The Singapore eyewear label giving luxury brands a run for their money

The framework

Text: Jolene Khor

O+ has been around for the better part of the last three decades. But you probably didn't know that

Ok, maybe that's not entirely accurate. Singaporean eyewear label O+ was born last year and it didn't waste time before moving into its new home — a sleek, gold-tinged boutique bathing in light at OUE Downtown Gallery — a few months later.

The man behind it however, has been in the spectacle business since the '80s. His name, David Hwang. It was during his practise of the age-old trade within the humble heartlands when the following thought plagued his mind: Why are luxury frames so expensive?

With that, Hwang, who had no prior training as a designer, began putting pencil to paper. One sketch became two; sketches turned to material sourcing and manufacturing. Fast forward to a few years later — Hwang was designing and supplying as many as 1,000 eyewear designs per year for local and international eyewear brands.

The Finson frame, an O+ original

As his family grew, so did his professional pursuit. O+ is just that. Founded alongside sons Silas and Shamus and operated by wife Brenice Ong, the first mono-brand eyewear boutique in Singapore underscores the Hwang expertise by way of its in-house quality frames, afforded at democratic price points. Minimalist in its designs but maximalist in its craftsmanship, every piece of O+ (including frames, sunglasses and tinted clip-ons) is finished by hand, a point Hwang was quick to highlight.

"At O+, we know every machine by name, down to its temperaments, bolt and turns. Like kneading dough, our hands have felt the process of making an eyewear from scratch, resulting in unparalleled quality derived from genuine experience," said Hwang, who named the brand O+ to represent universality — a quality of the O+ blood type, poignantly shared among all the members of the Hwang nuclear family.

Stylistically, O+'s reticense from the bells and whistles of fashion eyewear trends is part of its hallmark; it relies on classic silhouettes as its bedrock, foresaking flighty trends to focus instead on the technicalities of making something that looks — and is — ageless. It may not be vogue, but it's certainly fastidious. And in a way, there's nothing more fashion than that.

O+ is located at OUE Downtown Gallery #01-07.


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