Johnny Fly’s Deluxe Eyewear Framed By Tangible Experiences

The market for luxe eyewear is here to stay, but perhaps under a different lens. Many makers of quality sunglasses are quick to pivot like the rolling generators of fashion design. Other names, like Johnny Fly, the Charlotte-based optical weaver, choose to ride the rhythm of their own waves, spooling unique albeit classically compelling shapes that endure no matter what’s hot or cold. Officially launched in 2012, Johnny Fly has quickly cemented its place among the greats, redefining the essence of self-expression while staying true to old gold. Peak-performance eyewear, be it prescription or fashion-based, remains our best co-pilot on big adventures, and Johnny Fly continues to route our most vivid experiences to places we’ve only seen in picture books. 

Renowned for their timeless swagger, Johnny Fly excels at taking familiar forms and silhouettes and treating them with a distinctly modern and revamped persona, much like their Splinter model, which offers a classic shape with a gussied up attitude. The mechanics of Johnny Fly eyewear deal heavily in fine materials like layered wood and Italian acetate framing, placing the company at the crossroads of ornate utility. Their designs are sourced from extensive research on market trends and crowdsourced feedback from their clientele, notably within their retail spaces. As a result, Johnny Fly retains a highly personal experience while exuding international zest, balancing a homegrown delivery with cosmopolitan flare. Based in Charlotte, the company opened their flagship store in 2017 to pivotal success, effectively changing the way the brand interacts with its consumers and builds its catalog. By opening up a retail space, which operates more like a studio or a gallery, the Johnny Fly team can find out what customers want to see in tomorrow’s eyewear and allow them to feel the quality first-hand. Their flagship store is tucked away in Charlotte’s NoDa neighborhood, with a second location just steps away from Lake Norman in Cornelius. 

Johnny Fly prides themselves as a tech-driven eyewear brand, equally focused on sharp style that supports the latest and greatest innovations. Currently, that means nylon for lensing. The brand’s most recent collection of 2022, named the “Cosmic Collection”, incorporates nylon into the design of four celestial frames that carry a strong gravitational pull. Polarized nylon is a unique material when applied to sunglasses, as nylon is a lighter alternative to conventional models. Because of this, nylon is more sustainable and reduces a carbon footprint, sewing clean design into its existing flexible, BPA-free make up. The “Cosmic Collection” also demonstrates their use of the Italian acetate, which is a much stronger material for framing.

In addition to smart opticals, Johnny Fly also dabbles in durable leather goods, including wallets, duffle bags, and computer sleeves. The Studio Camera Bag, for instance, was designed with photographers in mind, built with waterproof Moroccan leather and a unique SD card storage space. The camera bag is ideal for studio photographers on the fly, capturing the next big moment with ease and sophistication. At its core, Johnny Fly is a lifestyle rich with adventure, inspiring all of us to take a chance with our compass and see the world up close. Of course, a stellar pair of sunnies can make these journal entries that much clearer.

The brand’s Charlotte habitat has also sculpted a unique identity for Johnny Fly. Known for its hyperactive business and finance quarters, Charlotte is an ideal nesting ground for a label like Johnny Fly, which exudes a refined sense of freedom that works well for both professional and personal circles. Optical accessory, and on a different scale, prescription lenses, has always found a home with business markets as another level of authority and necessity. What often gets overlooked, however, is the stylish albeit functionality of the frame, as many eyewear companies either push one or the other. It’s difficult to source a reliable piece of eyewear that’s practical but malleable for optimal creativity. Johnny Fly perfects this union by supplying a suite of designs that are just as appropriate for office attire as they are for a weekend on the beach. The frames are colorful, but not obnoxious. The shapes are sophisticated, but not static. Charlotte’s professional crowd is well served with Johnny Fly’s boutique experience, but surprisingly, these vision experts are more in line with the city’s artist communities and maker’s markets. The team routinely hosts a blowout celebration for their anniversaries, outsourcing local bands and musicians along with other creatives to foster a supportive network of artisans that speak to their brand. Charlotte may be a distinguished aficionado in finance, but the creative swirl is alive and flourishing with names like Johnny Fly.

The company has covered quite a bit of ground since their founding in 2012, but it’s clear that the fire is just getting started. Johnny Fly is at once chic, couture, and all too familiar, having worked with select designers during New York Fashion Week and even collaborations with Coca-Cola. It’s where classic taste meets bubbling creativity, the fizz of a cool drink enjoyed on a foreign sand dune. On your next adventure, lead with your heart and let your lens do all the talking. 

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