Zachary Tipton with his AC/DC frames at Vision Expo
At Vision Expo last week, Zachary Tipton, founder/owner of Tipton Eyeworks and its Vinylize eyewear line, joked that his company has “remastered” AC/DC’s classic 1980 Back in Black vinyl LP. But it has indeed refashioned the classic album--at least some 1,000 copies of it—into black vinyl fashion Vinylize frames.
The Budapest-based brand, which has been making frames out of optimal fat 180g virgin new stock vinyl records since 2004 (“Wear the music” is a company motto), gets the vinyl “from everywhere,” said Tipton, specifically pressing plants, music distributors and libraries. It was from a German pressing plant that he obtained 50 “mispressed Pink Floyd vinyls” that were not labeled, but were identified by Tipton as such after listening.
“We listen to everything!” said Tipton, who then made eyewear out of the discs, packaged them in a boxed set, and in less than two hours sold out of them at a Paris trade show at $1,000 a pop. Unfortunately, however, the prized items came to the attention of Pink Floyd.
“We received a letter from their reps claiming copyright infringement,” recalled Tipton, “so we paid up. But they also repped AC/DC and were up for a license deal!”
That deal resulted in nine sunglass frame styles and another thousand or so boxed sets employing a “catapult mechanism”—per Tipton--to eject the frame out of the vinyl album it’s embedded into—also serving the purpose of showing the buyer that the frame was indeed cut out of the album.
“They can see that it’s genuine,” said Tipson, “that the gap betweeen the tracks lines up on both the frames and the rest of the LP.” Those tracks, by the way, include the two classic lead tracks “Hells Bells” and “Shoot to Thrill,” since the frames have Side One facing out.
The frames, in small, medium and large sizes, further bear the distinctive AC/DC lightning bolt forward slash on the temples, and come in branded cases as well as the boxed sets.
Meanwhile, entries from Vinylize’s sister line Cinematiq Eyewear were exhibited next to the AC/DC product. The Cinematiq frames have laminated 16mm and 35mm film footage--sourced from old movie theaters, TV stations and private collections--embedded into the temples, and are named for actors including David Niven, directors like Emeric Pressburger, and studios such as Rank.