Here on Grey St. we constantly seek out the latest and very best in independent eyewear.  This mission takes us to some amazing places, as we scour the globe looking for frames that stand out from the crowd.

We’re discerning about what we’ll bring back to the North East of England: Frames need to look and feel fantastic if they’re going to make it back to Grey St!

So when we heard whispers about a stylish new collection coming out of New York, we knew we had to get them in our hands!

In February 2019, Rachel made her way to Brooklyn Army Terminals to check out LOWERCASE NYC…

She met with the people behind the brand  and took a tour around their workshop, exploring their 30-step production process, as well as admiring their beautiful designs (of course!)


Lowercase frames lived up to the hype. Not only are their designs beautifully timeless, their craft and construction is second to none.

They share our appreciation of quality; sourcing only the best materials and employing the latest production techniques, with a focus on precision and sustainability.

We were honoured to become the first and only European stockist of Lowercase NYC!

18 months on, and LOWERCASE NYC have become a firm favourite here on Grey St, with both our team and our clients! This is no surprise, thanks to their wearable shapes, thoughtful colour palette, and outstanding construction.

Globally, the brand has gone from strength to strength, with features in Forbes, Harper’s Bazaar and Wall Street Journal.

We thought now was a great time to find out more about the world’s new favourite eyewear brand…


So Gerard (Masci, co-founder), tell us about your team. How did you meet?

I had been working on Lowercase for about 2 years, and was struggling to find someone in NYC who was interested in building a manufacturing company. Then a mutual friend introduced me to Brian (Vallario, co-founder).  

Brian and I met for a drink at the Marlton Hotel, which is where the Marlton frame name comes from. Brian told me upfront he wasn’t interested in the position, but he offered to help me find someone. But by the end of the drink, Brian was excited to partner up!

The rest of the team has come together through a series of personal relationships and job posts.  We are currently a team of 6, with 5 of us working in the workshop and one member working from home on sales and marketing.

How did Lowercase NYC begin? What was the initial inspiration behind the brand?

Lowercase came out of a period in my life when I hit a crossroads in my career:  Do I continue with finance (as I had been for the past 12 years) or start a new journey? 

After a lot of time weighing my options, I decided to try and build my own eyewear brand.  Eyewear had always been a passion of mine, ever since I wore my first pair at 13.

Consumers were caring more and more about where their products came from and how they were made, and I believed this would extend to eyewear. 

What sets LOWERCASE NYC apart from other eyewear brands?

If I had to boil it down to one thing I would say our approach the manufacturing, which we hope comes through in the quality and feel of our frames.  At Lowercase we take ownership of every step in the production process.  We design in the same space that we produce where we also pack and ship.  We believe having an intimate knowledge of the design process is very helpful during the production process which is a rather unique setup.

Where do your frame designs begin?

The frame designs begin with Brian developing a theme. This could be a color palate, architecture, an artistic period… And then we go from there.

What’s each of your favourite frames from
the collection? Is there a model that you like to wear yourself?

As far as what I wear, I have been pretty loyal to the Marlton for my optical frame from day 1, although the color has changed over timed. I’m currently wearing Citrus.  For sunglasses I’m really into the Astor in Sunspot.

Brian – Astor Sage

Austin – Opal Tobacco

Ryan – Lenox Honey

Liz – Fitz Champagne

Lowercase NYC was founded in 2016. What have been your highlights of the last 4 years?

The first frame we cut on a table top CNC was nowhere near good enough to be worn! But was the first physical manifestation of our years of work will always be my best memory…

Another particularly satisfying one for me was being featured in the Wall Street Journal.  After having worked on Wall St for 12 years it took me starting a manufacturing company to get a mention in the financial press!

Honestly, anytime a customer has something nice to say about their experience with the frames is always so rewarding.

How does it feel to see people wearing your frames?

It feels like a celebrity spotting for me, I’ve only come across a couple of people wearing our frames on the streets of NYC but even when people tag us in their personal Instagram posts I can’t believe that something I’ve physically worked on is the hands of someone I’ve never met.  It very much makes the world feel small when I see someone wearing our frames.

We travelled to Vision Expo in February 2019 to meet you guys. Unfortunately that show was postponed for 2020, but there’s sure to be more in the future! How was your first trade show experience? What’s been your impressions of the independent eyewear world so far?

Our first trade show experience was much better than we expected. 

In addition to Grey St becoming our first European Stockist we also connected with our first Australian stockiest. I don’t think either of those relationships would have happened without the Loft…

It was great exposure for us as a young brand and we were really looking forward to a busier 2020 show. Hopefully we can recapture some momentum for the 2021 show. 

