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I always love stumbling across a hidden treasure - Jim Spencer is one such gem. Working primarily from a little studio in the attic of his Elwood home, Jim has been sourcing and restoring genuine vintage spectacle frames for more than 10 years. Aside from selling his frames to loyal customers via retail stockists, Jim has also sourced era-specific vintage eyewear for a great number of film and TV productions (including The Pacific, directed by Steven Spielberg in Melbourne in 2007, and Paper Giants in 2010, starring Asher Keddie).
With a background in the textile and fashion industry, Jim has always had a keen sense of style. 'I started my career in the late 1960's and lived in London for several years in the early 1970's, where I was lucky enough to work at the iconic Biba fashion store as an assistant men’s wear buyer' Jim recalls. 'A wonderful experience in an era of changing styles and attitudes!'.
As with many micro businesses, Unique & Vintage Eyewear was born out of Jim's own needs. In 2001 he found himself on the hunt for new spectacles, but could not find anything he liked at mainstream optometrists. After scouring op shops and finding a few interesting frames, he chanced upon a retired optical wholesaler. 'I managed to buy all the stock he had, and then found a network of international vintage optical dealers via the internet… the idea was starting to evolve!' says Jim.
The business blossomed when Jim took a stall at the Chapel Street Bazaar in September 2001 - it was here he discovered a growing interest in vintage eyewear.
Jim's spectacles now are stocked at just two Melbourne retailers - Angelucci Twentieth Century in Fitzroy, and Five Boroughs in Brunswick. 'I do not have a website by choice…' he says! However, for specific requests and restoration work, Jim can be contacted direct on firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, he can be found at Angelucci in Fitzroy every Friday and Saturday between 10.30am and 5.00pm, for eyewear fitting and styling advice!