Archibald Optics: Designed in London, Handmade in Japan

London Based Start Up Presents New Concept in Luxury Eyewear

If you’ve recently gone to purchase glasses from your local opticians, you will undoubtedly have walked away clutching your wallet and licking your wounds.

While confirmation brings little respite to your accounting sensibilities, rest-assured that two young entrepreneurs are fighting to end this optical collusion.

Archibald Optics partners Rohan Dhir (24) and Michael Tesfaye (25) have launched an e-commerce start-up offering what they consider an “honest price” for luxury eyewear that normally retails for £650+ on High Street. Shipped directly from Japan to your doorstep, each pair of Archibald Optics spectacles comes complete with bespoke Rx lenses and retails for just £175.

The pair – both graduates from Columbia University in New York – have built their business around two assumptions: first, that luxury should be defined by quality of craftsmanship rather than price; and second, that an online platform provides the necessary cost-saving to make such quality affordable.

After debuting their collection this past September at London Fashion Week, the pair took their new venture to the USA, showing at both the NY and Las Vegas “Project” tradeshows. Since then, they’ve been featured in the likes of ELLEUK and Italian Vogue. They now count Jude Law among their growing fan base.

Londoner Rohan said: “People naturally yearn for quality. Sure, it’s nice to pick up something new, but what excites us are the products that get passed down for generations, products that continue to function while maintaining their aesthetic appeal. Often times one’s choice comes down to breaking the bank or taking the cheaper alternative. Well we’ve come up with a third option that let’s you have your cake and eat it too.”

He continues: “I think especially in England, we have a sceptical approach to such things and often ask, ‘What’s wrong with it?’ But our goal is simple – to achieve the absolute best in manufacturing, while demonstrating how the online market place has made such a product affordable.”

New Yorker Michael adds, “Our frames are handmade by artisans who are masters in their craft, a reflection of their skill and over a century worth of experience in the optical industry. The designs were inspired by classic British styling and automakers of the post-war era; innovators who effortlessly married the functional with the aesthetic. We organized a 3-month workshop where we sat down with our team of designers and studied the best of British Design. Ideas were born from a variety of sources including album covers, illustrations from the New Musical Express, and classic series such as Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy. Ultimately, we’ve sought to create eyewear with a quintessentially British feel.”

Another key aspect to their business is social responsibility. For each pair of frames sold, Archibald Optics donates a portion of that sale to the Eyes For Africa Charitable Foundation, which focuses its efforts on providing sight-restoring cataract surgery to rural villagers across Ethiopia.

Michael continues: “Both Rohan and I were adamant that we use the opportunities granted to us to foster new opportunities for those less fortunate. It is amazing how much of an impact the smallest amount of money can have on those who struggle with cataract illnesses born of malnutrition - especially when considering 80% of these visual illnesses are treatable. Eyes for Africa are an admirable organization and we hope our customers and clients will support them as well.”

The pair are ready to make some noise, undeterred by the dominance of traditional UK opticians. Rohan concludes, “The further we move from the traditional brick and mortar retail model, the more affordable quality becomes. Direct-to-consumer is the future of retail, and we can all look forward to more competitive prices as a result.”   

Telephone: +44 330 223 0728


Purveyors of fine optics. Designed in London, handmade in Japan, and available exclusively at . Direct sales means more honest prices.