As a whole, the independent eyewear community has been really kind to us.  We would not have been able to progress the way we have without the help of industry veterans we’ve met along the way like Lou Fullagar, Ana Sedes and Nate Ogura.

As your first European stockist, we were excited to introduce your frames to our clients. They’ve quickly become a bestseller for us.
What’s next for Lowercase NYC?

We are constantly working on new designs and searching for unique acetate.

More specifically, we are going to be releasing a limited edition production of a frame that one of our interns designed (it’s very cool!).

Lowercase NYC’s latest collection is available now, exclusively at Grey St. Optician.

Get in touch if if you’d like to see them for yourself!

Why We Love Photochromic Lenses

Here comes the sun?

For the past few weeks we’ve been enjoying clear blue skies and warm sunshine. Summer’s return could not have been better timed as we move into our New Normal…

More of us are spending time in our gardens, and outdoor sports like running and cycling are at an all-time high.

Local parks and beaches are slowly welcoming back visitors, and lots of people are choosing British staycations over holidays abroad.

And then, just like that, the sun’s gone again! There’s a lot of great things about living in the North East of England, but few people would say that our unpredictable weather is one of them!
Whether you’re into fashion or fitness,  your eyewear choices need to be as adaptable as our Great British Summertime…

Can you relate? Are you tired of having to switch up your specs mid-run? Do you find yourself wishing you’d remembered your sunnies while you’re queuing for your iced coffee?

We have the answer… Photochromic lenses!

Photochromic lenses are light-adaptive, meaning they darken in the sunshine and are otherwise clear. These lenses have had a bad rep over the years, but thanks to recent technological advancements, and a fantastic new colour palette, they’ve quickly become a favourite with the Grey St. team and our clients!

Rach making the most of her photochromic lenses!


Here’s why we love them…

They’re clever!

Photochromic lenses are embedded with tiny invisible molecules. When exposed to UV light, these molecules begin to change structure and absorb light. This reaction causes the lens to darken. This reaction is reversible, meaning they revert back to clear once the light source is removed (like when the sun disappears!)

Very clever stuff…

Technological advancements now mean that photochromic lenses are available in nearly all lens materials and designs including high index, bifocal and progressive. There’s also a range of speciality options, including a lens that darkens in the car.

The photochromic technology can be combined with a huge range of lens features such as anti-reflective coatings and mirror finishes. With such a wide range of options, they can be tailored to suit you and your lifestyle. Whether you’re into fashion, driving or sports, there’s a pair for you. And we can help!





They’re good for you!

A person’s lifetime exposure to the sun’s UV radiation can be harmful. Photochromic lenses block 100% UVA and UVB rays, and also help to protect the eye from harmful blue light. This protection reduces the risk of developing cataracts and other eye conditions. Always remember to speak to a qualified Optometrist or Optician about any eye health concerns you may have!


They look awesome!

A classic brown lens pairs perfectly with tortoiseshell

Alongside the iconic Black, Brown and Green, the photochromic palette now includes a range of style colours.

These beautiful lenses are inspired by the jewel tones of precious gems, and include:

  • Sapphire
  • Emerald
  • Amethyst
  • Amber
    style colours


We can even make a lens that changes from one colour to another!

With our ever-changing collection of over 1000 unique frames, the combinations are endless.

We love nothing more than working with our clients to create a piece of truly personal eyewear!


They’re hard-working!

As well as looking amazing, photochromic lenses are incredibly useful.

Different tints provide their own visual benefit, such as colour or contrast enhancement. With so many options available, we can work with you to create the perfect lens for your lifestyle. We might even be able to improve your golf game!

With photochromic lenses you’re essentially getting two pairs in one, so they’re perfect for those who prefer a minimal lifestyle.

They’re also super convenient.

Photochromic lenses take you from sunrise to sunset, and from sunlounger to sofa. When you’re always getting the most out of your eyewear, you’re free to be as spontaneous as you like.

No more forgetting your sunglasses when you’re out exploring. And with one less pair of specs to carry, you’ll have more space in your picnic basket!

Friend of Grey St. Faith in her ameythst photochromic lenses

If you’d like to know more about how photochromic lenses would work for you, get in touch. We can’t wait to show you!





After 10 weeks away….

Frederike is back on Grey Street! We have really missed her!!!


Frederike is back!
Guess who’s back?


She’s joining Nic and Becks as we have moved into our next phase of re-opening…

If you are in need of some new specs, we’re now able to book you in for a personal and safe frame consultation!

If you feel your eyes have changed, you can now book in for a sight test too.


