This month we are taking you to Toronto, behind the scenes of one of our most avant-garde and exclusive eyewear collections. Rapp is a collection we started working with in 2014 and while it is one of our more niche ranges and always in limited numbers, in the last 5 years many ecstatic Jones And Co. clients have joined the Rapp club.
The Rapp family, hand-craft their inventive, lively eyewear in Toronto.
In 1983, from the smallest of beginnings, Rapp Optical started in a small space in the back of a lady’s hat shop, owned by the company founder’s mother. Rapp eyewear has since grown to become an international icon of modern and eclectic eyewear, quietly hand crafting eyewear using only raw materials in their small atelier in North Toronto.
Even today there is still a small family team of 3 behind the brand’s international success. Mel Rapp is an optician by trade, his wife Julia Rapp coordinates the collection’s extensive colour palettes, and their son Shilo Rapp takes care of the design for their extensive collection and oversees the manufacturing process. Each of them brings their unique expertise to a process they have mastered over the years.
They specialise in designing and manufacturing a limited collection of beautiful, handmade frames, which are custom made for a small number of the world’s top opticians. Jones and Co. are one of only three exclusive stockists of Rapp eyewear in the UK and of course we were the first to bring it to the UK!
Since their inception, an outlandish and eccentric sensibility has influenced the aesthetic direction of this eyewear brand.
“Our enthusiasm for design has always produced distinctively different eyewear, whether compared to conventional schools of design or any other international design movement.” says founder Mel Rapp.
Rapp frames have a signature look: A high-end acetate front and contrasting raw titanium sides. Mostly matte in texture the collection has a very industrial feel. The material combinations make the frames instantly recognisable as a Rapp design product, without resorting to the external labels and logos that generic eyewear brands rely on.
You can’t pick up a Rapp frame without noticing the solid, high quality feel it has. That’s the mark of great eyewear. It doesn’t just look different, you can actually feel the superior quality when you pick it up and put it on.
Renowned for their quality, colour, and ability to customize one-of-a-kind pieces, Rapp is a collection that offers you a look unlike all the others.
Rapp decided to offer their eyewear collection in this way to keep a true notion of individual identity, and to let you to select eyewear that is unique in a world of mass-produced fast fashion optics. By using handmade techniques and very limited colour runs, they ensure exclusivity in the design, and the extensive palette of custom colours are not mass produced, meaning that you are wearing a truly limited-edition piece of eyewear.
Who Is Rapp For?
Rapp is a range tailored for the eyewear enthusiast who understands the meaning of handmade luxury eyewear. Rapp wearers recognise quality when they see it and feel it. And they appreciate the attractiveness of limited edition and technical uniqueness too.
“Framing the eyes is not easy. Thinking different is not easy. It requires guts and resistance to conformity. Our persistence towards individual identity as an eyewear statement is loud and clear. Together with a handful of other small international producers, RAPP is constantly striving for individualisation within the large mass produced, colourless, complacent and undifferentiated eyewear industry.”
The brand received a huge international boost when none other than ‘Eyewear King’ himself Sir Elton John appeared on the front cover of Rolling Stone magazine in 2012 wearing a Rapp frame. Over the years many other celebrities, artists and literary talents have been seen donning their Rapp frames on the silver screen, their eyewear choice perfectly complimenting their creative identity.
The handmade-in-Toronto collection has built a strong fan following among eyewear connoisseurs who like to look as good as they see. However, these frames are not for the feint hearted! The frames really do pack a punch. Strong in shape and colour, they lay all of their cards on the table for everyone to see. If you want to make a statement with your eyewear, Rapp is for you.
The real beauty of the collection is how they have executed the most perfect colour palette selection and acetate combinations. Not to mention the crispness of the frame edges and directional matte finishes, compared with conventional acetate frame which have rounded edges and glossy finish. Making them so much more than just an ordinary pair of glasses.
It’s All In The Feel
“We do it by hand. The front and inside of the acetate has a directional matte finish and is not high gloss. Only the edges are glossy. Our edges are very crisp, with no rounding. Once the front is machined it is truly a hand-finished product.” Says Shilo Rapp.
Inspiration for the design for parts of the collection come from a broad spectrum of well-known celebrity’s who have inspired designer Shilo Rapp over the years such as artist David Hockney or from musicians such as Lou Reed.
But Shilo also talks about taking inspiration from the real Toronto and how he looks to local businesses for historical stories and memoires. Model Sherman is named after “Sherman’s Tailors” regaling stories of famous musicians passing through Toronto in the 1950’s- 1970’s.
Over the years Rapp has won numerous design awards. In 2012, a defining moment for the brand was to win a prestigious Ontario Business Achievement Award- a category for recognising successful independent Canadian companies, their innovation and achievements, their positive effect on employment on Ontario, resulting in increased exports of Canadian products worldwide. Something they are increasingly proud of.
Rapp at Jones And Co.
Rapp eyewear gives us the opportunity to showcase some of the most exclusive and distinctive independent eyewear designs in the world. We are honoured to be among a small number of opticians that has the pleasure of curating a selection of these handmade beauties to bring to our clients in the UK each year.
Each piece of our collection has been hand selected by our team for design and colour with you, our clients in mind.
There is a tremendous amount of skill and expertise in curating a collection like Rapp and frankly the Jones And Co. team do it better than anyone. When it comes to matching frames to faces and personalities and prescriptions we can show you possibilities and eyewear combinations that no-one else can. It’s never just about the frame. A frame on a shelf is only a half-finished product. The real magic is in assembling a stunning piece of eyewear with your prescription lenses, as thin and flat and light as optically possible, in a frame colour and shape that combines with your face and personality to say exactly what you want it to say about you. That’s the Jones And Co. magic.
We have around 50 Rapp designs now in stock. But these pieces don’t wait around for long. With no two pieces alike and a wait time of five months from initial ordering don’t hesitate to visit the team and arrange to view the newest pieces from the Rapp Eyewear collection which have just arrived! The Jones And Co. team can help you create the perfect piece of Rapp eyewear for you.
Call the team on 0161 834 7798 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book a styling consultation and see the entire collection.