Warby Parker, the socially conscious purveyors of stylish and affordable eyewear, continue to perfect their foray from the digital world into brick-and-mortar retail with their third New York City store. Recently opened in the Meatpacking District, just across from the High Line, the Washington Street location represents a new chapter for the team who just three years ago were working out of the co-founders’ apartments.
The Washington Street store, complete with an in-store optometrist, is lined with glasses, lush with greenery and brimming with books. Ample sunlight streams through the floor-to-ceiling windows, bathing the space’s rich reclaimed wood interior in natural light. Park benches and potted plants make the store feel like an extension of the neighboring aerial greenway. “We really wanted to integrate elements from the surrounding community,” says co-founder Neil Blumenthal. The store’s proximity to the Hudson River, with its extensive nautical history, inspired the store’s most striking visual element: “Warby Parker” spelled out in custom-made international maritime signal flags.
Warby Parker’s Ocean Avenue Collection is just as high-concept. Inspired by hot summer days in ’70s and ’80s New York City, the frames have a boardwalk vibe. “Our creative team really looked to New York City summers and beaches from previous decades,” says Blumenthal, “The movie ‘The Warriors’ was a huge influence.”
While Warby Parker continues to have a major online presence, the tangible retail experience is a major component of the business. “We believe the future of business is a mix of online and brick-and-mortar,” says Blumenthal. “Customers are more likely to be loyal when they can experience the product on both levels.” Meanwhile, the brand’s social mission continues to thrive. For every pair of glasses sold, Warby Parker distributes a pair to someone in need. As they eclipse half-a-million pairs, the brand’s global reputation for do-good style continues to strengthen. For more information on Warby Parker stores, the new Ocean Avenue Collection and socially-conscious business, check out their website.
Images by Hans Aschim