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  • Writer's pictureL'optique

Custom-Made Glasses You Can Adore

On a recent trip abroad, we realized how important it is to highlight our fellow optical peers and the artistry that so many are producing. We have discovered over the years some incredible shops, not only around the United States but the world, who share our profound love for eyewear and bringing one-of-a-kind pieces to clientele. Like a finely tailored suit, to find distinctively and meticulously constructed eyewear is not as easy to come by. Some have taken this adoration for originality and gone a step further by creating beautifully crafted bespoke eyewear in house. One optician and his small team in Brussels are doing just this, crafting custom-made eyewear filled with passion and expert attention to detail.

Ludovic, of Lunetier Ludovic, began his optical journey at the young of seventeen. Without any prior knowledge or family history, he enrolled in opticianry school. Following his graduation, Ludovic spent years working as an optician and later made his way up to Hoet Design’s shop in Brussels. It was during his time here, Ludovic became inspired by the needs of the clientele and saw a lack of customization available to consumers.

Although Belgium is known for incredible designers like that of Hoet and Theo Eyewear, Ludovic realized no one was making tailor-made pieces for clients desiring something unique to their personal needs. He promptly began to research and discovered there were master eyewear craftsmen in the Jura region of France who offered a series of training in their workshops. Without hesitation, Ludovic made the journey and fulfilled his studies with these master artisans learning how to skillfully design, measure, and create handcrafted custom frames.

At the start of 2015, Ludovic took a leap of faith and began working independently out of his home, making custom buffalo horn and acetate frames. Much to his surprise, the demand was more than he anticipated. With his growing audience grew the specific requests of his clientele. He quickly added wood to his repertoire of mediums, locally sourcing the material from a client working in furniture restoration. With new offerings, not only came more demand but the mastering of Ludovic’s skill.

Less than a year later, he felt ready to pursue a dream and left his home workshop to open a brick and mortar in Brussels. He had always dreamt of owning a shop that was different from the rest and was unique in its offerings. The word got out, and his bespoke business was booming. Working daily and many nights, Ludovic struggled to keep up with the demand. However, luck was on his side.

Just as he was feeling overwhelmed, Ludovic received a call from an optical student in Paris searching for an internship. Ludovic felt the timing couldn’t have been better and started Dorian as an apprentice. He flourished under the mentorship of Ludovic, and once he had completed his studies, Ludovic offered Dorian a permanent position. Since the success of his first apprentice, Ludovic has taken on an apprentice each year, teaching them the craft of making eyewear. Many have gone on to work for other bespoke shops in Europe. With the continued success that Ludovic has maintained, he added another apprenticing student, Zoe, to his team in 2018. He is currently training his eighth apprentice.

Working in-house from his Brussels shop, Ludovic’s process is a multi-step intimate collaboration with his client. The initial design takes around two weeks to complete. He begins with pictures and measurements of the face and a thorough meeting with his client to not only discover their physical requirements but what they dream to wear. Ludovic shines here with his love of working with people and finding inspiration from their desires. He then creates six custom frame designs and constructs cardboard prototypes to the size of the client’s measurements. Once this initial design process is complete, the client will meet with Ludovic to try on and select their choice. After the client has selected, they discuss in detail what material and finishes they want for the final product.

When it comes to the details, Ludovic and his team can truly create a work of art unique to the face it’s meant to adorn. In house the client can choose from an array of buffalo horn, acetate, and wood samplings. Those in search of gold and tortoiseshell will pleasantly be satisfied to find those mediums available options as well. After design selection and detailing is decided upon, these materials can be out-sourced to artisans in Holland and France. One can have as intricate a design as desired with the thoroughness that Ludovic embodies when creating. Some previous clients have inlaid metal watch parts and bass guitar strings as embellishment to the temple design. This is truly bespoke eyewear, having a frame made fully inspired by the wearer’s dream and fit.

Once production is complete, the client will come in for a final fitting. They will then be able to have an eye test for an updated prescription, and the topic of lens options and features will be thoroughly discussed. The lens selection and mounting being the final step. Say hello to your beautifully crafted one-of-a-kind glasses!

The time and skill that goes into the making of bespoke eyewear is a labor of love. Ludovic and his team work to give the wearer a piece they can feel equally passionate about. It is no wonder why his business has continued to grow successfully over the years. With this growth, he has expanded his offerings alongside his custom frame making to include a small hand-selected collection of other independent frame manufacturers and most recently, an in-house collection he created with his team during the Covid pandemic. The Jazz collection gives the client slightly more flexibility in sizing options and materials than conventional brands allow. Another successful key Ludovic has discovered in giving more customization to eyewear.

We were left feeling highly inspired and in awe after we visited with Ludovic and his team. Even those not among us eyewear enthusiasts will be impressed and yearning for their own pair of bespoke frames. We highly recommend taking time to see more of what this shop out of Brussels is doing and check out their instagram. We look forward to seeing what else Ludovic has in store for the optical world.

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