Eye Opening

July 2021 View more

By Kelly Aiglon

To be a world-renowned eyewear brand, you have to have a vision. With its knack for bringing stylish frames to the masses, seemingly effortlessly, Warby Parker checks all the boxes. And it just put Naperville in its sights, opening a boutique on Jefferson Avenue downtown.

This is big news for anyone living south of I-88 who has been trekking to Oakbrook Center for their frame fix. And it’s a real eye opener for the uninitiated, who are sure to be turned on not just by the bold selection but also the in-house optometry services that you can book online in a blink. Notably, the Naperville location is bigger than that of Oak Brook. It offers comprehensive eye exams, plus a complete assortment of optical and sunwear, including the newly launched Summer 2021 and Sunburst collections.

From speedy checkouts done by associates with iPads in hand, to wide-open shelves that invite testing and trying, Warby Parker has seemingly found the perfect prescription for engaging its customers. “It’s all about creating an accessible shopping experience, says Sandy Gilsenan, SVP of retail for Warby Parker. “The design of our stores is unique; there are unexpected details like full-length mirrors. It’s nice to get a view beyond just the face, because eyewear isn’t just a medical device, but truly completes the way you see and think about yourself.”

Making customers feel comfortable—while giving them free range to express their personal style—is big at Warby Parker. Scan the selection and you’ll find plenty of interesting twists on classic details. Think: mixed materials, like agitate with metal, and lots of bold, saturated color. “There are frames for people that dare … and don’t dare as much,” says Gilsenan.

The Sunburst sunwear collection is getting on everyone’s beach-ready radar, flaunting bold, oversized frames that beg for selfies. And the Summer 2021 eyewear collection wanders into retro territory, with details like graduated rivets that look midcentury modern. Yet for those who want to eschew frames entirely, the Naperville store offers the brand’s first-ever daily contact lens brand, Scout by Warby Parker. Already winning raves for affordability and comfort, the lenses are made from a moist material that resists drying.

Since Warby Parker first came into being in 2010 as a website dubbed by GQ as “the Netflix of eyewear,” it’s opened more than 140 stores across the U.S. And each has an artful story to share. Warby Parker has commissioned over 100 artists from around the world, including Joana Avilez, Robert Sauschenberg, Julia Rothman, and Chris Ware to create original works for its shops, as well as murals, prints, lens cloths, postcards, wallpaper, and more. For its 11th anniversary this year, the brand published a coffee-table book, The Alphabet of Art at Warby Parker, offering a deep dive into each piece.

Giving back is also part of Warby Parker’s DNA. Through the Buy a Pair, Give a Pair program, eyewear is donated to individuals in need. And local teams are encouraged to volunteer close to home, in an effort to bolster local neighborhoods.

“Hopefully, we’ll see Naperville benefit from that,” says Gilsenan. “We’re really taken with the vibe and feeling of community here.”

Photo courtesy Warby Parker