and superb craftsmanship.

It’s time to see glasses in a whole new way.