In the Shop: Gerard Masci, Co-Founder
Your life prior to Lowercase?
My brother was the first person in my family to graduate from high school, let alone college, and as his little brother I followed closely in his footsteps. He went into finance, so I did too where I worked for 11 years. When I could find time away from work I always escaped to live music. My most memorable experience came at an Arcade Fire show that took place a block from my apartment in an old church (Judson Memorial). During the encore the entire band walked off stage and set up shop right in the middle of the audience, it was pretty insane! Since starting Lowercase I’ve been mostly relegated to a Sonos but as for my life before Lowercase it was a lot of numbers and a lot of music!
Arcade Fire at Judson Memorial
Why was it eyewear?
When I was 13 years old, I purchased my first pair of frames with my own money from an independent eyewear store in Soho called Facial Index. I loved them! They made me feel older and cooler than the weak wireframes that were picked out for me at the eye doctors office. They were dark tortoise acetate frames from Japan. When I wore them, I realized that a pair of frames you love, and fit well, and look good, can be transformative! I collected frames from all over the world for years before I had any idea my love for eyewear would eventually turn into a business.
First glasses from Facial Index
The biggest challenge thus far?
An ongoing challenge for us is that there are no equipment suppliers in the US, due to the fact that there are virtually no manufacturers of frames in the US.
After days of trying to solve the problem, without any manuals, we had narrowed the problem down to one tiny part, albeit an extremely complex part that generates ultrasonic frequencies. There was no chance we could fix this on our own. So we did what any good manufacturing company does; we googled, “where is Mecasonic ultrasonic welder made?”
It was August 2nd and if you are familiar with the work calendar in Europe you know that businesses across the EU close for the month of August. But in a moment of total serendipity, our summer intern, Thomas, announced he was from the Juvigny! Before we knew it Thomas was connected to the one on call emergency operator from Mecasonic who only spoke French.
After some trial and error we were able to fix the problem before Europe came back to work in September. We have challenges like this all of the time, but the less you panic, the easier it is to see a creative solution. Or you just get lucky!
The honest answer is because I was born here. If I can adjust the question slightly and answer why we chose to set up our workshop at the Brooklyn Army Terminal I would simply show one photo:
Brooklyn Army Terminal Atrium
What Frames are you wearing now?
The first pair of optical frames I wore was the Rebel Rebel in Black, It was the first design we finalized when putting together our core collection so it holds a special spot as the pioneer frame! I then transitioned to the Clement in Black Marble and am now wearing the Marlton in Vintage Havana.
When we visit our material supplier, Mazzucchelli, in Italy we always take time to look through the back stocked colors they’ve stopped producing. The Vintage Havana is one of the colors we pulled from the dead and brought back to life. We purchased the the last remaining stock and I think it is unquestionably the best looking caramel/honey tortoise frame you can find.
As for sunglasses, I had been wearing the Duke in Smoke Grey but very recently I started wearing a prototype of a new frame we’ve designed in collaboration with Knickerbocker Mfg. We’ll be releasing the frames in November and I’m really excited for everyone to check them out, they’re called the RPG which is a hint as to their inspiration.