Hello everyone, and welcome to another Singaporean review! On this shiok Sunday, I’m chronicling my experience at local eyewear label Visual Mass, as well as reviewing the pair of glasses that I got from them!
Known for offering trendy and affordable spectacles, Visual Mass is a homegrown label that has managed to grow from strength to strength by consistently appealing to the younger audience with their strong sense of style. Let’s see how my experience at Visual Mass went!
Visual Mass – the Brand
According to the brand, “Visual Mass was founded on the belief that design-conscious eyewear need not cost an arm and a leg. Good-looking and good quality glasses can go hand in hand with a good price.”
I first got to know about Visual Mass due to a feature that Vulcan Post did on them. For those who are interested, you can read the Vulcan Post article here. I found the brand story – a story of young entrepreneurs looking to disrupt an industry – intriguing, and thus reached out to them for this article.
Without further ado, let’s delve into the review!
Visual Mass – the Experience
Visual Mass’ cozy showroom is located at the basement of Orchard Gateway.
With neon lights and concrete walls, Visual Mass’ showroom has a grungy, edgy feel. My first impression of it was that it was cosy – the store is relatively small, and it does get a tad crowded once there are multiple customers in the shop. If you’re used to the bright, spacious stores of say, Owndays, this might throw you off a little.
While Visual Mass does have its own web-store, I nevertheless decided to drop by its physical showroom to try on some glasses. In my opinion, one needs to try on the glasses before purchase – you must see if it fits your face. A pair of spectacles may look great in isolation, but due to the shape/colour, it may not be the right fit for your face. The only way to combat this issue is to go down to the shop and physically try multiple pairs of glasses on until you find the right one.
Seeing that I was a tad overwhelmed by the sheer amount of different designs on display, Jerial (co-founder of Visual Mass) stepped in to recommend me some frames. In particular, he pointed out (literally) some of the more popular designs that are in vogue.
Jerial first recommended me to try their pair of clear crystal spectacles, which he says has been quite popular lately. Apparently, “clear glass” (as they are called in the eyewear industry) are booming in popularity, donned by many K-pop idols and influencers. However, I felt that it didn’t fit my style – it felt too “oppa”, for a lack of a better word. Perhaps the right glasses for a street dancer, but not me.
Sensing that my tastes lean towards the more conservative side, Jerial suggested that I try a pair of matte brown frame, which has been quite popular amongst their adult male clientele. I actually quite liked it as it fits my look, and looks great with a suit. However, I also thought that it looked a tad generic – I could find a similar design at Owndays, for example (though probably at a higher price). I told Jerial that I would consider this, but also indicated my desire to try on some more designs.
After hearing that I wanted something that looked more unique, Jerial then showed me the Jasper (black graduation). It has a graduated design, and features rounded edges with a squared up design. Jerial described it as “business chic” – its monochrome colour scheme makes it appropriate with business wear, while the graduated colour design adds a touch of trendiness and style that is at home with a casual shirt and jeans as well. I loved it. In many ways, it was the perfect balance between the previous two frames that I tried. It felt right on my face, and I told Jerial that I knew this was the right frame for me.
After choosing the frame, it was time for my eye examination! All customers at Visual Mass gets a free eye examination, which isn’t always the case at affordable eyewear shops (some charge for the examination). I don’t really have much to say here – if you have gotten an eye examination before, you would know how the process is like. I should highlight that the eye examination is done by a trained optometrist, so one should be in safe hands here.
With my degree determined, Visual Mass then informed me that my spectacles would be ready in 3 days. Now, that isn’t that long especially when compared to your regular neighbourhood spectacle shops, but if you need a pair of glasses in a hurry Visual Mass might not be the right place for you. Personally, I wasn’t in a hurry, so I was fine with the 3 days wait.
Visual Mass – Spectacles Review
I’ve been wearing the Jasper from Visual Mass for about a month now, and I must say that I’ve been liking it thus far!
Firstly, the Jasper feels solidly built and feels premium to the touch. Yes, it is made of plastic, but it’s sturdy. I’ve owned plastic frames from Owndays before, and I can genuinely say that the Jasper from Visual Mass feels better made. In any case, there’s also a 30 days exchange policy in case there are any defects with the frame.
I’m also impressed by the aesthetics of the Jasper frame. I love the graduation effect – I think it’s strikingly unique, a design that I’ve personally not seen from other eyewear labels. I really like how it is opaque at the top, translucent in the middle, and transparent at the bottom. Given that it’s eyewear, I found it interesting how the frame plays on the concept of light and optics.
As aforementioned, Visual Mass describes the Jasper as “business chic”, a description which I wholly agree with. I’ve worn it with a couple of suits/formalwear, and it always fits with the aesthetic (see photo above). I appreciate the nuance of the Jasper – its monochrome scheme renders it serious enough for business attire, yet the rounded edges and the graduated design gives the frame a trendy, chic vibe that makes it at home with T-shirt and jeans too. It is the perfect smart-casual spectacles that will be appropriate for almost all scenarios.
Overall, I really like the Jasper that I got from Visual Mass. As compared to the Syaf I got from Foptics, the Jasper is more rectangular, thus being more appropriate for formal occasions. In comparison to the Hendi I got from Oblique Eyewear, the Jasper is more rounded, therefore more at home with casual clothing. I really appreciated the versatility of the Jasper, and found myself reaching for it most of the time.
Conclusion – so Visual Mass “shiok” or not?
Yes, definitely so! Firstly, for a sub-$100 pair of spectacles, the Jasper is sturdy and feels well-constructed. Secondly, the black graduation of the Jasper looks striking and unique, but in a subtle manner. The rounded edges adds a great touch of casualness to an otherwise serious frame. Lastly, the Jasper – and all other frames from Visual Mass – comes with a 30 days return guarantee, so one can rest assured about their purchase.
For those who are interested, you can quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy 50% off all purchases from Visual Mass, both in-store and offline! This means that spectacles (frame + lenses) starts from just $47.50, while the Jasper would cost a mere $82.50. It is worth noting that all spectacles from Visual Mass come with multicoated lenses by default, which includes superhydrophobic, anti-reflective coating and scratch-resistant treatment as well as 100% UV protection. If you simply opt for the basic multicoated lenses, you will be perfectly fine. However, you can also upgrade to PC UV420 lenses for an additional $50 (u.p $100), which offers 80% blue light protection with no blueish/yellowish tint. Personally, I always opt for lenses that filter out blue light – I find my eyes tire quickly with the regular lenses.
If you are looking for affordable, trendy well-built spectacles, I highly recommend Visual Mass. Go and support a local eyewear brand, especially in this time of crisis!
View Visual Mass’ webstore here.
Visual Mass Location:
277 Orchard Road, Orchard Gateway, B2-30, 238858
Open Monday to Sunday, 1PM – 8PM.
P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wahsoshiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!
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P.S.S.S Shiok is a common word Singaporeans use to express admiration or approval. As of 2016, you can find the definition of the word in the Oxford English Dictionary.