Big Design Market: Melbourne Edition



We're back at it again this weekend, for the Big Design Market Melbourne.  See you soon! 

Melbourne – The Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton Gardens

Friday 2 Dec, 10:00am – 9:00pm
Saturday 3 Dec, 10:00am – 7:00pm
Sunday 4 Dec, 10:00am – 5:00pm



Meet The Team: Volume 9

Despite its reputation as a sleepy city, Canberra is coming to life. Lonsdale Street has gone from car yards to cafes and we’re doing our bit too. We’ve graduated from a pop-up to a permanent boutique in the Canberra Centre, but more importantly, Annie has taken over the reins as manager. Meet the happiest Canadian in the nation’s capital.

It’s a long way from Canada to Canberra, but Annie ended up here almost by accident. “’ moved here with my family five years ago, but my parents decided to retire to New Zealand. I ended up loving Canberra so much that I settled here. I was fortunate enough to be granted citizenship so I’m staying forever’. Though the city cops a bit of hate, Annie loves how it feels like a small town and a big city wrapped in one. ‘It has all the conveniences of a big city’ she says, ‘but none of the nuisances’. Take traffic. ‘Traffic in Canberra is like five cars at a roundabout’ she laughs, ‘and the community is pretty tight-knit’.

When she’s not at our boutique, Annie’s probably at the gym. ‘You’ll also find me walking around the man-made, yet still sublime Lake Burley Griffin’. It’s named for the architectural couple behind Canberra’s modernist layout. ‘My favourite spot on the lake has to be the new Kingston Foreshore, but my favourite restaurant isn’t there. I live for breakfast because I’m a morning person and there’s this place called Nookie Espresso Bar in Civic. Its coffee and avocado on toast is everything I could want’. We’d recommend you stop by – Nookie is less than five minutes’ walk from Bailey Nelson Canberra.

‘The store is beautiful’, Annie says. ‘The layout is awesome. It’s got a minimalist palette but with a ‘home garden come to life’ feel’. We think it’s fitting for a garden city like Canberra.

Though she’s completely at home in the new boutique, Annie’s only been with us for a month. She’s been in optics a lot longer though. ‘I picked it up as a university job to sustain my online purchasing while I was studying advertising and end up getting stuck in this job that I love’. For Annie, optics is ‘an environment where you can have extended conversations rather than just asking ‘what size are you?’.

But before Bailey Nelson, Annie was considering leaving getting out of optics. ‘I went overseas and found myself, as you do’. ‘I pretty much got my graduation certificate and five days later went to North and South America for an indefinite period of time’. The trip was a chance for Annie to indulge a mischievous streak. ‘I always try to get the tackiest souvenir on the planet for my mother. She can’t throw it out because it was a gift. I got her a Niagara Falls pencil sharpener with a snow globe, even though she’s been there herself. It’s the worst thing on the planet. My dad got some truly shocking socks and he’s going to have to proudly wear them because they were a gift from me’.

So, what tempted Annie back? ‘I was looking for something in my own field, but Bailey Nelson sounded too good to be true. It’s lived up to my expectations though. It’s the kind of job you can go to sleep feeling good about’.

If you happen to be in Canberra, Annie’s always keen to recommend frames. For those further away, she has two picks: the Adler and Scout. ‘I’m biased, because I’m wearing it, but the Alder brings a certain je ne sais quoi to people who can pull it off. The Scout on the other hand is a unisex frame, and it just looks good on everyone who wears it’.


Find out where our Canberra store is located here













Photography by Andy Mullens  





Big Design Market: Sydney Edition

Yeah, there’s something special about markets. It’s where we let our hair down. You can’t have a bad time with so many craftsmen, artists and designers in one place.

We started at the Bondi Markets, up the road from the eponymous beach. It was a breezy spot with a stunning view, but we went inland for our first store.

That was at Paddington, on William Street. Every year we shut the street down for the William Street Festival. We’ve made a lot of friends there. Good tunes and fine specs will do that.


