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  • Petrol station chic: Alba Optics’ Delta glasses

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    The Instagram sensation Italian sunnies, inspired by the eighties and jelly snakes

    Photographs: Sean Hardy
    Alba Optics, Rouleur Desire, April 2018

    It’s midday and the phone already needs charging. Not a single call has been made or received. Settings. Battery usage. “73% Instagram.” Thumbprint concurs. Swipe up. Double tap.

     

    Instagram has 700 million users. It overtook Twitter ages ago. Trends come. Trends go. But without Instagram we probably wouldn’t have discovered Alba Optics so soon.

     

    About a year ago, Alba Optics was a company still looking for its product. It started visiting frame designers around their base in northern Italy, hoping to find a style that suited them. Then it unearthed the Delta frame, which had been laid dormant since 1988. Trends come. Trends go. Trends evidently come back again.

    Alba Optics, Rouleur Desire, April 2018

    For a brand so young, it’s already making considerable tracks. Its presence on social media, mostly Instagram, has enabled this, as it has for a lot of cycling start-ups recently.

     

    Alba Optics is already sponsoring a couple of cycling teams: Russian squad Gazprom-RusVelo, and the women’s team Sydney Uni-Staminade – and it’s unlikely to end there. It’s done all this within 12 months, remember? How long did it take Oakley to do that? This was a time before Instagram. And mobile phones were the size of mobile homes.

     

    The Delta is Alba Optics only design at the moment, but comes in a huge variety of colour combos. The original version from two decades ago looked identical, but this neoteric version has been updated with modern materials.

     

    Read: Racing in the Alps like you’ve never seen it before

     

    We coined the style to “petrol station chic” when we talked about them on our podcast, and referred to this yellow and lime fade colourway as inspired by jelly snakes. Alba Optics calls it Delta GL RV Beetle.

     

    It does look like a jelly snake, though, doesn’t it?

    Alba Optics, Rouleur Desire, April 2018

    Alba Optics, Rouleur Desire, April 2018

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    Alba Optics, Rouleur Desire, April 2018

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