Siu - Acetate vs TX5

Production - Acetate

Firstly, let’s talk about acetate and what I have experienced as a wearer. Acetate is made from a cotton-based fibre which sounds great for the environment. However, that depends on what chemicals are used during the process of turning the fibre into a block of plastic.

Once it is in a block it is sliced into sheets, then machines cut out different parts of the frame from the sheet. The flat sheet frame parts are then heated slightly to form the shape of the frame.

Production - TX5

So, that is the backstory of acetate and now let’s talk about TX5. It is going to sound a bit scientific; it is very clever. TX5 is an aromatic, transparent co-polyamide developed specifically for frame making within the manufacturing processes STEPPER EYEWEAR have developed. Transported and stored as pellets it is heated into a liquid where a specialist machine injects the hot liquid into a 3D frame mould. As the liquid is being injected, a cooling system is working alongside, setting the TX5 into its final shape.

Once it cools down, voilà, you have a frame. The best bit is, the hinges and any holes for screws can be set in place before the liquid is being injected. This is great because they then become part of the frame and therefore reduce the chance of any weak points. There is no need to drill any holes into the frame for screws which can of course also weaken the frame.

Wearability - Acetate

Now we know what happens in production, let's focus on wearability. There are some beautiful colours with acetate frames which is great, but one of my biggest bug bears with acetate is the weight. They are fairly heavy and with my prescription, the lenses really do add extra weight on top. This means they can feel uncomfortable when you wear them day in, day out. Also, acetate loses their shape easier from everyday wear and the more you adjust the frame, the more stress you are adding to the acetate. The more you try to screw and unscrew the frames, the looser they will get because the screws will wear the acetate down eventually.

Wearability - TX5

With TX5 the colour variations you can achieve are almost endless. You can literally add whatever colour you want so that is a massive box tick for me. From a wearer's perspective the TX5 is so light, even with my prescription lenses, they still feel light. Due to the way TX5 frames are produced and the type of plastic it is, they are very stable, strong and flexible which is exactly what you want from a frame. They also retain their shape very well.

Asian fit - Acetate

I mentioned how both materials are produced but how does that make a difference with Asian fit frames? With acetate, to achieve an Asian fit is more complex because it needs a lot of shaping and sanding. Often, acetate does not contain nose pads and instead has a raised nose bridge. As you can imagine that takes more work.  It then needs heat to shape it into the right angle.

Asian fit - TX5

Whereas with TX5, the mould is already made to the right specification for an Asian fit frame. Therefore, you know the fit will be perfect. On top of that the nose pad setting will already be in place during the moulding process so you know it will be immersed into the frame. As I mentioned earlier there is no need to make holes for screws. My personal preference is nose pads because you can adjust them to fit your face. I have fairly long eyelashes too, so I can adjust them to accommodate.

Which one to pick?

I think picking a frame is a very personal choice but I feel with information, you can make an informed choice. If you like a frame with a bit of weight behind it and you prefer not to have nose pads, then acetate is the choice for you.

However, if you are like me, love a light frame, like the endless choice of colour and nose pads then TX5 is the one for you. Another reason why I like TX5 is because the process used to make them seems more environmentally friendly. As you can imagine cutting frames from a block of acetate and then cutting each individual part of a frame out, a lot must go to waste. With injecting into a mould it almost completely eliminates waste.

Going from my own experience (I own a lot of frames). I have always struggled with acetate because the weight combined with my prescription is not a good mix. On the other hand I also find screws on my acetate frames do come loose quicker than I'd like. A higher nose bridge to cater for an Asian nose doesn’t always work for me either and I struggle when I wear mascara, my lashes are forever brushing against the lenses and I cannot adjust them to make room for them.

As soon as I tried the STEPPER TX5, I knew they were the perfect choice of material for me.


Written by Siu