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New-Old Japanese Glasses You Will Want: Masunaga

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What will we never get enough of in Southern California? Sunglasses. We love us some sunglasses. In such a sunny, warm climate, sunglasses are our refuge from the sometimes too bright brightness. We have l.a.Eyeworks, we have Freeway Sunglasses, we have Matsuda Sunglasses, and lots and lots more. It’s remarkable! The last maker–Matsuda–seems particularly special considering there is a new (“new”) sunglasses brand from Los Angeles that functions in a similar way: Masunaga, a Woodland Hills based optical maker founded in Fukui, Japan in 1905. The brand is recently relaunching itself and has a lot of sexy options for sun shading and more.

Masunaga glasses are known for their details. They are made with the finest materials including silver accents and “polished Japanese acetate” bases. They have a modern and classic feel to them as their frames are simple: their nuances come in their coloring and in the details. A lot of them have a sexy, discrete two-tone, shifting from one color to another or out of one pattern and into another. While we’ve seen glasses in this fashion that ended up looking a bit silly. These are in no way silly: they are very much elevated to a sophisticated and desirable level likely because their frame bases are so simple.

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These glasses have a lot of (good) baggage. Fukui–where they came from–is apparently where 97% of optical frames in Japan were once made, according to them. The brand was founded by Gozaemon Masunaga who took it upon himself to add more craft into the glasses to separate his from the rest of the makers in the country. Each piece is made manually, which sounds like a tedious task but they’ve been making it work for over a century. We’re not exactly sure which Angeleno took over the brand (that part is left out of their story) but whoever it is has a clear hand in how everything looks. Poke around the website and look at their current campaign: totally born out of LA. I even worked with one of those models on a show a few weeks ago!

The brand has a lot going on and they’ve also launched their first LA-focused campaign that has them and Dan Deutsch Optical Outlook–another historic LA eyewear maker–sharing various makers at work in their glasses. They’ve featured architectural and interior designer Tim Campbell and artist Matt Jones and jewelry maker Melody Ehsani and, recently, actor Crash McCreery. The campaign is called #WhatsYourCraft and–if you share your craft on Twitter and Instagram–you could win some sunglasses. The contest runs from May 20 through June 14 and they’ll be giving a pair of glasses away once a week: what a great opportunity! You can check out the glasses in person at Dan Deutsch and you can always drool over them here.

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