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FEATURE/NEWS


San Diego Uptown News | Apr. 1–14, 2011


The UnOptical Store 1010 University Ave., Ste. C109 92103


(619) 955-5369 theunoptical.com


Visit theunoptical.com, and you’ll quickly realize it isn’t your typical eyeglass store. The UnOptical was born from an idea that’s alien to most mere humans: “Eyewear can be cool and affordable.”


Owners Jim Wojcicki and Jean-Rene Dunn, partners in both work and life, strive to create an environment that’s easy to shop in. There aren’t any pushy sales people, and we give honest opinions, “Ma’am, that’s a great look,...for street walking!”


Our store is filled with products (more than 3,000 units), considerably more than your typical doctor’s office or mall store. Jim listens to customers’ needs and wants and then buys frames and sunglasses accordingly. At the UnOptical, you’ll see everything from handcrafted product (cha-ching) to the brands everyone loves—Ray-Ban, Gucci, Tom Ford—and many more. There’s even “the Big Package,” a frame ’n’ lens package that starts at $113, with more than 300 hundred frames to choose from, so style can be affordable. Heck, you might even try something new and different at that price!


Jim pulls from more than 20 years of retail optical experience as a former corporate mukity-muck for Lenscrafters and Sunglass Hut. “One great thing about the corporate world is… I’m no longer in it,” he explains. But he learned a great deal about the business, even though he prefers having his own store. “What do I like most about it?” he says. “That’s easy—getting to know my customers. I’ve met some wonderful people.”


Art Meets Fashion hopes to infuse creative youth with new ideas. FASHION THE ART BEHIND Worlds collide in project designed to inspire young artists


By Elena Buckley SDUN Reporter


The San Diego Visual Arts Network (SDVAN) and Fashion Opportunities Connect Us (FOCUS) are fus- ing art and fashion with “Art Meets Fashion” (AMF). The collision of San Diego’s art and fashion communities is intended to infuse both communi- ties’ youth with new ideas, and, six months ago, the groups compiled eleven teams, each with an artist, fashion designer, documenter and educator, to com- pile the project.


“Each team had to come up with a theme, but beyond that there were really no restrictions,” said Felena Hanson, an AMF co-founder. “We really en- couraged the teams to be as creative as possible. This was their time to really enjoy the collaboration process and think beyond the bounds of having to make ‘sell- able’ work.”


Each team’s objective was to show what happened behind closed doors. Hanson emphasized on the AMF website how important this component was and how valuable documenting the creative process could be. Documenters videotaped behind-the-scenes as artists and designers worked, while educators translated the entire creative process into a curriculum for San Diego County teachers to use in their classrooms. “The ultimate goal beyond bringing to life the art community in San Diego is also putting it out in the community … and showing kids that they can pursue a career in the arts if they want to,” said Kim Richards, AMF public relations liaison.


Sharing a behind-the-scenes view of how art and


fashion are created gives local teens the rare opportu- nity of seeing San Diego’s vibrant arts community first hand, she adds.


Liz Fautsch, the documenter for team UME— which explored the idea of multiculturism— also expressed the importance of sharing the work. “I’m a yoga teacher, and I teach at-risk youth,” said Fautsch. “I love taking something that’s considered ‘rarefied’—like yoga, art, fashion—out of the studio and into the world. The education component of this


Art piece by Team N-GOM. FROM PAGE 1 PROJECT


gram and the City Heights Rede- velopment Housing Enhancement Home Program (HELP). “We recognize that City Heights is a heavily residential area, which is why we offer the first time home buyer program as well as the HELP program,” Garcia said. “The first time home buyer loan is a forgiv- able loan over 20 years, so long as the homeowner stays in the home and it remains owner-occupied. As long as the terms of the loan are


met, it’s essentially free money to buy with.”


HELP loans, on the other hand,


are geared toward current home owners who wish to make interior or exterior improvements. They are one hundred percent forgiv- able if the terms and conditions of the loan are met. Gloria said that programs like


these, coupled with other small- scale projects, such as storefront improvements, are important to a community still trying to get its head above water. “These programs do more than provide affordable housing, they


see Fashion, page 10


provide opportunities for home ownership, which to many, is part of the American dream,” he said. Gloria said that while City Heights has been blessed with a great deal of philanthropic inter- est, that charitable donations are still a poor substitute for redevel- opment dollars. Other neighborhoods, such as


North Park, are not so fortunate. “We don’t have that type of sup-


port for North Park,” Gloria said. “So while we may be able to do some things, I’m concerned what North Park might be able to do absent of redevelopment funds.”u


PRESENTS mama’s day a mosaic of taste


FRIDAY, MAY 6TH | 6:30 - 9:30PM HOSTED BY


MAJOR SPONSOR Hyatt Regency La Jolla


Savor special dishes created by San Diego’s finest chefs, sip refreshing cocktails and celebrate 20 years of fun!


Tickets may be purchased online at www.mamaskitchen.org or by calling 619-233-6262.


March 17 is UnOptical’s first anniversary. If you haven’t checked it out yet, come in and create a new you by changing your style. There’s even an independent optometrist office inside—Dr Todd Hebert Optometry, providing comprehensive eye exams and contact lenses.


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