Having just celebrated their 10th anniversary in Gastown (and 15th overall), Nada Vuksic, owner of Bruce Eyewear, has been there and seen that. Her twin shops are home to a wide assortment of striking, chic and occasionally rare frames, but the brand wasn’t always a stand-alone optical store.
When Bruce opened on July 1, 2000, the Alberni Street lifestyle department store offered 7,500 square feet of apparel, housewares, art, CD’s and even a café. It won awards and wowed downtown shoppers, but it was the intimate eyewear ‘shop-within-the-shop’ that gained traction.
“The store on the whole was ahead of its time for sure,” explained Nada Vuksic, owner of Bruce Eyewear, likening it to the ultra hip, Dover Street Market in London.
Nada had worked part-time in the optical department, but eyewear quickly became a passion as she found it offered the perfect blend of science and fashion. When the store eventually closed, Nada relocated to Abbott Street in Gastown as Bruce Eyewear.
“We were here before Gastown was cool, although to those of us who grew up here, it was always pretty cool….” she laughs. “Vancouver has water on three sides, so I could see the potential. It was also more affordable.”
Nada felt the neighbourhood was ready for a comeback and had a love for the history and architecture that if offered, but admits that it wasn’t smooth sailing from the start.
“The first time I showed my parents the space, they were horrified. Now, there is the best vibe on the street and evenings down here are super lively.”
Bruce Eyewear is well known for frames that offer the latest technology in lenses and a unique aesthetic that challenges clients to see themselves in new ways. Nada and her team are on hand to offer their knowledge and expertise in choosing something that speaks to personal style more than today’s trends.
“Always come with an open mind and let us surprise you,” she recommends. “As individuals, we sometimes want what doesn’t work for us, but my team are masters when it comes to choosing frames and sunnies that fit a person and their lifestyle.”
This summer, Bruce will welcome an exclusive new line that makes some bold changes to frame design. The Soupcan Colllection from Pasadena’s Tavat Eyewear, was conceived during a visit to an Arizona airplane hangar. Designer, Norman Schureman, noticed an old poster from the 1930’s on the wall that featured a group of crop dusters who got together on the weekend to perform airshows. Seeing their crude goggles, Norm imagined they were cut out of soup cans – and just like that, an idea was born.
The Soupcan frames are handmade in Italy and Nada already has a waiting list for the first pairs.
That’s the thing about eyeglasses, you never know what might be next. Trends in the optical world aren’t the same as what we see in fashion, and that leaves the door wide open. For Nada, the options are endless.
“Unlike skinny jeans, glasses always fit, right?”
And were there any last words from Nada Vuksic on the 10th / 15th anniversary…you bet.
“A big thank you to our fellow merchants – because we all look out for each other, our fabtastic clients, and to my amazing family – biological and adopted – you know who you are!”