For totally selfish and personal reasons... I love the photo feature in this issue. I’m sure you’re guessing I’m feeling so partial because it’s got a music edge, some of the guys are my friends and that I’m a nut for black and white photography.

Well yeah, that all figures in as part of my hyper-connection but perhaps the most prominent reason is I’m intensely committed to the demographic category of men’s eyewear and its potential in optical. I’m equally driven to show featured eyewear on REAL people.

Back-story: In 1996 I was working at Vision Monday, in charge of a new lifestyle eyewear mag called SPEX. I’d secured the go-ahead to do a whole issue on men’s eyewear but was stunted by the slick look male models were giving to the frames. So the pretty boys were ditched and a crew of my rock band buddies did the posing in and around Washington Square in the heart of Greenwich Village.

That issue of SPEX was special for me. It was the first time ever that once and future (meaning now) 20/20 publisher Marc Ferrara popped his head into my VM office, noting it might be cool to someday have HIS publication tackle a men’s rock ‘n’ roll issue. Better late (14 years!) than never and ever remembering the theme there are definitive connections between that SPEX and this 20/20. Featured musician Ed Rogers was in SPEX and is here. A singer by the name of Ed Skuller was in SPEX. His son Jack is here. And singer/songwriter Ward White often musically partners with one-time Psychedelic Fur Joe McGinty, prominent in that SPEX.

So there’s a tune of historical perspective to my passion for this issue, this men’s eyewear feature and, in fact, eyewear in general. Fact is, guys basically love their glasses and they are ready for you to up their vision quest AND their (personal style) face value. And that mission is always music to my ears.

Semi-related sidestep: Attending the Accessories Council ACE Awards is a yearly highlight for me and this year one of my fave “eyewear” guys, Marchon’s Al Berg, was honored for his efforts to make eyewear the ultimate accessory. Good going Al. Join this 20/20 band in singing the praises of not just men’s but ALL specs.

James J. Spina