It seemed relatively simple enough. I was completely new to this gig as Senior Editor for Vision Monday tasked with the total responsibility of creating a new magazine called SPEX focusing on the fashion of eyewear. Although I had no specific focus on eyewear in my previous publishing career at W and WWD, my background as an art director, writer and editor gave me confidence as I began structuring my first photo shoot for SPEX.

Armed with a list of some key eyewear vendor sources and supplemented by my own limited experience with such products (I exclusively used Christian Roth’s Optical Affairs Eyewear in numerous W shoots and loved the amazing l.a.Eyeworks ads from Andy Warhol’s Interview Magazine, where I occasionally wrote features), I built a photo session using a photographer I had worked with at WWD.

Armed with 10 shots of eyewear on face, I proudly presented the photos to the publisher of Vision Monday and Editorial Director Marge Axelrad. They loved the results. And then they asked when they could see the photos of… “the regular eyewear.”

What? “You know… the Rx frames. Not just the sunglasses.”


With two full weeks and a full day of a completed photo shoot as the Senior Editor in charge of SPEX, I failed to realize that the magazine wasn’t just a sunglasses publication!

In a panic but ever deft, I noted that those photos would be ready in a day or so. I quickly scrambled together another shoot with the same photographer and another model. I frantically called in some “regular” eyewear and managed to pull together another eight shots for an extended version of what would be the first photo feature under my charge for Jobson’s SPEX magazine.

I came up with a fresh title since my original headline for the feature was exclusively focused on sunglasses.

That title stored away all of these years was… SUNsational. I’ve been tempted to use it throughout these years of doing a special sunwear issue every year here in 20/20. I held off many times since I really felt there might need to be a special occasion, befitting the high regard I feel for sunglasses and the incredible importance I have always felt the particular consumer-friendly category has in our cherished optical arena.

The time is right. This issue is SUNsational. YOU are SUNsational. Embrace your SUN-SPEX. Make the ultimate accessory of shades an integral part of everything you do. Turn that “gulp” and “gasp” I felt all those years ago into an affirmation that you own our Sun.

James J. Spina
[email protected]