The Big Design Market in Melbourne started in 2012 and we were there. It’s been back every year since and so have we. This year, it’ll be in Sydney too. Since all our specs are designed here, we couldn’t refuse.

We’ll be pulling short run collections from our archives but we don’t like to stand still. We’re sharing our newest drops too. Come find us hanging out with some of Australia’s finest makers in:


Sydney  - The Big Design Market at the Royal Hall of Industries

Friday 25 Nov, 10:00am – 9:00pm
Saturday 26 Nov, 10:00am – 7:00pm
Sunday 27 Nov, 10:00am – 5:00pm 

Melbourne – The Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton Gardens

Friday 2 Dec, 10:00am – 9:00pm
Saturday 3 Dec, 10:00am – 7:00pm
Sunday 4 Dec, 10:00am – 5:00pm

Our Craft: Riveted Hinges

A Bailey Nelson Hinge is Crafted
Above: A rivet is carefully hand hammered through the acetate arm of a Bailey Nelson frame. 

What do the two metal dots on our glasses mean? Are they Morse code, half an emoticon, or an unfinished sentence?

When you see metal pins on most glasses, you’re meant to think they serve a purpose. In simple terms, they’re designed to look like a functional rivet.

Riveting is a technique for attaching the hinge to the frame: metal pins are carefully hammered through the acetate frame and welded to the hinge. This is the strongest and most durable method to attach hinges, which is important as they bear more stress than any other part of a frame. But, like a decorative pocket that leads to nothing, the two metal dots on most glasses imply detail that isn’t there. They’re just glued on. And that’s where our frames are different.

We work with a family owned Italian/French company that has been crafting hinges for seventy years. In modern times, that means an expertly engineered three or five barrel, hand made hinge that’s paired with nylon coated screws. The temples (also known as arms) on our frames are designed to open and close smoothly, time after time.

It’s a small detail, but something you’ll notice every time you unfold one of our frames.

A Bikini a Day: Watson's Bay Pop-Up

Watson's Bay Hotel

We're kicking summer off right. Tash and Dev of A Bikini A Day are hosting their first pop up boutique in Sydney. We'll be with them at the beautiful Watson's Bay Hotel from 11am-3pm Friday and Saturday 11 & 12 November. 
RSVP at | More details right here

BN People: Angie Pai

It’s both easier and harder to be an artist today than ever before. Instagram lets anyone display their craft before an audience of millions, but that same access has produced a crowded environment. Angie Pai knows that better than most. In her early 20s she’s already established a following across photography, canvas and textile. She spoke to Gani Moore about the random encounters, old memories and leaps of faith that she’s taken to break through.

When did you first discover your artistic skills?  I think I've always appreciated the freedom to do my own thing. Back at home in Taiwan, emphasis was placed on mathematics and academic subjects from very early on. 
I have this very vivid memory from when I was five. I was in kinder, and we were being tested on times tables. This memory must be so embedded into my brain because it stressed me out so much. I couldn't answer anything. I went home that day, completely distraught and scared to tell mum I'd answered none of the questions. But when I finally did, she laughed, and said (in Chinese) "It's okay, me too. I am so dumb at maths. But I'm good at drawing, and you are too! So don't worry”.  I think that was the first time someone told me I was artistically inclined, because I don't remember thinking anything of it before then - but then again, I was five. 

Art isn't all you've got on the go - there is also your clothing brand PAI. Can you tell us what inspired you to enter the world of textiles?
It was a total accident! The inspiration greatly came from my friend Adrian Bressanutti. 
I have a very short attention span, and always enjoyed experimenting with different mediums. 
I spent a long time embroidering on an old shirt one time, and old mate Adrian told me off for spending so long on such a sh*t shirt. This lead to us making a long sleeve together, and we were naive enough to jump straight into starting a label.

