This article has been written with the support of V&A Dundee. Find out more.
My V&A Dundee: Charlotte Brimner on her favourite designed object
- David Pollock
- 8 June 2018
The Angus-raised musician chats Spex Pistols ahead of V&A Dundee's opening
'I got my glasses from an independent boutique in Dundee called Spex Pistols. I'd say the main print is a black and white zebra pattern with dashes of colour in it, and they're all colours that I like: pink and yellow and baby blue. My style is about wearing bright, colourful, patterned things, and it was the pattern that attracted me to these at first. I like the little dashes of colour, so it's not too intense and it doesn't really clash with anything I wear. They're circular frames – I think the style is Carnaby – which tilt back on an angle, and they're older ones which have been restored, but I don't know exactly which year they were made.
'I started wearing glasses about nine years ago. Sometimes I wore contact lenses, but it's just easier to put on glasses than shove lenses in your eye. With the music side of things, it was a conscious decision I made to wear the glasses for press shots and gigs and stuff, because I hadn't really seen many other people doing that. I wasn't sure at first, but I think it worked in creating an image that people remembered: the glasses and hair in a bun have been my thing. I guess I wanted to show people that if you wear glasses or you have anything about your appearance that maybe you aren't so keen on, that you can embrace it. Sometimes you only see Photoshopped images of perfect people, and I just wanted to show a bit of realism.
'I was introduced to Spex Pistols when I played a charity event in Dundee a few years ago where they were auctioning off some glasses. I met Richard Cook, the owner, and he asked if I'd like to try some of his glasses; he saw I wore them, but the ones I used to have were a bit plain. I went to the store and they had so many styles and colours of vintage glasses, which is what they're about, restoring older glasses and giving them new life. I picked out these ones, although they're not necessarily the style I thought I would have gone for, because they're quite big and take up a lot of my face! It took a bit of adjusting to, wearing them all the time, but I loved them from the start.
'The shop is in the centre of Dundee, but you have to go down a little lane to find it. It's small but there's so much in it, so many pairs of glasses and pieces of memorabilia as well. They make all the glasses there, which is cool, and you can have your glasses cases printed with your name and stuff like that. It's a really personal experience, and fun as well. It encourages people to enjoy wearing specs. I've got quite a few pairs now, I've got a sunglasses version of these ones because I love them so much, and variations in different colours.'