When shopping for sunglasses can be out of this world.
The Rocket Eyewear Company is out of this world.
Coming from a bona fide fan of sunglasses, it’s saying a lot, because while they’re one of my favourite accessories, I can also be jaded about them these days. It might have been that I’d gone overboard in the past. Back then, I almost always made it a point to browse in any sunglasses boutique I happen to pass by, and when I was travelling a lot, I was also fond of buying at least a pair, or two, in every country or city I visited. While people collect fridge magnets or souvenir mugs, I shopped for sunglasses.
I love classic shapes, trendy a la minute statement pieces, even vintage pairs. I also lose them quite often. Some I misplace and find after a few years in some hidden corner of a cabinet or drawer, or little-used handbag; some I’ve regretfully left behind in taxis, airports, shops and rest rooms: Much like the inspiration for the Rocket Eyewear Company to my surprise, the beloved, well-travelled and very chic mother of Shing and Ming, siblings 12 years apart, founders of this curious, yet sensible, yet altogether refreshing online store for just one shape and style of sunglasses – the P3 shape, a classic, round frame originally designed for U.S. soldiers during WWII and worn by 1950s movie stars like Grace Kelly, Gregory Peck and James Dean.
The story behind Rocket’s one-shape-one-style concept goes that whenever Shing’s and Ming’s mum lost a pair (and she often did), she would buy a new pair of P3s, “so as a gift for Mum, we re-designed her signature P3s with a travel-inspired twist and named them after her initials: MTO. She liked them so much she wanted 2. So we made more,” explains the effervescent Ming.
And so the private collection of 2 MTO-modified P3s soon grew, as the siblings developed 24 more styles in the current online collection that can be bought at the Rocket Eyewear Company e-shop. Each of the P3s in store comes in varying combinations of frame and arm materials and colours, from tortoise, mother-of-pearl, crystal to acetate. Though essentially P3 in shape and form, each permutation is different and individually exquisite.
Each style further comes in 2 fittings – Standard Fit or Raised Fit (which is generally deemed better suited for Asian faces), and in 3 frame sizes – Original (the largest), Tailored or Small. They also have a fairly fail-safe sizing chart (for e-shopping sceptics), a 30-day return and exchange policy, and a comprehensive list of FAQs.
Prescription P3s are possible at Rocket – simply email your latest prescription to them; all P3 lenses are also polarized, meaning they cut glare and are made of CR-39, a lightweight plastic polymer that offers excellent optical clarity. In addition, all their lenses comply with sunglasses safety standards established by the US, Europe and Australia/New Zealand.
All this dovetails to the simple fact that shopping on Rocket is an intuitive, fuss-free, clear and precise experience.
The P3 designs are remarkably and tastefully designed for different outfits, moods and occasions, so even though it’s just one design, it’s pretty hard to stop at 1. I know because it took me all of 5 minutes to buy my first pair. And that’s impressive even for me. I managed to figure out the fit and size I want and need easily, and should it not fit, I have 30 days to return and exchange it. Just perfect. For such well-made sunglasses, they’re priced competitively at under $200 a pair.
To those who might still think, ‘really, how can one look work for everyone?’ comes Ming’s honest rationale:
“The decision to focus on making just our mum’s sunglasses—apart from the fact that it’s our favourite shape, and it looks good on many different faces, male and female, young and old—stems from our belief in the value of specialisation, where you do just one thing, and you do it really well.
“It’s like if I wanted chicken rice, I’d go to the hawker stall where the founder has been making chicken rice for over 30 years—not the multi-cuisine restaurant that offers chicken rice, char kway teow and burgers in one menu. It’s why I always feel regret when I enter a Japanese restaurant that also serves kimchi.”
“Focusing on just one shape may not be the smartest business decision—a savvy business person would create as many shapes as possible to attract the widest customer base—but it enables us to develop mastery over a certain domain and gives potential customers a clear idea of who we are, what we do and why we do it.”
All images courtesy of Rocket Eyewear, artwork by Curatedition. All rights reserved.