Black Eyewear is the creation of optician and life long jazz devotee, Robert Roope. Robert Roope will never forget the night he met Count Basie. It was the late '60s and Roope was living in Copenhagen. He was a regular at the world renowned jazz club Jazzhus Montmartre. "I would wait until about 2am, by which time everyone was drunk enough not to mind me playing the piano," remembers Roope. This particular night, someone sat down beside him and joined in the piano playing. Roope was about to turn round and ask them to stop when he saw that it was the iconic jazz bandleader. Roope got up to go, but Basie motioned him to stay, and they played a duet.
"That was one of the most amazing nights of my life," says Roope. It's also part of the reason why Roope decided to dedicate the various designs in his Black Eyewear range of glasses and sunglasses to jazz musicians — as well as Basie, there are frames dedicated to Thelonious Monk, Chet Baker and John Coltrane. "It was my way of paying tribute to the music that has given me so much joy over the years," says Roope.
Having spent 50 years working as an optician, Robert moved into designing his own eyewear in 2006. His passion for eyewear design was born out of a wish to rescue the bold, iconic eyewear styles of the 50s and put modern design back on the map. With collaborations with jewellery designer Scott Wilson, clothing label Solace London, designer Nicomede Talavera and Selfridges under his belt, Roope's Black Eyewear is synonymous with a bold new mood in eyewear design.