The glasses guru of the GCC

October 4, 2014

The new luxury

The concept of ‘luxury’ has become dated, as a lot of people think that luxury is purely something expensive. I believe that luxury is more about quality and design, than gold and diamonds. For me, niche products are the evolution of luxury – they don’t have to be expensive, but, rather, special and unique.

Go with what you know

In general, people tend to opt for well-known brands; brands they associate with quality. But when the big brands are mass-produced, the quality of them is diminished. Gradually we have seen people’s buying habits mature, as they start to educate themselves on the value of a higher-quality product. This why people are now turning to niche brands, because you’re not simply buying it for the name, you’re buying it for the quality.

The new superstar

The latest niche brand that Hassan’s has signed to distribute is DITA – an incredibly high-quality brand worn by people like Oprah Winfrey, Ben Affleck and Brad Pitt. I honestly believe that they produce the best quality glasses ever made. The frames are artisan products where every single piece is handmade in Japan in a process where a single pair takes between eight and 12 months to create. They apply the same concept used in watchmaking – where a different person makes every individual detail – and it takes an average of 600 man-hours to create each frame. Even the screws are uniquely made for the frame! They aren’t cheap, but you will likely pay a similar price for an inferior pair just because it is famous brand name. [gallery link="none" ids="9018,9019,9020"]

Local market

Rather than blindly following European trends, the market in the Middle East is starting to develop its own tastes. One of the main reasons for this is due to the local dress. If someone is wearing a kandora, they are limited by the accessories available to individualise their look – watches, pens and eyewear. Therefore, frames gain a lot more attention over in the Gulf and people tend to have a lot of knowledge about them.

First impressions

In the ’80s and ’90s, wearing glasses was considered a bad thing – you'd be considered a nerd and made fun of. However, this trend really picked up in 2000s when Armani and Dior started to make glasses trendy. Today, they are used as statement pieces much like watches. You can tell something about someone’s personality from the glasses that they wear.

Pairs of glasses

I own around 12 different frames, and a similar number of sunglasses, which I rotate on a daily basis. I’m very much the poster model for my company, so I select what I wear carefully in order to catch certain people’s attention. If I have client meetings, I try to match the frames with what I think will work best. It is still my taste, but I will adapt it. For example, if it was a meeting in Italy, I would wear a design-led pair made from a cool metallic material, but in Africa, I would wear a different pair, probably gold. Details: visit