Italy's talented artisans may have generations of experience in crafting luxury eyewear (along with everything from footwear to architecture to pizza) — but you don't have to jump on a jet to Europe to get completely customized spectacles. All it takes is a visit to the website or Culver City studio of fashionable frames maker Dom Vetro.
Specializing in vintage-inspired sunglasses and opticals, the hand-crafted brand offers ready-to-wear and custom eyewear made completely in Los Angeles. Expect classic unisex silhouettes like DV's original Lupetto, the '60s-inspired M01, the aviator-style F36, the bold Primo (which is also available with clip-on lenses), and the square-shaped Pietro, among others, all of which are made from acetate and polarized glass lenses imported from Italy. Those who opt for the custom-made route can select everything from the front and temple color (including matte black, tortoise, quartz, and ivory) to polarized or regular lenses and even monogram engraving.
While the L.A.-based startup has crafted stylish pairs for Alec Baldwin and his wife, Hilaria Baldwin, as well as pro football player Terrell Owens and model Maye Musk (yep, mother of Elon), you don't need the pocketbook of a celebrity to afford Dom Vetro's bespoke eyewear. The direct-to-consumer brand's ready-to-wear sun and optical frames range from $295 to $375, while personalized options start at just $325.
Custom-made styles will take about a week to make, and you can also swing by Dom Vetro's studio to get personally fitted by Bezamat himself. The designer will even match them to your Lambo, if that's your thing. (When we stopped by the shop, he took one glance at our smaller-than-average head and determined the exact size of frame we needed right down to the millimeter.)
The artisan brand was founded in 2013 by Ashley Bezamat, whose story goes like this (in a nutshell): Raised between Los Angeles and Paris, the former child actor earned his economics degree from Columbia and his MBA at Stanford, then went on to work in the startup world and founded a medical device company (among other ventures) along the way. (That company, Lumineyes, introduced "the world's first non-invasive laser for eye color change.")
After living the whirlwind startup life in NYC, Bezamat decided to live la vita lenta in Veneto, Italy, where an encounter with an expert glasses maker inspired him to apprentice under the eyewear masters. Ever the enthusiastic entrepreneur, he decided to bring his entire studio — yup, including all of the original machinery he salvaged in Italy — and the centuries-old knowledge he learned back to his hometown.
We visited Dom Vetro several months back at its cool workshop, located not far from fashionable lifestyle center Platform and creative corridor Hayden Tract. There, Bezamat walked us through the entire process, from the CNC machine that cuts and carves each style to the wood chip-filled tumbler that polishes every frame to the last stop on the assembly line where the final products are inspected and packed for shipping.
As Bezamat discovered during his Veneto days, it's a rare sight to see exactly how your stylish spectacles are created, much less shake the hands of the artisan who made them. Made-in-L.A. enthusiasts will be proud to protect their peepers in Dom Vetro, which also happens to be the only vertically-integrated eyewear factory in the City of Angels and one of the very few located on U.S soil. (Those all-American Ray-Bans? They're made in China by Milan-based eyewear conglomerate Luxottica, which also produces for Chanel, Gucci, Prada, and many other European luxury fashion houses, according to the Alliance for American Manufacturing.)
Want your own handmade-in-L.A. frames? Shop Dom Vetro online here and customize your own pair here. Satisfied customers who are feeling particularly inspired by their luxe specs will also be happy to know that L.A.'s own maestro of eyewear just happens to be hiring, too.