Face it. On a 90-something degree day, there's only so much trying on of vintage clothes that you can force yourself into at an outdoors market. Which is half of the reason why we were so delighted to install ourselves at Extinct Optics' table over at the Hester Street Fair, where we casually slipped on pairs of sunglasses and eyeglass frames for 45 minutes. The other half of our delight comes from the fact that owner Maxwell Stainback's stock is, simply put, incredible—abundant with vintage specs from labels like Yves Saint Laurent, Ray-Ban, Pierre Cardin, Versace (including an ultra-exclusive pair sported by Lady Gaga), and more.
Stainback is close-lipped about his sources—ask him and he'll tell you, "I have a time machine"—which is almost believable considering the double bonus of his goods' pristine condition, and their awesomely low prices, starting at $50 for glasses frames and $80 for sunglasses. What he has revealed is that the sunnies and eyeglasses, some of which date as far back as the 40's, are deadstock vintage, meaning they were sitting in warehouses for years without being sold or worn.
Thankfully these Extinct species are experiencing a second life.