Pret-a-Reporter

Head to Outer Space Inside the Green Room at Warby Parker's New Melrose Store

Courtesy of Warby Parker

The optical brand pays homage to L.A.'s rich film history with its fourth store in the city.

Tucked away in a shady, foliage-covered corner of Melrose Avenue, Warby Parker's newest outpost has the quaint, hometown bookstore feel that has long been an integral component of the brand's DNA. But for its fourth location in the city, Warby Parker has parlayed its dedication to the theme of storytelling through literature to storytelling through film — an homage to Los Angeles' rich moviemaking history. 

The brand's signature custom bookshelves, which house more than 100 styles of optical and sunglass frames ($95-$195) as well as various book titles from independent publishers, are joined by a Green Room where shoppers can create mini 15-second videos in a social-media-friendly, shareable format. There are 12 different backdrops to choose from, ranging from an outer-space scene to an aquarium with a shark to a massive pizza. 

Like many brick-and-mortar stores daring to open their doors in 2017, the optical shop is taking an experiential approach to its newest outpost. "You keep hearing that brick-and-mortar stores are in trouble, that brands are closing stores, but it’s always been our view that shopping — particularly shopping for glasses, should be a fun, social experience," says Dave Gilboa, who founded the company with Neil Blumenthal, Andrew Hunt and Jeffrey Raider in 2010 as a trendy yet affordable direct-to-consumer alternative to pricey designer frames. "We want to give people a reason to come into the store."

The 8-by-13 foot Green Room has plenty of space for a gang of three to five people (perhaps a group of friends taking a post-brunch stroll along Melrose?) to pop in and create their own mini production. Props, including a green stool and a green cape, as well as frames with lenses covered in green felt, offer the opportunity for customers to create masterpieces that easily eclipse the typical "trying on glasses" selfies commonly shared among friends.

In addition to the Green Room, the cozy space also features a massive wall mural by Los Angeles-based collage artist Alia Penner, which depicts various vintage Hollywood imagery, including 1950s-style theaters and L.A-area highways. A wall of clapper boards behind the "Reference Desk" checkout counter, as well as a rotating movie marquee on the storefront, also add a quirky, cinema-inspired touch.

"In contrast to optical shop where glasses are behind lock and key, we wanted our shopping experience to be fun," notes Gilboa. "We wanted to give people the opportunity to be creative."

The store is set to open Saturday.

8618 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90069

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