Debby Burk Optical Reports 65% Increase In Cat Eyeglass Revenue

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Revolutionary in the 1940's and brazen in the 1950's, the mercurial Cat Eye moves to the front and center of women's eyewear fashion again. Debby Burk Optical reports a 65% revenue increase in cat eyes over the past two years.

AJ Morgan's Ruffle cat-eye reader on

Cat Eye glasses on

Cat eye glasses are wildly popular on the retro side of fashion for Spring and Summer '13

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This year's Vision Expo NYC showcased the resurgence of the cat eyeglass. Alongside trendy two-tone Wayfarers and timeless aviators, cat eye shapes gleamed from the displays of Ray-Ban, Corrine McCormack, and Marc Jacobs, among others.

Sales revenue in Cat Eye Readers increased 65% over the past two years, according to Debby Burk Optical, retailer of reading glasses, and their cat eye selection has tripled this year alone to meet demand.

Cat eyes have a surprising history. First manufactured in the 1930s and 40s, their evolution was shaped by improved lens positioning and even changing hairstyles. Research conducted by optical retailer Debby Burk Optical found that the most recent cat eye craze is driven by interest in vintage fashions and a desire to look unique.

     Innovations in optics preceded the first cat eyeglass, according to Moss Lipow's insightful book Eyewear. Until the 1930s, most glasses were oval and the stems attached to the center point of the frame's edge. In 1931, American Optical placed the hinges at the top of the frame. This allowed the frames to angle down and toward the face, optimizing the eye's rotation with the lens position. The other consequence of this change was that the aesthetic fit to the contours of the face drastically improved. With room to expand, frame designs blossomed into an array of creative shapes. The cat eyeglass was born.

     Shorter women's hairstyles after World War II sparked the second life of cat eyes. In the first part of the 20th century, women pinned up their long hair with elaborate ornamental combs. Intricate designs of butterflies, swirls, and webs crowned the heads above the prongs. But style after the war changed to shorter tresses, and demand for the combs plummeted. To survive, many of these companies channeled their plastics manufacturing expertise into producing ornamental eye wear. At the same time, freed from the austerity of the war, fashion was becoming freer and more colorful. This set the stage for frivolous and fabulous eye-wear designs, including some of the most dramatic cat eyeglasses to date.

     Through a survey and customer reviews, reading glass company Debby Burk Optical gained insight into the latest surge of cat eye reader sales. Over 82% of survey respondents reported that their feelings toward cats had no impact on their reading glass choice, and more than 88% said that TV and movies did not influence their choices. Rather, the more personal experience of shopping and seeing them on others was what affected their decision. Most of those surveyed reported that their cat eye readers matched an overall retro outfit. Likewise, customers used the key words "vintage", "retro" and "1960s style" in product reviews more than any other terms.

     This resonates with ItLook fashion blogger Kelly Farley's assessment. "Cat eye glasses are wildly popular on the retro side of fashion for Spring and Summer '13. So far, we have seen large and colorful cat eye glasses on the Versace runway and also worn by feline fashionista Rachel Zoe."

     Do you have something to say about cat-eye styles? Take the quick survey and receive a 10% coupon for Cat-Eye reading glasses. Survey closes May 31st, 2013.

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