A 27-year-old reinvented the way we wear sunglasses by adding a simple hinge

Peeq white patternedAbbie Sophia/Abbie Sophia PhotographyPeeq sunglasses are built with a reversible hinge to show off both sides of the design — and the person wearing them.

When Raffi Holzer isn’t working as a general manager at FranchiseHelp, he’s managing his own burgeoning enterprise: reversible sunglasses.

Plain on one side and patterned on the other, Peeq sunglasses are built with a reversible hinge that allows them to be worn either way.

The idea originated in Holzer’s product design class at the University of Pennsylvania as part of an assignment to rethink an everyday design. He saw a pair of plain black sunglasses on his desk, then spotted someone across the room wearing a bright electric blue pair.

“I’m a mechanical guy and I’m thinking, ‘There’s got to be a way to flip them around and have the design on either side,'” the 27-year-old told INSIDER. “I’ve seen glasses that have designs on either side. Why can’t you have a hinge that just allows you to wear them both ways?”

Raffi holzerAbbie Sophia/Abbie Sophia PhotographyRaffi Holzer, inventor and founder of Peeq, sporting plain black frames. (A tortoiseshell pattern lines the inside.)

He started by cutting up 3D movie glasses and pasting them back together, then eventually designed a reversible hinge. He put a provisional patent on the mechanism, but left the idea alone for a year and a half until his girlfriend (now his wife) and her family encouraged him to pursue it.

“I showed my now father-in-law the idea, and he was like, ‘You have to patent this,'” Holzer said. “I was like, ‘If there’s really interest, maybe I should actually follow through and start doing something about this.'”

The glasses may look effortlessly sleek now, but it took some time to get them right.

“There were a huge number of challenges in terms of trying to get a pair of glasses that would be reversible and also fit like a normal pair of glasses would,” he said. “I think we’ve basically gotten there, and the next step is really just getting them into production.”

Holzer hopes that Peeq’s versatile frames will allow wearers to express different facets of themselves.

Peeq both frames

Abbie Sophia/Abbie Sophia Photography
“There’s a lot of wasted beauty in the world,” said Holzer, citing decorative jacket linings that are rarely displayed.

“I think every person has at least two sides to them, and why not have an accessory that can be expressive of both of those?” he said. “There are situations in which you want to be more conservative and there are situations in which you want to go wild, and this pair of glasses allows you to do both of those through one accessory.”

The sunglasses will retail for around $60, with a forthcoming Indiegogo campaign to jumpstart development.

“This is a learning process for me, certainly, and it’s hopefully a collaborative and artistic process, as well as a business enterprise,” he said.

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