2011 was a difficult year. Everyone had tattoo moustaches on their fingers, LMFAO refused to stop “party rocking”, and planking was a thing. But worst of all was the scourge of fake hipster glasses.
A twee-adjacent fad that took off on Tumblr sometime in the ’00s and later found its way to high streets, Britain had become a nation of people pretending to have bad eyesight, all in the name of “geek chic”. Those that couldn’t afford OG Ray Ban Wayfarers bought dupes from Topshop and Urban Outfitters; many more simply popped the lenses out of 3D glasses from their local Vue.
Not a single person looks back fondly. And yet here we are again, on the cusp of another outbreak of fake fashion specs. This time, though, the frames in question are less offensive, influenced by runway trends rather than bearded, IPA-sipping blokes in Brooklyn. With a typically rectangular shape and slinky little rims, the “Bayonetta” glasses that are popping up all over the place are a sexier, sleeker approach to optics, with a vibe that scratches fashion’s indestructible Y2K itch in a slightly more niche way.
Since appearing in Miu Miu’s “frazzled English woman” AW23 collection in March, these librarian-ready specs have been adopted by many stylish celebs. Behold: model Gabbriette smouldering in deep burgundy frames for Miaou’s latest video campaign, Doja Cat sporting sleek black frames as she’s serenaded by Usher, Devon Lee Carlson showing off a subtle cat-eye version of the style on grid. Bella Hadid, of course, was way ahead of the trend – she’s been wearing Bayonettas in various colours since early 2022.
How many of these people actually need glasses? It’s hard to, ahem, see. We’re inclined to believe that Sexyy Red has a prescription, simply because she’s never seen without a pair of specs resting on her nose. So, too, Emma Chamberlain who sported a rounded tortoise shell pair on the front row of Miu Miu’s AW24 show.
But it does seem convenient that a broad range of influencers have suddenly accumulated a collection of cute little glasses over the past few months, even though they’ve seemingly never worn them before. Julia Fox, for instance, has to our knowledge only been spotted wearing glasses once – she didn’t even need them to read an extract from her new book for us.
This leads us to one conclusion: at least some of these celebs are wearing fake lenses, unwittingly bringing forth an era of fake hipster glasses 2.0. The TikTok girlies are already working hard to turn it into the next viral trend, posting videos of their Bayonetta collections or selfies shot using the “Y2K” glasses filter. It’s only a matter of time before plastic frames filled with completely useless lenses start popping up on the high street once again, ready for a new generation to pretend they’re shortsighted in order to stay on trend.
We’d say keep your eyes peeled, but you’ll probably need to go Specsavers first.