Business Spotlight

See the Vintage Spectacle with Old Focals

By Emily G. Peters

Fellow four-eyes of the world, put down that Lasik brochure. At Pasadena’s vintage eyewear purveyor Old Focals, good old fashioned glasses have always been glam.

For the last 30 years, this atypical boutique has given glasses-wearers the chance to set themselves apart with a wide selection of styles from yesteryear. From cat eye to aviator, wire-rimmed to clubmaster, frames through the ages enjoy new life at Old Focals. For owner and founder Russ Campbell, the inspired name for the shop came in a kind of vision.

“I had a dream that I walked by an old man wearing glasses who was sitting on a park bench and bouncing a baby on his knee,” said Campbell. “I told the man that I liked his glasses and he replied, ‘These old focals? You can have them.’”

The rest was history. Not only did Campbell begin to collect and sell frames from his storefront, he’s become the entertainment industry’s go-to guy for eyewear. Film and television professionals can rent or buy a vast variety of styles to suit their costuming needs. Old Focals has supplied both vintage and custom frames for The Sandlot, Titanic, Café Society, Zoolander, X-Men Apocalypse, Mad Men (of course) and pretty much every other film or show featuring a stunning pair of specs.

Apart from specializing in NOS (new old stock—unworn vintage pieces), she shop also offers its own line of frames designed by Campbell exclusively for Old Focals. These “Collector’s Choice” designs all share a retro feel with the polish and durability of modern glasses. But if you already have a favorite pair of frames, never fear. Old Focals not only fills prescriptions for existing frames, but can convert any pair of specs into sunglasses by custom cutting lenses in just a few minutes.

As interest in vintage fashion has evolved, so has Old Focals. They now have two locations: their original Green Street spot near Old Town Pasadena and another storefront on Mission Street in South Pasadena. “You can also shop online at our website and Ebay store,” said Campbell, the latter of which often offering limited editions of frames designed for film and TV stars. “There’s something for everybody.”

It’s not just vintage eyewear that has captured the heart of the Old Focals crew—they’re constantly involved in the community. They’ve collaborated with local video shop Vidéothèque for “Secret Cinema Saturdays,” offering free outdoor screenings of classic and popular films. Their participation in South Pasadena’s Art Crawl has also showcased both local musicians and artists, allowing customers to find something beautiful for their eyes, ears and homes.
Ultimately, the tight-knit crew at Old Focals sees vintage options as a way to avoid generic frames and embrace your individuality.

“Every face is unique,” said Campbell. “We love to help people convey their identity through their eyewear.”

For your flyest pair of frames, visit Old Focals at its original Pasadena location at 45 W. Green Street (626.793.7073) or in South Pasadena at 1110 Mission Street (626.799.7073). Contact them at | and catch every fashion throwback on Facebook and Twitter @OldFocals.

May 4, 2017

About Author

Emily G. Peters My name is Emily and language is my joy. Whether I'm writing or editing, my calling is to share stories that inspire and edify others. When I'm not bent over my laptop writing, you might find me at the Getty, prowling the Sierra Madre foothills or on a plane heading somewhere new.

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