Behind the boutique's crisp brick façade, optometrist Dr. Laura Martin meticulously cares for client eyes, leaving them both looking and seeing better. She addresses a variety of issues through services such as exams, dry-eye treatment, and frame fittings. Frames wear designer labels ranging from Gucci, Prada, and Jaguar, allowing customers to outfit their oculi in prescription style. To fill in the hollow hearts of these empty frames, the boutique keeps a selection of lenses including progressive lenses, sunglass lenses, and five varieties of contacts.
Blue Cloud Gallery has a focus on local art. That’s the principle laid out by owner Betsy Lenora, an art aficionado and photographer who has been curating New England’s best local art for some time. She currently oversees the influx of art from more than 100 local artists at Blue Cloud Gallery. The walls, shelves, and tables are covered with unique crafts including ceramics, jewelry, glass, woodwork, fiber, and graphics. Resident artist Marshall injects some modern art methods into the gallery, as well. Using digital techniques to add depth, color, and tone to original photographs, Marshall produces digital paintings that are collected by clients from all over the world.
The brand American Apparel, which recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary, conjures up images of stylish and well-fitting fashion basics. It also likely brings to mind sassy advertisements featuring long-haired beauties in natural makeup posing in skin-bearing bodysuits and loungewear.
But what many don't know about the brand—despite its name and the slice of apple pie that comes with every purchase—is that all of its clothes are made in America. Everything from sewing and cutting to accounting and marketing happens in one building in downtown Los Angeles, and the rest occurs within a 30-mile radius. Not only that, every slim-fitting pair of pants, spandex bodysuit, and v-neck T-shirt is made in a sweatshop-free environment.
Plus, keeping everything in house means the company eliminates unnecessary and wasteful factors, such as shipping fuel and packing materials, as well as provides jobs to Angelenos, instead of outsourcing them.
“It’s the challenging fits—either spectacles or contact lenses—that drive me," writes optician John Parrelli on his website. Since opening his first shop in 1978, these challenges have included cataract sufferers who were left without binocular vision following surgery. Parrelli and his team of lens specialists experimented with different materials, designs, and indices of refraction until they could fabricate a lens thin and strong enough to restore these patients’ sight.
Today, Parrelli Optical has grown to six locations, where optometrists inspect patients' vision with a comprehensive, 15-point eye-health assessment and complete visual analysis. Through digital corneal photography, they're able to diagnose corneal disease and increase the precision and comfort of prescriptions. The locations also host a wide selection of designer frames, ideal for experimenting with different styles, such as wearing 20 frames at once.
At its three locations in Harvard Square, South End, and Jamaica Plain, the Eye Q Optical team works to outfit clients with original frame styles. Most designs are its own innovations, manufactured in-house with inspiration from iconic eras and modern designers visiting from a far-off future. The Aphrodite frames play subtly on traditional cat-eyed styles, and the Apollo frames accentuate faces with bold rectangular shaping and primary blue colors.
The Eye Q Optical team also carries frames by artistic independent makers including Rapp Eyewear, who hand-finishes its colorful frames in Toronto, and Rolf Eyewear, who manufactures frames and hinges entirely out of wood. In the Cambridge office, the Eye Q opticians collaborate with digital 3-D-fitting technology and a highly opinionated robot to select the perfect frames for each client.