If Clark Kent were in the optical business, his name would be Warby Parker. For every pair of vintage-inspired glasses purchased from the eyewear startup (as done by Ryan Gosling, Sophia Bush and Olivia Wilde), a pair is distributed to someone in need. So in partnership with Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures, Warby Parker has created a Man of Steel-inspired limited-edition capsule collection to evoke the dapper do-gooder in its most devout Superman fans.
“When we were approached about this, we got super excited because we all grew up on Superman, but also because Superman is the most iconic do-gooder and Clark Kent is the most iconic glasses-wearer.” co-founder and CEO Neil Blumenthal tells The Hollywood Reporter. “We all started talking about what was our favorite Superman figure. I remember on my shelf -- actually, my parents still haven’t changed the room that I grew up in -- I have this Superman Bugs Bunny. I don’t even know what it’s from, but it’s still there sitting on my shelf.”
Inspired by the upcoming Zack Snyder-directed adventure starring Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Kevin Costner and Diane Lane, Warby Parker will debut two frames called the Chamberlain and the Percey on May 21, available with the standard $95 price tag the brand charges for both prescription and nonprescription frames. One bold and one bookish, each features graphic pops of color on the temple arm, created with a manufacturing process that’s new to the brand. And in addition to its “buy one, give one” business model, fifteen dollars from each frame purchase will be donated to 826NYC, the Dave Eggers-founded nonprofit that provides creative writing and film classes to underserved youth.
“They’re teaching people how to tell stories, and how to leverage creativity -- we think there’s just a great multiplier effect when you’re doing that for children, and hopefully, empowering them as they go through their careers,” says Blumenthal. “As part of this collaboration, we wanted to work with a nonprofit that’s the best at empowering young people in how to tell stories.”
Blumenthal also hopes that other film studios and sponsors take notice of what could be a new kind of big-screen branding.
“We were waiting for the right partnership, the right collaboration that was really authentic to who we are,” he explains of joining forces with Man of Steel. “The collaboration between brands and film, they’ve gotten overly commercial. The big thing about filmmaking is the narrative and the storytelling. A lot of the partnerships that we see up there don’t make sense and don’t have a story behind them. We were approached more times than I can remember.”
In addition to an online reveal on a special website, NYC shoppers can expect a special digital shopping experience at Warby Parker’s brand new SoHo flagship, which boasts eighteen-foot ceilings and a projector in the middle of the store.
Blumenthal isn’t the only co-founder excited by the Man of Steel collaboration: Fellow co-founder and CEO Dave Gilboa, who discovered the Warby Parker name while thumbing through Jack Kerouac's unpublished journals at the New York Public Library, was commonly scolded for trying to imitate the superhero as a kid.
“Growing up in San Diego, [he saw] one of the earlier Superman with his parents,” says Blumenthal of Gilboa. “I guess they had to yell at him to stop jumping, thinking he could fly!”
Warby Parker’s limited-edition frames debut May 21, and Man of Steel soars into theaters June 14.