On Tuesday, North—the brand behind the recently unveiled Focals smart glasses—celebrated the official grand opening of its first U.S. retail location on Court Street in Brooklyn’s Cobble Hill neighborhood. The North Showroom opened its doors at 11 a.m. and began offering customers the first-ever retail experience entirely dedicated to the smart glasses market.
At the store, visitors can experience what its like to wear Focals, a custom-built smart glasses product that embeds a holographic display onto the lens in a way that only makes the information (or the appearance of technology) only visible to the wearer.
Beyond trying on the glasses for the effect, customers were also able to begin the fitting process for ordering their own pair of Focals. As the company detailed in a pre-briefing last month, the experience is highly customized to ensure that the wearer—who will be dropping close to $1,000 on a pair of these—has the best fit possible. The fitting process, which is available by appointment only, involves a 16 camera setup that works to create a 3D model of the user’s face. This ultimately helps North get the exact measurements they need, but it also allows the customer to get a unique perspective as to how the glasses will look on their face.
“Eyewear is incredibly personal. When you buy glasses you’re weighing a combination of fit and personal expression to find the perfect pair for you. That process is very much at odds with how consumer electronics are built and sold today,” Stephen Lake, co-founder and CEO of North, said in a statement at the time of the launch. “Others have tried and failed to create smart glasses people love because they built a computer to wear on your face and made them glasses as an afterthought. We did it the other way around. We designed Focals to be glasses first and invented new technology that we could conceal inside.”
The Brooklyn Showroom covers two stories and around 7,200 square feet. It was built in partnership with Envelope A+D, an award-winning architectural firm based in San Francisco. North said that, much like how its smart glasses bring together simple design-language with refined engineering, the Showroom experience and design is much the same. It “keeps the customer at the center and technology in the background.”
The first Focals Classic frame orders will begin to ship before the end of the year, while Round frames will start to ship in 2019. Additionally, the company said it plans to start taking prescription lens orders in early 2019.