We are on a mission to bring high-quality, sustainably made prescription glasses to anyone in the world, no matter where they live and how much money they have.

Our goal is to transform people’s lives through better vision – enabling them to learn, work and be independent.

By 2050 there’ll be more than five billion people worldwide who are unable to see clearly without glasses. So we’ve got work to do! And we’d love you to be part of our revolution.

How we began

Here’s where we impress the pants off you with all our past experience in optics. Except we didn’t have any. Zilch. Dresden comes at things differently – from the same place as you.

Co-founder Bruce Jeffreys (right) was a frustrated glasses-wearer. Because let’s face it, glasses can be annoying. You lose them, you break them, you scratch them. They’re expensive.

And, as Bruce learned when his children came along, kids take great delight in grabbing glasses off an adult’s face and flinging them around the room.

A blank sheet of paper

Bruce started wondering how to create a new experience for people who wear glasses. Then he found a partner in co-founder Jason McDermott, a designer with equally poor vision. A natural fit.

From there, they joined with Sara Jinga, Isaac Sheer and Michael Rieke and a wider Dresden team formed in Sydney around a simple mission – putting the glasses-wearer at the centre of everything.

They asked, how did we end up going into sterile shops and paying ridiculous prices in order to see well? Why were glasses made using such wasteful processes? How could glasses be more functional, versatile, fun and sturdy, with low-cost backups when you need them?

HOW much did your glasses cost?!

The reality is that most glasses company are ripping you off. Selling glasses for $500-plus and making a fortune in the process.

The bulk of brands you know are owned by a company called Luxxotica Essilor, which is valued at around 50 billion euros (yep, you read that right). Their brands include Ray-Ban, Oakley, Vogue, Oliver Peoples and Giorgio Armani, and retailers include Clearly, FramesDirect, OPSM and Sunglass Hut.

We believe our offering is superior. Our glasses are much better value and our prices are, well, superb.

The Guardian has recently published an investigation into the power of Luxxotica Essilor. “And when all else fails, Essilor – like its rivals, and like all wholesalers – uses financial incentives to keep its customers satisfied. Opticians and industry analysts that I spoke to for this article described how Essilor uses so-called “spiff money” – offering stores large, multi-year discounts and cash bonuses for selling its products – in order to squeeze out the competition.” Read it here.

Inspired by German design

We started by going back to a craft excellence we felt had been lost; a time where there was a direct connection between the making of a product and the person it was intended for. It’s something we associate strongly with German values of design and manufacturing.

We admire how Germany has maintained its traditions, yet has a hypermodern edge. Innovation sits quite naturally alongside craftsmanship that’s been honed over generations, producing quality design that pushes boundaries while retaining a timeless appeal.

The paradox of German design is also the essence of Dresden’s approach. Organic and technical. Playful and functional.

Getting practical

We applied a fair whack of Australian pragmatism to these design ideals. We designed our own ‘system’ – a single frame style in four sizes, to suit the maximum number of face shapes – in conjunction with industrial design specialists Vert.

Metal hinges are the most common breakage point in glasses, so after a lot of trial and error, we came up with a better design. Plastic hinges integrated into our frame fronts and the arms locked together with a plastic ‘pin’. No fiddly screws or tools needed, simply a snug-fitting pin with an easy pop-in-and-out action.

Then we thought about how frame sets could easily be customised. Why not have some fun by changing out frame front and arm colours, and materials too? How about interchangeable lenses cut in-store for more flexibility, functionality and convenience, too?

Now we had a transparent, simple system that catered to our customers’ changing tastes. Good to go.

Spreading our wings

At its core, Dresden is all about making glasses accessible and sustainable – realising the impact we can make on the environment with recycled materials, and wanting to bring as much of the experience as we can in-store.

Interchangeable and replaceable parts, affordable glasses with high-quality lenses, and backed by our 10 year unconditional frame warranty. The Dresden glasses system is a sustainable alternative to the cyclical, disposable, eyewear fashion industry.

And we’re on a roll. There are new materials to test, new colours to create, and we’ve already expanded to Canada and New Zealand. It’s our mission to bring quality, fashionable prescription glasses to people around the world, and we’re excited about achieving this. We hope we’ll see you in-store soon.