Revo Opens New York Flagship in SoHo

For Cliff Robinson, opening a flagship in New York’s SoHo neighborhood is like coming home.

Robinson, chief executive officer of Revo, the performance sunglass brand, was born and raised just a few blocks north in Greenwich Village and spent a lot of time in his youth shopping and dining in SoHo.

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“It’s a huge privilege to me to open here,” he said. “It’s like home base.”

Revo is the sole brand in the portfolio of B. Robinson, a longtime designer and manufacturer of branded and private label eyewear founded in 1926 by Cliff Robinson’s grandfather, Ben Robinson, that purchased Revo in 2018 with a team of private investors.

Last year, Revo opened its first physical location in Barcelona, but the 500-square-foot space at 436 West Broadway marks its entry into the brick-and-mortar world in the U.S.

Robinson said it took 18 months of searching throughout the city to settle on the site. “We knew we wanted to be in New York and we needed to be in SoHo. And we got lucky when this space became available. The stars aligned.”

Although the space that formerly housed a scooter store is small, it’s big enough to showcase the entire Revo collection as well as an assortment of brand-related artifacts and some vintage products. The store carries the men’s and women’s lifestyle collection, sport performance line and ski goggles. Custom prescription sunglasses and limited-edition styles will also be offered in the store. “We’re giving fans an overview of the entire collection in one place,” he said.

Revo sunglasses
The Revo store offers the brand’s entire collection.

The Revo brand was founded in 1985 by NASA astrophysicist and optical engineer Dr. Mitch Ruda, who created lenses for sunglasses based on the polarized technology developed by NASA as solar protection for satellites. Today, it has branched out into audio-capable models as well collaborations with Hall of Fame golfer Annika Sorenstam, Olympic gold medal skier Bode Miller and adventurer Bear Grylls.

Robinson said since acquiring the brand, B. Robinson has sought to be “a good steward” of the “only premium independently owned sunglass brand.” Although Revo had been on hiatus when it was purchased — “We like to say it was resting,” he said — once it changed hands, its new owner set out to reestablish a wholesale presence and launch an online business.

Under its former owner, Luxottica, Revo product was only available at its Sunglass Hut optical chain. “But once it was no longer at Sunglass Hut, we knew omnichannel was the right strategy,” Robinson said.

The goal with the store is to not only showcase the entire collection but to engage customers with key points in its history. As a result, the right side of the store features a poster of Pete Conrad, the third man to walk on the moon, who was the first Revo ambassador, as well as photos of Sorenstam, Miller and Grylls, along with a framed sweatshirt owned by the founder and other memorabilia. There’s also a 1986 Sports Illustrated cover with quarterback Jim McMahon, who had also been a Revo ambassador back in the day, wearing Revo shades.

The photos are joined on that side of the store by a selection of vintage sunglasses from the ’80s that sell for $799. Limited-edition product as well as the Sonic collection of Bluetooth-enabled glasses are also offered here.

Revo SoHo store
The memorabilia wall in the Revo store.

The left side of the store showcases the core of the collection, which ranges in price from $200 to $350.

The mix in the store is pretty evenly split between men’s and women’s, which represents a more concentrated focus on female styles than those found in wholesale accounts where Robinson said Revo is seen primarily as a men’s brand.

Looking forward, Robinson said he is “actively looking” for other locations in South Florida, Texas and Southern California as well as resort areas around the country. An uptown location in New York is also a possibility.

“We’re never going to be 100 stores,” he said, “but our goal is to open five to 10 locations over the next 24 to 26 months in key markets for our fans.”

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