David Keith Creates Fashionable and Functional Frames
Written By: Ariana Velazquez
Photographed By: Matthew Clark Rogers SPEXWAX Glasses
For David Keith, it is really about the art. The art of repurposing, the art of creating local jobs and the art of caring for your things. The concept of quality over quantity is apparent in Keith’s business model wherein unplayable vinyl records of all genres and colors are given new life being crafted into unique wearable frames. This idea came to him in the form of a suggestion by Keith’s mentor, Phil Harris. Thus, SPEXWAX was born.
But let’s take a few steps back. Before starting his first job in the industry, David’s connection to eyewear was minimal. “I really didn’t consider myself somebody who was an avid eyewear person,” Keith says. “I actually just liked cheap aviators. I had no relation to the eyewear industry other than enjoying sunglasses.” However, it didn’t take very long for this relationship to grow, he continued on to apprentice as an optical technician in South Lake Tahoe eventually earning his optician’s license and then making his way to San Diego. Keith told LOCALE, “I never really thought, ‘I’m going to own my own business before I’m 30’ but I did.”
SPEXWAX is in a league all their own offering something new to the industry in almost every way possible. “We thrive on delivering the unexpected,” says Keith. And anyone who knows eyewear or perhaps wears glasses on a daily basis would agree. With about 60 styles available online and the possibility of customization, they really enjoy working with their clients to produce frames that are truly one of a kind. The unique shapes and styles of glasses made at SPEXWAX are inspired by everyday occurrences and simply allowing things to happen by chance. For example, the specialized curvature for the temples of the glasses was discovered while attempting to make a frame out of a skateboard deck. This kind of creatively stimulating environment is very apparent at the SPEXWAX HQ where multiple artisans come to work, create and move this company forward using their hands and their hearts.
SPEXWAX is on trend and really doing their part to reuse and recycle. The supply of vinyl makes its way to SPEXWAX through various channels, some people even donating rather than sending to the landfill. However, the best of the best colored vinyl comes from Gotta Groove Records in Cleveland, OH who ship their defective copies all the way to sunny San Diego a few times a year. Keith has made it a point, “Whatever we can do to repurpose, that’s our goal,” and he really means it. Everything that can be used from the vinyl to the case gets remade; covers are made into cases, excess from the cases is used as stuffing and packing material for shipment, the center of records are cut out and made into coasters and any leftover from frame cutouts can be made into a multitude of items from jewelry to lampshades. In another attempt to giveback, Keith is also currently working with other industry leaders who are creating unique frames. When sold, the profits from these frames will go towards creating programs that will help give vision to kids with various eye disabilities.
Today, SPEXWAX is a local San Diego business doing what it can to fuel our economy, be mindful of our environment, all while doing good and making great art. You can see David out at the occasional San Diego Made event or hanging out in Barrio Logan. SPEXWAX has truly made wearable art possible. Owning a pair of SPEXWAX frames is not just owning another pair of glasses, it stands for so much more. Keith, like any true artist, aspires for SPEXWAX to grow into a well oiled machine, he would like his frames to be recognizable from across the room and to continue doing what he loves so that work never really feels like work at all.
Here’s a short film that goes deeper into into SPEXWAX’s story! Watch here.
Vision Found: Find SPEXWAX online at SPEXWAX.com or Eyes on Fifth in San Diego.
Best selling style for men: Heavy Beats
Best selling style for women: Sneak Peek
David’s Favorite Vinyls
Right Now: “Lean and Burn” by The Sheepdogs
All Time: “In The Evening When The Sun Goes Down” by Lou Rawls
David Keith Upcycles Vinyl Records to Sunglasses and It’s Really Cool