Nanyang Optical deals in prescription lenses and retails spectacle frames from mainstream designers. But its founder was driven by a desire to create distinctive eyewear. He noted that even with haute couture designer frames, one would not be able to identify the spectacles’ origins if their labels are covered. Yet, the fame of the products lies in their name, not in their inherent quality.
He, therefore, worked with his business partners to develop, manufacture and launch unique fashion eyewear frames. One of them, Urband, is a revolutionary concept in eyewear and defies convention. The spectacle frames were constructed without any springs, screws or soldering. It comprised three portions - the front which held the lenses, and the two temple portions - all held together by two S-shaped clips, made of high-tensile strength stainless steel, at the hinges. One version of Urband was made with titanium, rendering it virtually indestructible, with temple portions that could bend 180 degrees outwards without breaking. Another version was made with acetate for a more youthful style. An added advantage is that the lack of soldering makes the structure of the frames stronger, and optometrists can replace lenses more easily without using tools.
The two stream of product development, product design and fashion design, were handled by teams with different capabilities; and perfecting the manufacturing process was a protracted exercise. But eventually, the company was able to roll out products that were to their satisfaction, and to customers’ delight.