RetroSpecs Opens Vintage Eyewear Outpost On Gough

RetroSpecs Opens Vintage Eyewear Outpost On Gough
Photos: Hoodline
By Rose Garrett - Published on January 14, 2015.

RetroSpecs & Co., the LA-based vintage eyewear restorer and retailer, is now up and running on the corner of Gough and Grove. Back in September, we let you know of the impending opening, which is the third location for the business (it also has a Las Vegas outpost). 

"The best way to look as us is that we are the Christie's of historic eyewear," explained Adam Cowfer, RetroSpecs' Director of Sales . "We find, restore, service and warrant vintage and historic eyewear, anywhere from the early 1900s through the 1970s. We also do our own buffalo horn collection and titanium collection."

The company has been around for over 20 years, according to Cowfer. It all started by Jay Owens, who spent five years traveling the country in an RV, finding and restoring old eyewear. "All of these pieces are actually restored to brand-new quality again," said Cowfer, opening and closing the drawers of glasses carried by the shop.

Old eyewear, he said, has a much bigger emphasis on quality materials than the more disposable eyewear we buy today. "These were meant to last forever if taken care of properly." The glasses on display do, indeed, look new. "They're all rehydrated, hand-polished, and engraved with a registration number, so everything is archived in our database in LA."

When asked about his favorite frames, Cowfer referenced the first nylon frame every produced, nicknamed "the Invincible" back in the late 1950s. "It was the first frame the Yves Saint Laurent was every photographed in when he was an up-and-coming designer." Another favorite was the American Optical Saratoga, "the competitor of the Ray-Ban Wayfarer," which according to Cowfer, JFK wore while sailing in Martha's Vineyard. Yet another notable style was the 1960s combination frame, "iconic of Malcolm X."

"It's definitely something different," said Cowfer, noting the unique nature of the store. "We are who we are, and it works."

Retrospecs is located at 475 Gough St. Hours are 11am-7pm, Monday through Saturday, open on Sunday with hours TBD.