As another brand that grew in leaps and bounds, we can appreciate how intense that must have been. We can also see a kindred spirit in the design of PAI. Tell us about how that design translates into the finished product?
 We aspire to involve the element of tactility as far as we can take it. All garments feature handmade, hand-crocheted, hand-knitted, or hand-embroidered motifs, celebrating the human touch. Each piece takes persistence and patience to achieve. Because of this, production took ~literally~ forever to perfect. Looking back, we somehow did everything possible to make our lives hard but we’ve got no regrets. We weren't going to put anything out which we weren't 100% happy with, and we're both very proud of what we've created.  

We love the collaboration you did with Melbourne photographer Jordan Drysdale. How did this come about?  Again, it was totally by chance! I met Jordan in a designer store a few years ago, and he completely broke my glasses [Editor’s note: glasses always bring people together!]. We met up for coffee one day, and somehow ended up seeing each other every day for the next week. Not long after, we spontaneously went to Japan, then moved in together upon our return home. I guess it was only a matter of time before I crashed his photoshoots too. Jordan was one of the first to inspire my participation in creative projects. He comes home from London very soon, so keep an eye out for that ;) !!

So, what’s next for Angie?
 I'm very excited for some upcoming projects in January. I still very much need to get my stuff together, so might keep it under wraps for now.

Follow Angie on @angiepai
 or head to her website
Angie wears the Joyce in Crystal

Spring Carnival Style : A Poor Man's Millions

We’ve spotted Jared Acquaro of cult menswear blog A Poor Man’s Millions (APMMillions to those in the know) pairing Bailey Nelsons with his immaculately tailored wardrobe from Milan to Sydney. On a sunny afternoon in Melbourne we sat down with Jared to discuss his philosophy of value: ‘knowledge is everything’, in light of the upcoming Spring Racing Carnival.

That ethos gave Jared his motivation to start the blog: ‘The inspiration behind A Poor Man’s Millions is educating oneself on personal style and needs... It all comes off personal experience and real scenarios, there is no forceful hard selling nor me selling something I don’t believe in for money’. That’s certainly a spirit that resonates with Bailey Nelson. In 2012, our founders launched Bailey Nelson at the Bondi markets, driven by the knowledge that it didn’t make sense to pay several times the price for quality specs just because of a chintzy logo. As Jared says, ‘It isn’t about doing things on the cheap but more spending your hard earned money more wisely, while looking a million dollars’.

For a day trackside, Jared’s advice is on point. ‘Don’t follow trends, just be yourself. Style is personal and about who you are’. For Jared, who mentions that he’s a qualified motor mechanic on top of his already impressive blogging CV, that means the Ward - a Bailey Nelson style inspired by the streamlined profile of 1970s European racing glasses are his favourite pair.

For those with different affinities, we’ve created a collection of timeless Spring Carnival frames. ‘There are many practical aspects to style, so start slow, learn on your own terms and just have fun with it’, says Jared.

You’d be a fool to bet against seeing Jared trackside in the near future, but his agenda goes way beyond the racing season even if, as he modestly says, Jared is ‘just moving slow and steady’. He’ll be back at Pitti Uomo, one of the most important international events for menswear in picturesque Florence, next year.

There will be more travel and some upcoming projects still under wraps. ‘Possibilities of a book too’, Jared suggests at the end of our conversation. ‘Nothing generic, like most menswear books, but something more about personal and practical experiences’. We wouldn’t expect anything less.

Follow Jarred on @apmmillions or head to his website.
Jared wears the Ward in Black Yellow Demi
Photography by Gani Moore

Spring Carnival Style : Shh Alex

With Spring Carnival on the horizon we couldn’t think of a better time to talk to some of Australia’s style gurus. Meet Alex, the incredibly talented ‘creative by night’ behind SHHALEX, a blog on all things inspiring.

