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Nov 20, 2014 >> Chicago In Focus: Warby Parker Frame Studio


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above: WARBY PARKER’S INSTAGRAM INTROS THE CHICAGO POP-UP SPACE 

It may feel like—gasp!—seven degrees outside but for NY-based eyeglass brand Warby Parker, they are still urging people to #SmileChicago.

Popping up along Lincoln Park’s once glam shopping destination, Armitage Avenue, Warby Parker’s sleek seasonal storefront space is following in the footsteps of other brands who have similar grass roots vibes in revitalizing the charming block. From relative newbies like Berco’s Popcorn and Le Pain Quotidien to the nearly thirty year reign of Art Effect, Warby Parker Frame Studio breathes new life into the Lincoln Park shopping street.

So what’s in store in this store, you ask? With a pop-up concept that is perfectly timed for Holiday pictures—we’ll get to that in a second!—the cozy space features a Video Jukebox for customers to check out retro VHS titles on a big comfy couch as well as geek out at a wall of vintage cameras from A&A Studios. A super creative space to come try on some frames, kick it with friends or just get out of the cold for a few minutes. 

The crowning jewel of Warby Parker’s pop-up is a full-size photo studio that is aimed at giving your pearly whites a place to really shine.

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above, left: G&F’S CREATIVE DIRECTOR HOPS IN FRONT OF FRAME STUDIO LENS // above, right: ANOTHER INSTAGRAM SNAP OF THE FRAME STUDIO RETRO LOUNGE

Without overt branding and other gimmicks—thank you Warby Parker!—the studio feels almost sinful behind a white cotton curtain. And what’s back there is something truly old fashioned: a portrait session. A real camera. A real in-house photographer. A real backdrop. A real 4×6″ photograph printed for you to take home and give to your mom. Yes, you can instagram the crap out of the photos afterward with the hashtag #SmileChicago, but the essence of the experience is just good old fashioned fun. And it’s all free. And totally unbranded. It’s delightfully simple. And with a tray of glasses to wear in your shoot—totally optional, by the way—it really gives you an opportunity to test drive a pair in real time.

While you can’t walk out of the store with prescription glasses, you can try on an overwhelming amount of frames to find the perfect pair and leave happy with sunnies or non rx lens frames. And with prices starting at $95, these frames become a cheap luxury—and dare we say a very good Holiday gift for the person who has everything? Or if they already have plenty of WP’s, then may we suggest an awkward family photograph to give them instead? Again, remember, it’s free.

While the brand plans to open a boutique this Spring (just down the street at 851 Armitage Avenue), the concept store will be cranking portraits of Chicagoans until then.

Warby Parker Frame Studio, 837 W. Armitage Avenue
The studio officially opens Saturday, Nov 22. Reserve your portrait session at WarbyParker.com/Retail/Frame-Studio.