Appointment only*

All visits to the store MUST be by appointment. Please click here: https://www.greyst.co.uk/appointments/ or send an email to hello@greyst.co.uk to arrange your visit!


Frederike is back
The growing team now Frederike is back!







Latest Government Guidance

The government have announced an easing of the restrictions on eye testing:


If you feel that your eyes have changed and you need to update your glasses prescription, we can now see you for an eye test. 

We can also help if you’ve lost or damaged your glasses or sunglasses and need replacements.


Easing of restrictions

NHS England’s definition of ‘essential eyecare’ which can now be carried out:

“this includes but is not limited to appointments for patients who would not normally be considered to be emergencies, but where, in the practitioner’s professional judgement, a delay in an examination may be detrimental to a patient’s sight or wellbeing. This may include where patients have broken or lost their glasses or contact lenses and need a replacement pair to function.”

Examples include:

  • Patients who require an appointment due to clinical risk factors that are being monitored by the clinician. 
  • Patients with a minor reduction in vision, and patients with broken spectacles that have been “making do” with older spectacles with an out-of-date prescription. 
  • Patients who are anxious or concerned about their vision, in the absence of clear clinical indications. 


Exclusive store access…

To ensure safety at this time we will be seeing one client at a time, so all visits to the store MUST be by appointment.

Whether you need an eye test and new glasses, just new glasses, or a simple repair, you will still need to make an appointment.

Please click https://www.greyst.co.uk/appointments/ or email hello@greyst.co.uk to arrange a visit.


easing of restrictions

We can still have a fun and informative frame discussion from opposite sides of our large table! 


We look forward to seeing you all safely and soon!





Safe Practice Procedures

 Safe Practice Procedures and Protective Measures 


We have made some changes to our daily working habits to ensure safe practice and reduce the spread of COVID-19. We want GREY ST. to be as safe as possible for all of your urgent eyecare needs.




– We shall maintain a distance of 2 metres unless it is necessary to get closer for clinical reasons.

– We will only allow one client in store at any given time. Each client will be helped by one member of staff. We will instruct clients to stay on the right of our large central table and we will stay on the opposite side. We have re-positioned stools and chairs so it is clear how to navigate the store.  Chairs and stools which are in use are separated by a distance of more than 2 metres.

– We are posting out spectacles and contact lenses where possible to minimize visits to the practice.

– All visits to the practice must be by appointment. If you attend the practice without an appointment you will be asked to return when a time slot is available.

– All magazines and brochures have been removed and unfortunately we will not be able to offer you a drink.

– We will encourage contactless card payments where possible and discourage use of cash. We will follow infection control if cash is used. We will ask you to use your own pen (if you have one) to sign forms.

– We have a cough guard in place on eye testing equipment.

– We have (65% alcohol) hand sanitiser which must be used upon entry and when leaving the practice.


Infection control


– We disinfect everything that a patient has come into contact with using alcohol wipes. We frequently clean surfaces that are touched by staff. All surfaces are cleaned before they are disinfected. We open doors for patients, to avoid them touching the handle. If a patient touches a door handle, we disinfect it.

– Each staff member will use their own computer and equipment. If equipment needs to be shared, it will be shared by the smallest possible number of people.

– If we need to handle your glasses to repair or measure the lenses we will provide you with a wipe to sanitize your frame before we touch them.

– We use recommended cleaning and disinfecting products. Aprons and disposable gloves used for cleaning will be double bagged and disposed of after 72hours.

– We have tissues and bins available and support good tissue practice ‘catch it, kill it, bin it’

– We encourage staff and patients to practice regular hand hygiene and have hand sanitizer in multiple locations.

– We wear appropriate PPE if we need to see patients at less than 2 metres distance.



– All staff are appropriately trained in infection control policy and are kept up to date with changes in national public health guidance and government policy.

– All staff are aware of the symptoms of possible COVID-19 and will not attend the practice if they, or any of their household, display these symptoms, as per government advice.

– We have spaced out our eye test equipment over three rooms/areas to help meet social distancing requirements.

– We are minimizing mixing of staff and minimize the number of staff you will see in your visit.




– When you make an appointment, and on the day of your appointment, we will ask you if you are well, and that no one in your household is exhibiting relevant symptoms (new, continuous cough; a high temperature and/or loss of or change in taste or smell). If you have these symptoms, or have someone in your household with these symptoms, you should not attend the practice, and should self-isolate (if you have COVID symptoms AND sight or life threatening conditions we will arrange for you to be seen at the hospital).

– We ask you to come to the practice alone, where possible. Companions can wait outside and a child should be accompanied by one parent only.

– Please wear your own face mask if you have one.

