This week, one of the founding fathers of Giant Vintage Sunglasses (myself) is going to reveal one of the most closely guarded secrets of the eyewear industry...ok, well maybe not quite--but some of you optical experts out there might find this interesting nonetheless. In a rare moment of dot-comradery I've decided to share with you all exactly what the deal is with all the names!
What's the difference between FUNKED and DUNKED....CAROLINA and CATALINA.....BENNY and BUNNY.....QATS and BRATZ?
I get asked this question all the time. Usually what follows is "how many different styles do you have?". Well, fortunately I can easily answer that, as I keep a detailed record of all the styles we've ever had in stock. There are just over 3600. Some of them are long-since sold out (or possibly retired temporarily until they come back into style). So maybe currently on the site we're only offering say, a couple thousand different sunglass styles right now. Anyone who clicks on VIEW ALL STYLES is in for a real treat.
Get ready...here it is: SG-1
Wow, that was exciting. Here's a quick history review of our humble beginning. Flash back about 20 years ago, when we were still young and cute. We had a semi-successful vintage clothing and accessories business here in always-Sunny Los Angeles. We mainly sold wholesale clothes on eBay and to local retailers such as The Wasteland and Buffalo Exchange. One day my business partner came home with about a dozen or so dead stock sunglasses that she found while thrift shopping. They might have been Foster-Grants if I remember correctly. So we put them up for sale on eBay just to see what might happen. We cleverly named them SG-1, SG-2, SG-3 etc. I mean those were just the names we used for our own reference, but they were some amazing and unique styles that we still have never been able to replace...so the names seemed to be of secondary importance.
We started adding some more styles to our catalog soon afterwards. As our collection grew, it became necessary to be a little more specific with the names so that we wouldn't get confused. There was "large tortoise wayfarer" and "round black womens sunglasses"... then we upped our game with "white rhinestone boho" and "asymmetric rhinestone". And that was fine for a while...but then add a "2" or a "3" after each name and soon afterwards it's totally out of control! So we decided to ask an eyewear expert that we knew from our wholesale days, exactly what the correct terminology is for all the different shapes of frames. Of course we knew Aviators and Shields and Clubmasters...but we asked him (pointing to some Laura Biagiotti knockoffs), "what is this style called?".
The answer that he gave was "I call those TWO LINES."
We're like "ok, now we've got to figure something else out". I guess we could just keep adding details and make really long titles like everyone else was doing...y'know like "Celebrity Boho Oversize Rhinestone Jackie-O Stunner Shades" (remember, it was the 90's!) but that's way too complicated and anyway how would we remember which one was which? Perhaps that gives you a bit of a leg up on the competition in terms of search engine marketing etc...but isn't that what all this blog stuff is for anyway? Or-- we could just list them by model number, but that's not pretty. So we started making up words, like NAYCAT and WAYGEL...sort of combining their distinctive elements into new hybrid terms. And that worked a little bit. We actually still use some of those terms in-house. But before we started getting into Esperanto territory, we thought why not just use more familiar words and names that regular people can relate to?
STARDOT: those had mirrored lenses printed with stars and dots. Duh! I really miss those...it was so exciting when we first found them. Still, not a really sustainable practice. "I know!" someone finally said-- why don't we just give them regular names, kind of like you would for your child. After all, these sunglasses really ARE our children. I mean, they live in our house, we have to clean them sometimes, and for the most part they pay our bills. What could be more fitting? Soon we had boxes and boxes of new styles laid out on the floor waiting to be assigned the most appropriate name we could come up with (or the most inappropriate in some cases). Some were named after iconic celebrities (DYLAN, LENNON, COBAIN, TWIGGY, etc.) and others were just named after regular folks in our life-- friends, family etc. (Gene Charles, Edan, Vaughn, Drew, Jules, Veronica, Blackerby...you guys know who you are:)
That was a pun...get it, cuz we carry a lot of round sunglasses? Once we'd gone completely cover-to-cover in our Encyclopaedia of Common Baby Names, we needed some more ideas so we pulled out our old AAA Road Atlas and an old travel Journal or two. How's Avenue 50, or Highland Park for some local flair? Or Glendale or Chatsworth for a little more of a journey? Still too safe? Maybe Bakersfield will satisfy all you thrill-seekers out there.
You get the picture. We just keep adding more and more new styles and for every single one of them there's the perfect name just waiting to be written on the box. A few get recycled here and there, if they're really that good or we're really that bored. A few are dangerously similar (sorry to anyone who may have ordered GLAMMY but received GRAMMY!)
Some may appear offensive at first glance but please be assured that we have only the purest of intentions...this is a family business after all. SUCK IT! is a reference to Jolly Ranchers...everyone's favorite colorful hard candies. Why-- what were you thinking?