Earlier this week Alex welcomed us into her home in Melbourne, which she shares with Meeka, her playful Sphynx cat. Alex's home is just as beautifully styled as her blog with cool greens, whites, browns and a wardrobe fit for any fashion enthusiast. It’s a neat fit for Alex’s Joyce, a classic Bailey Nelson style she wears in an understated Green Tortoiseshell colourway.

Alex has all the beauty tips and know how; we’re just grateful she’s passionate about sharing her knowledge. Thank us later. 

For those who haven’t seen her blog, Alex describes SHHALEX as a ‘creative outlet for my brain overspill’. Her inspiration ‘is anything that takes my fancy but mainly interiors and beauty’. From the polaroids dotted around her room to quartz and hardwood that brings the outdoors in, Alex truly lives her philosophy.

We’re keen to find out more about the new fashions for spring racing, but Alex has some sage advice. Always modest, Alex claims not to be ‘up to date with forward fashion’. For her, style is about ‘dressing how I feel on the day’. We’ve compiled a collection of race day favourites to help you out if, like us, how you feel is indecisive. 

Alex does have a feeling though that embroidery is making a comeback – we can’t tell whether she’s serious or not. ‘I ain’t mad about it’, she says. On the other hand, Alex rocks the Newton in black, one of our newest frames with a style that plays on the traditional brow line, pairing it with intricate metal detailing.

For those wanting to learn her craft, Alex recommends focus and dedication. ‘Set goals’, she says, ‘and know your audience. The best foundation for a blog is cohesion and setting goals for a specific audience will make that a breeze!’ We’ll make sure to take her advice – after all it comes from one of the best.

How could we not ask about Meeka, who seems to something of a muse for Alex. ‘Muse would be an understatement’ Alex laughs. ‘She is the absolute light of my life and the worst part is the lil’ rascal knows it! She is a Sphynx, so small and smoochable but the biggest distraction’. We ask what’s next for Alex, but she demurs that ‘a magician never reveals their secrets’. A magician perhaps, or a sphinx.

Follow Alex at @shhalex or head to her website.
Alex wears the Newton in Black

Photography by Gani Moore

Meet The Team : Volume Eight

Name: Blake Dillon

Role: Store Manager  

Store: Edward Street, Brisbane CBD

How long have you been with Bailey Nelson: Almost two years.

What do you love about Bailey Nelson:  The story, the people and the excitement the customers have from visiting our stores and getting their new glasses. I never knew what to expect as I came from another optical retailer that was very corporate. Bailey Nelson has this boutique kind of style. I rocked up to the interview with sales questions as I’d been interviewing for ten years, but it was completely different. More like, “here’s something about me, what about you?” Once I found out that it was a people culture, I was interested. 

What was it like to stop being corporate and doing things like covering tattoos? It was hard to get out of being robotic. It was so weird not being in a uniform and actually just talking to people rather than covering steps and worrying about mystery shoppers and asking the same questions over and over again.

Who do you work with at Edward Street? Our optometrist, Renee. As well as Jack, Jess, Adam and Georgia. 

What is your favourite frame and why: The Harrison! it's a unique look. 

Most interesting customers:  So many to list! Lots of people have such interesting careers that we hear about each day.

Where are you from originally: Central Queensland

Spare time: Hiking and exploring south east Queensland, beers with friends, collecting tattoos and spending time with my chihuahua, Megatron. I've also discovered a new love for burlesque shows and theatre. 

Best Brisbane Bar/Restaurant:  The Gresham for the best cocktails and Miss Kay's for a burger hit. 

William Street Festival 2016

Sydneysiders, Paddington's William Street Festival is back and as always we'll be there!

It's our favourite day of the year and always brings back memories of our humble beginnings at the Bondi Markets. In fact, as a tip of the hat to our early days, we're bringing a beach theme to the streets of Paddington. 

On display you'll find our new summer sunglasses collection along with a selection of BN classics (brought back exclusively for the William St Festival). Stop by and say hi, we'll have an icy cold drink waiting for you!

See you this Saturday.

In celebration of our event, we've also created a playlist to help you get in the mood.




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