– Please sanitise your hands on entering and leaving the practice.




– When you book an appointment, we will ask the reason for your booking and whether you wish to choose new spectacles (so we can allocate an appropriate amount of time for your visit).

– We may ask certain clinical questions over the phone to minimize your time in the consulting room.

– We will use appropriate equipment to reduce contact during the consultation. We recommend OCT examination for all at this time.



safe practice


Lockdown life…

We miss your Faces!

Throughout lockdown we have been working away behind the scenes, but we have really missed seeing all our wonderful regulars.

So we’re asking you guys to show us how you’re spending your lockdown!

Whether working from home, learning new skills, home-schooling, out on the front line, or just enjoying the sunshine, we want to see!

Get your gorgeous GREY ST. specs on and send us a pic to hello@greyst.co.uk. Or even better, tag us in a pic on Facebook or Insta!

Here’s some of the lovely folk who have responded already:

We miss your faces


lockdown life…


we miss your faces


Sending GREY ST. love to you all!

Essential Services Only

essential services only

Essential services only


As of Monday 23rd March GREY ST. Independent Optician is temporarily closed in the battle against Coronavirus.

Opticians have been classed as a key service so if there is anything urgent that you need, we can still help you.

-For those with glasses on order, we will post them to you with no postage cost.

-If you urgently need new glasses, we can assist.

-Direct debit contact lenses will be delivered as normal.

-If you have run out of contact lenses, need a glasses repair or are concerned about an eye problem then please get in touch.

We are only in store for very limited hours to carry out this necessary work so please do not plan to visit us without a pre-arranged appointment.

The best way to contact us at this time is via email; hello@greyst.co.uk

If you would like to speak to us, you can arrange a phone consultation via our website https://www.greyst.co.uk/appointments/. Alternatively, leave us a voicemail and let us know the best time to call you back.

This is a fast-moving situation so please keep up to date with the latest developments via our social media channels;




We’ll be back…


We are very aware of our three main assets at GREY ST., the great product we work with, our amazing team and our lovely clients.

Rest assured, the full team will be back to serve you as soon as circumstances allow.

Our commitment to the finest independent eyewear on the planet shall remain.

Please make sure you all stay safe and we look forward to seeing you all again on the other side.

Finally, very special thanks to many of you who are working on the front line in the NHS, we salute you!


essential services only
We’ll be back!



GREY ST. Independent Optician




Stay Safe!

COVID-19 (coronavirus) advice

STAY SAFE EVERYONE!! If you have travelled to an affected area or are displaying symptoms, please don’t attend the practice and instead call NHS 111.

stay safe

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways and is caused by a virus called coronavirus.


NHS Advice

If you have a high temperature and new continuous cough you should stay in the house for 7 days and call NHS 111.


More information…

More information can be found at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19



Here at GREY ST. we are open as usual. We advise people not to attend their appointment if they have new symptoms and we are taking extra precautions in the practice to stay safe. We clean all equipment with alcohol wipes after each use, we observe good general hygiene methods, such as regular hand washing, and we have anti-bacterial hand gel readily available for staff and client use.

For now, the show goes on!


stay safe

T: 0191 260 5450
E: hello@greyst.co.uk

Opening Hours

Monday 9.30am to 6pm
Tuesday 9.30am to 6pm
Wednesday 9.30am to 6pm
Thursday 9.30am to 7pm
Friday 9.30am to 6pm
Saturday 9.30am to 5.30pm
Sunday Closed







KUBORAUM and a big thank you…

Thanks to all of our clients, old and new! We have loved helping you choose some amazing eyewear in 2019!

Our hectic year included frame-finding trips to Milan, Paris and New York. We were proud to become the first European stockists of Brooklyn based LOWERCASE.

Now, we are delighted to introduce a very special new brand for 2020…



Organic architecture dreamed in Berlin



High Impact!

If you like a bit of wow factor with your eyewear, these frames are for you! As worn by personalities with personality…




You can view the collection exclusively at GREY ST. Independent Optician. You can do this by arranging a frame consultation by clicking here:


0191 2605450

If you need an eye test, we can do that too!




Festive Opening Hours

Festive Opening Hours

For your GREY ST. glasses fix this Christmas, here’s the all important opening hours:

Christmas Eve CLOSED

Christmas Day CLOSED

Boxing Day CLOSED

Friday 27th 9.30 – 17.30

Saturday 28th 9.30 – 17.30

Sunday 29th CLOSED

Monday 30th 9.30-17.30

New Years Eve CLOSED

New Years Day CLOSED

Then it’s back to normal opening hours for 2020 – the year of the Optician!!