Leeds start-up designs revolutionary glasses as founder vows to take on the industry heavyweights

The founder of an eyewear company based in Leeds has vowed to take on the industry heavyweights as she launches a revolutionary range of glasses.

Charlotte Dickinson has a strong prescription and struggled to find frames which would fit her thick lenses from the usual options.

She has now launched 'Minus Eyewear' hoping to change the market and solve the problem of "short sighted design bias".

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Brand founder Charlotte, who has a degree in Marketing and travelled the world during the Covid pandemic, came up with the idea when she was fed up of the limited choice of frames, despite there being thousands on the market to choose from.

“If you’re really shortsighted, you’ve probably always been told to buy narrow frames with thick sides", Charlotte explained.

"This is particularly problematic if you’re male, as they will be a really bad fit.

"For these wearers who are more reliant on their glasses, it’s time we had a more inclusive approach and create glasses they actually want to wear, not that they’re stuck with.’’

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The launch collection, called ‘Power’ recreates classic styles, and incorporates the best lens shape and width which play a role in how thick the lenses will end up being.

Having previously worked in web and marketing for 13 years in creative agencies, Charlotte took a career break in late 2020-2021 and decided to do some travelling which is where she came up with the idea to bring out a collection herself.

"When I set out, I started researching how many people actually have high prescriptions" she said.

"The impression my optician had always given me is that I'm a super rare creature, and it's mainly because of genetics.

"But as it turns out, this is not strictly true.

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"High myopia (short-sightedness) is actually a huge global health and economic concern, which some are calling an epidemic (backed up by reports from The WHO).

"So the problems go way beyond having a limited choice of frames that work with thicker lenses.

"So many glasses wearers have reached out to me explaining how they're glad someone is finally representing them and trying to solve this issue. Wearing something on your face every day that you're self conscious about can really effect your confidence.

"Shopping for glasses should be fun, not something that turns into a nightmare and that's what we want to change."

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In addition, Charlotte said she has been thinking about lens placement in the frame and covering lens thickness at the sides during the design process.

As well as being on a mission to be the most inclusive eyewear brand, Minus also want to bring attention to growing levels of eyesight deterioration around the globe which is on track to becoming a huge economic and social health problem.

The World Health Organisation has actually previously estimated that by 2050, 10 per cent of the population will have severe myopia, which they class as over -5 diopters.

Charlotte added: "For this group, they are told at the optician to buy narrow frames (petite), with thick sides.

"That’s because the bigger the lens, the thicker they get.

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"This is particularly problematic if you don’t have a small head, as they will be a really bad fit.

"Despite there being thousands of frame designs on the market, there are none that specifically consider lens thickness, weight, width and shape of high prescriptions.

“High prescription glasses wearers are often stuck with a style they don’t want. Making the already self-conscious wearer, more self-conscious.

"I think this gap has existed because your eye prescription is a type of size you can’t see.”

Minus Eyewear launched online from their Leeds base in June.

Their first collection focuses on high minus prescriptions, but they also hope to adapt the range for Asian fit and beyond in the future.