When it comes to eyewear, most consumers — if they don’t already have an eye prescription — are only looking for sunglasses. However, as trends of eye fatigue and eyestrain continue to increase with the use of technology devices and computer screens — and consequentially blue light blocking glasses — eyewear is beginning to make its way into mainstream fashion. However, for anyone who hasn’t gone to an optometrist before, shopping for the appropriate lenses can be a daunting process.
Luckily, Zak. is changing all of that. With a location on Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles, Zak. provides a comprehensive eye care and eyewear experience to its customers — regardless of whether they’ve traditionally needed a prescription or not.
Below, FashionUnited spoke with Zak.’s co-Founder, Kyly Zak Rabin to learn more about Zak., disrupting the idea of eye care and eyewear, and curating its own unique selection of eyewear — including its own styles.
Tell me about Zak. and why you decided to open it.
Zak. came about during a father/daughter catch-up dinner. My dad is an optometrist (in practice for over 35 years) and my background is in the start-up world. Over dinner, we started talking about frustrations within the optical industry and ultimately brainstormed what is now Zak. – a 21st century approach to your eyes.
We are streamlining and modernizing the typically clunky process to provide a seamless, one-stop shop for your eyes. Our ethos, design, culture, products and services are created to make taking care of your eyes easier for those with prescription needs while encouraging all people to consider their eyes.
Zak. currently offers the following:
Comprehensive Eye Care
Even if one has 20/20 vision, an exam is a necessary commitment to health that everyone should make. In addition to eye disease, Eye exams can uncover hidden health issues like high blood pressure, diabetes and neurological conditions that might not present symptoms. Our team of optometrists provides comprehensive eye health evaluations, digital retinal imaging, glaucoma and cataract screenings in addition to eyeglass and contact lens prescriptions. Not all eye exams are created equally – comprehensive care is key.
Our state of the art onsite lab allows customers to go behind the scenes to watch as their glasses come to life. We offer same-day service for in-store orders of many prescriptions and one can even personalize lenses with customized tints, mirrored lenses and Blue Anti-Reflective Coating that protects our eyes from harmful blue light emitting from our tech devices.
Sidestepping the traditionally complicated and inconvenient multi-step world of lens wear, customers can replenish contact lens prescriptions directly through our website with prices matched to 1800 contacts. You even have the option to auto-renew to avoid the panic of running out of lenses.
Zak. frames change the way you shop for glasses. 6 shapes, two weights, 3 colors. The Really Round, The Round, The Square, The Rectangle, The Cat, and The Pilot are timeless high quality, affordable unisex frames that start at $125 including your prescription and are designed from over three decades of industry data and experience.
We offer a thoughtful edit of exquisitely-crafted designer frames from select industry mainstays and emerging labels, which assists our customers in understanding the available range of eyewear functions and value of differentiated product under one roof.
And as seamless as it can get: theoretically, a Zak. patient can get her eyes examined at 11am, get fit with contact lenses, and leave with glasses made by 12pm (all while sipping on our freshly made carrot juice).
Why do you feel it's important to bridge this gap and create a comprehensive destination?
We all have eyes — yet they typically do not get much attention. And those obligated to acknowledge them because of prescription needs are met with an antiquated optometric model that doesn’t effectively marry medical, retail, and the modern consumer.
When it comes to our health, we typically value an annual physical and dental check. The eye exam is considered insignificant unless vision is compromised. People get their eyes examined if they can’t see, but there are so many other reasons to invest in eye health from headaches and eyestrain to glare and light sensitivity. Not to mention the hours we’re spending in front of our tech devices, which can cause eye fatigue and irregular sleep patterns.
A commitment to your well-being should include your eyes. We’ve re-examined eye care to inspire awareness and offer the products and services to do it better.
You carry your own eyewear designs as well as other brands — what was the reasoning behind this?
Optical stores typically carry affordable or luxury products, catering to only one type of shopping experience. Zak. offers both to educate and accommodate the varying needs and tastes of today’s consumers. We carry a curated selection of extremely unique lines alongside our Zak. frames so that we are holistically a one-stop shop.
How do you feel like your store is opening up the world of eyewear to your audience?
Our concept, aesthetic and brand values create a physical and digital destination that makes people want to take care of their eyes while providing an uncomplicated shopping experience. Zak. frames make it simple – 6 shapes, 2 weights, 3 colors while our services elevate the entire experience, making the process more seamless and palatable for everyone.
Can you tell us why you decided to open up on Fairfax, among streetwear labels and restaurants?
Zak. is located on Fairfax Avenue in West Hollywood, a nice mid-point between the sprawling “coasts” of LA. The location was a significant catalyst in starting the business as quickly as we did as it’s positioned on an iconic stretch of Fairfax, which is an advantageous mix of community, retail, restaurants + streetwear enthusiasts. Legendary Canter’s Deli (founded in 1931) is directly across the street, Supreme is up the block, Jon + Vinny’s (arguably LA’s most popular restaurant) is our neighbor, and Golf (Tyler the Creator’s clothing company) is just a few stores down. Surrounding the block are residential homes. Thanks to this good company, there is a volume of foot traffic that is extremely uncommon in Los Angeles.
Fairfax is the perfect collision of every age, belief, and story in LA. We’re very proud to be here.
Do you have any plans to expand, or open up more locations in Los Angeles or anywhere else?
We’re using our first location and its varying service and product offerings as a means to collect data that will illuminate the best combination of online and brick/mortar expansion. We’d love to have select Zak. locations around the country and connect with, educate, provide products and services digitally to encourage people to consider their eyes and provide the best way to do so.
Images: Courtesy of Zak.