Call Us: 03 94161043

Visit us: 5 Johnson Street, Collingwood, VIC 3066.

Michelle Guthrie.


For the sake of good eye health, you should have an eye examination every 2 years, even if you don't need glasses

follow us

© Copyright 2023 - Sportsweb Australia. All rights reserved. Licensed to Ispex.

Created by

Visit us: 5 Johnson Street, Collingwood, VIC 3066.

ph. 03 941 61043

 tues-fri 10am -5pm

 sat 10am - 3pm

our story

gift vouchers

our story.

The history of eyewear and iSpex Funky Spex... iSpex was opened in 1987, to provide Melburnians with fabulous choices in glasses. Owner, Michelle Guthrie, was inspired by the fabulous eyewear of the forties, fifties and sixties - when spectacles were bold and confident -  from round-eye tortoiseshell and heavy-browed horn - to chrome metals, jewelled cats eyes and fly-away wing styles; Glasses back then, were innovative, beautifully crafted and fun.


According to Michelle, eyewear started going wrong in the mid seventies and continued that way for nearly two decades. "Cars lost their fins and so did glasses; Opticians became 'Optometrists' and glasses became a 'medical' thing. There’s absolutely nothing exciting and fun about 'medical men' selecting what we should wear on our faces" says Michelle, "but that's what happened and glasses became more a prosthesis than a statement of personality."


Then came the eighties, and the French and Italians reinvented eyewear as a fashion accessory. We saw emerging designers such as Giorgio Armani, Valentino, Paloma Picasso, Missoni, Hugo Boss etc., introduce glamorous new eyewear onto European catwalks. Around the same time, Australian artist, Ken Done was splashing bright images, of Sydney Harbour and cockatoos onto canvas; These bold and colourful images were embraced by a colour-starved audience around the world. In South Africa, Anglo American Eyewear Company was testing the European market with their very large, colourful, hand-painted spectacle frames… and in Australia, Jonathan Sceats of Sydney was the first to introduce the brave new concept of bold and colourful acetate (plastic) eyewear in Australia… and so, for another decade, glasses became brave and fun again.


Disaster hit spectacle wearers in the nineties, when cheap, mass produced eyewear was introduced to Australia via multi-national chain groups. Cheap, inferior quality eyewear, (mass produced in Asia to give them huge profits) put independent practices into a difficult position. Unable to compete with the 'big boys', opticians were forced to either close down, be taken over or form bulk-buying groups with eachother, which enabled them as a group, to purchase large quantities of cheap imports.


Thus, it became and remains, increasingly difficult for spectacle wearers to find fabulous eyewear. In their search for new glasses, consumers soon discover that no matter how many stores they visit, the selections looks the same. Even designer brands became unreliable… as the famous labels sold out to the ‘mass production monster’… churning out diluted style and quality for the sake of a boring mainstream market.


A handful of independent optical stores throughout Australia, resisted the path of cheap and nasty… and iSpex in Collingwood always stood out, as the place to go for really special eyewear.


Since opening, more than 30 years ago, iSpex has only ever stocked fabulous eyewear. Each pair of frames is hand-picked from the very best the world has to offer - usually hand-crafted by artisans committed to quality and style…. And today, iSpex is renowned for the bold and colourful, often quirky eyewear, designed in-house by owner, Michelle. Her funky designs are hand-crafted in Australia by RogerHenley, and can be custom-made in a wide selection of limited edition colours and patterns to create a distinctive and individual look.


Of course, iSpex is renowned for the bold and colourful, often quirky eyewear, designed in-house by owner, Michelle. Her funky designs are hand-crafted in Adelaide by Roger Henley, and can be made in a wide array of colours and patterns to create a distinctive and individual look.


People have always referred to iSpex as "that funky glasses shop", so in the year, 2000, Funky Spex was annexed to the name which is now officially iSpex Funky Spex.  


As the optical industry, tragically wallows in the cheap mass produced market - it's a comfort to know that you can still get high quality, hand crafted and individual eyewear - right here in Melbourne, at iSpex Funky Spex.