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November 12, 2015

A very independent Christmas: The Pinhole Effect

Avoid waste this Christmas and use our guide to the best independent stores to seek out the gifts that last longer than a single season.

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  • Words: Joshua Fanning
  • Pictures: Tessa Milford-Behn

As the spirit of the commercial retail season descends upon Adelaide, we here at CityMag are feeling flummoxed.

Every year we see the decorations come out earlier and decry the big brands’ push to start pinching our pennies sooner than the previous year.

But before “Christmas in July” actually become Christmas in July we thought we’d create a handy shopping guide to put the consideration back into Christmas and help you navigate your way to a more satisfying result on December 25.

Opened in January 2014, The Pinhole Effect is a specialty eyewear store and optometrist in Adelaide Arcade that takes spectacles seriously.

Owned and operated by Tien Trinh, The Pinhole Effect will test your eyes, create your prescription and match you with the ideal set of second eyes.

Where they differ from a regular optometrist or sunglasses shop is in the font of optical knowledge that is Joe DelBono, The Pinhole Effect’s operations manager and, in our opinion – glorious eyewear nerd with some 17 years experience in the industry.

Joe makes a huge difference to the experience of shopping as he takes you from your limited knowledge of frames and brands and expands your world to take in as much of the eyewear universe as you’re willing to absorb.

“Smash the rules,” says Joe referring to the mainstream thoughts around what shape frames and faces work together.

“People come in here who want cat-eye-shape glasses but have been told they won’t suit their face according to their measurements” says Joe.

The Pinhole Effect specialises in a range of brands and a more bespoke approach to fitting eyewear that really allows any face to wear whatever frames they want.

“It’s all about size, proportion and fit,” says Joe continuing, “and we carry a lot of different brands that suit different faces… but every face is different really.”

Just in last week – Paulino Spectacles – is a brand Joe is particularly enamoured with.

“Hand-made in Portugal by a family since the 1930s,” says Joe relishing in the story behind the brand.

He goes on to recount how the eyewear company was started by the Mayor of a small town and that, at that time, they were more a piece of technology than a fashion statement.

“This brand, and – really – this store is dedicated to those people who still prize quality and appreciate manufacturing,” says Joe.

One piece of manufacturing that The Pinhole Effect is renowned for is their custom-shaped flip-up sunglasses (modelled by the brilliant Louie Quilao above).

“We got lucky,” says Joe about the clip-on sunglasses the shop sells. The system clips onto any pre-existing pair of reading glasses with Joe then custom-cutting the shades to the shape of your existing frames.

“It’s a Japanese manufacturer who’s been building the system since the 1960s,” says Joe who then reveals that it’s the same system Persol use for their own eyewear.

And it’s this sincere respect for the culture and history of what they’re a part of, that sets The Pinhole Effect apart. It’s that extra bit you get, when you shop with Adelaide’s best independent retailers.


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