JOHN SAILER: What makes Silmo unique in the world of events?
AMÉLIE MOREL: Silmo is unique because it’s in Paris! Silmo is the industry’s longest running trade fair, the very first in this sector to be established. But even more than that, its components are what provide its dynamism and make it such a unique event: a cross-cutting offering, an international reputation, a rich and varied events program, a relaxed atmosphere.
SAILER: This is the 50th anniversary of the show. Obviously, you personally haven’t been around for all of them, but your family has.
MOREL: Yes, Morel has been exhibiting since the beginning. The show was launched back in 1967 in Oyonnax, and we have never missed a single edition. So I was both moved and proud to preside over this major exhibition for the first time as it celebrated its 50th anniversary.
SAILER: Even though most people are familiar with your company, can you provide a little background?
MOREL: Morel was created in 1880 by my great-grandfather. We are the fourth generation. I work together with my two brothers, Jerome and Francis. It’s a family business that has been recognized worldwide for its design and expertise in eyewear. We have won awards that are testimony to this expertise: Silmo d’Or Awards, the RedDot Design Award and the IF Design Award. At Morel, we are more convinced than ever that the product must remain the central focus of our business.
SAILER: What has changed over the last 50 years that Silmo has been in existence?
MOREL: The main development has been the size of the market, which has become global, leading to ever greater competition between the various players: eyewear manufacturers, fashion and luxury brand concessions, young designers, etc. Since the 1980s, young companies have injected new life into the eyewear sector. Identified by the Silmo organizers at that time, they were brought together under the “Village” umbrella, which has gone from strength to strength and remains in sync with changing times. This is one of the challenges for future editions of Silmo, which must be able to respond to market developments and anticipate change.
The Silmo d’Or Award is our most attended event, and it’s meant to promote the innovation, the creation, the fashion of our industry. This year, the Silmo d’Or Award was presented at a party in The Grand Palais that was very exciting and majestic.
This year, with the 50th anniversary, there were many new things going on with an even fuller events program and a spectacular and festive approach. We also debuted a layout designed to showcase exhibitors in an innovative way, with a view to displaying the different businesses in a more diverse manner. This will feature more prominently in upcoming editions as we continue to reflect on this development.
SAILER: What can you tell us about the film, Silmo 2017, that was also released this year?
MOREL: One small part was about the history over the past 50 years, but we also wanted to show the future, so it is a very contemporary film. This is a video clip retracing the different components of the exhibition, with an introduction dedicated to fashion and trends along with a vision for the future. We were not looking to produce a “historical” film but rather to demonstrate Silmo’s commitment to remain ever focused on the future. Naturally, this is a futuristic vision, though we can safely assume that new technologies will radically transform the optics and eyewear sector over the course of the next 50 years.
SAILER: What does it predict for the future?
MOREL: Not necessarily in the film, but I think the future holds great opportunities for opticians because many young people are using iPhones and iPads, so they need glasses, and people are getting older and older, so they will need glasses too.