Since the debut of the first collection, Oliver Peoples has maintained a passion for the craftsmanship of superior eyewear. Produced using the finest materials with careful attention to detail, each frame is inspired and created in the design studio in West Hollywood, California. Remaining true to the sophisticated, intellectual aesthetic made iconic by the brand, custom acetate in arrays of tortoise shell hues remain at the heart of the collections.
Each frame is meticulously handcrafted in a dedicated factory following a process that combines both technological advancements and the human touch. Throughout the production phases the artisans who sculpt the material into the final product reference the original design drawing ensuring its integrity. Disregarding conventional processes, each step is carried out despite the length of time required. The end result is an authentic design with bespoke, handmade details that are distinctive and unique.
It takes many months to perfect the design drawings, requiring countless revisions that make adjustments to a fraction of a millimeter to ensure the perfect balance and fit of the frame. Once the design is ready, the prototyping phase begins. A dedicated studio of true craftsmen hand carves the raw materials to create three-dimensional realizations of the designs. The process is entirely done by hand, and is an essential step in order to see the frame and make any adjustments before the industrialization process begins.
With the prototype approved, tooling is engineered in order to industrialize the manufacturing process so every frame is consistent. Each acetate design is produced at Lauriano, the dedicated, specialized factory in Turin, Italy. Artisans with a passion for eyewear who have spent their lives perfecting their craftsmanship manage each step of the production. Attention is paid to the details of each frame: every pin, plaque, hinge, and signature logo plaque are applied by hand to create a superior eyewear product.
The process starts in the back of the factory with raw materials, and ends with quality control of finished frames at the front. See the gallery above for the Prototyping phase.
Once the frame fronts and temples are fully formed, they enter a four-day tumbling process that smooths the surface of the raw acetate. Continuous motion inside the tumbling barrels causes gentle abrasion with small pieces of wood coated with oil, paste, and other natural materials. There are several phases of the tumbling based upon the size of the pieces of wood, which determine the degree of polishing, becoming gradually less aggressive. To achieve a matte or semi-matte finish, the acetate frame fronts and temples are sent back to the initial stage for additional abrasion after they have finished the complete process. The tumbling barrels fill a large room and create a constant humming as the machines continually remain in motion. Each aisle is a different step in the tumbling process. The barrels are filled with wood, paste, and oil, which turn in continuous motion with the acetate frames. Each frame is hand-inspected before continuing to the next stage.
A dedicated team of highly trained technicians assembles the individual frame components and hand polishes them in a process similar to fine jewelry. They then check the adjustment using a micrometer at tolerances to a fraction of a millimeter, carefully referring back to the original design drawing. With meticulous attention to detail, even the slightest imperfections are identified and corrected in adherence with strict quality standards. The result is the finely crafted eyewear with enduring integrity and authenticity of design.
Once completed, the frames are placed in the case and ready to be shipped to the authorized working optician.