TRENDS: LEAD, FOLLOW OR …

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Just as spring follows winter and the fashion-conscious follow trends, the eyewear designs of the coming seasons follow those that were introduced at the many trade shows held at the beginning of the year, in particular MIDO and Vision Expo East.

You’ll find some of the styles from these two events in this issue of VCPN on the “Trade Show Trends” spread. There you’ll see nature-inspired designs, jewel-encrusted frames, materials in multiple combinations and colors from subtle grays to bold and bright primaries, just to name a few of the designs in store for your frame boards.
In addition, at the start of this year’s Vision Expo East, as in years past, The Vision Council enlisted the assistance of a trend-forecasting organization to do just that for show attendees, forecast trends. Based on today’s culture, retailing techniques, popular fiction and current events broadcast across all forms of media, The Donegar Group shared with us what they perceive as influential and predicted what’s to come.

It was a lot, from artisanal chic to futuristic shapes and from sparkling glitter to modern geo frames, their forecasts covered a wide range of predictions encompassing seemingly anyone who might wear eyeglasses or sunglasses, literally everyone. We also reached out to influential eyecare professionals to get their take on the shapes, colors and materials that are hot for 2018 (see “Crystal Ball,” page 32).

Just as April showers bring May flowers in gardens full of seemingly infinite varieties of colors, shapes, sizes and textures, so too do all of these forecasts and trade show trends blossom with seemingly unlimited colors, shapes, sizes and textures; enough variation for the multitudes of different consumers wearing them. Everything for everyone.

But when you ask the trailblazers themselves, such as the many fashion designers and other style leaders who we have interviewed over the years and continue to engage in the pages of VCPN, those fashion leaders who set the standards will invariably suggest that true style is following your own vision, creating your own fashion sense and sticking with it.

Nothing addresses that suggestion of self stylization more than the customized, digitally scanned, 3D-printed eyewear technologies popping up everywhere, particularly at the previously mentioned two trendsetting trade shows, MIDO and Vision Expo East. It was there that we saw technologies that take 360° scans of individuals’ faces, sending those digitized measurements to software in which customized eyewear can be created and then 3D printed for a precise fit. OKIA, Clear3D, Eyenavision’s Roger Bacon, Specsy, 3DNA are just a few of the companies that are making this technology a reality.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again with conviction as the technologies that can make it happen quickly come to fruition, one day we’ll have the capability of building kiosks that automatically take our refractions, precisely measure our faces, enable us to select from a virtual catalog of frames that we customize to our own shapes and tastes that are then 3D printed into a frame and lens combination, a complete pair of eyeglasses, that are quickly and automatically dispensed right before our eyes. It could happen, and I was even more encouraged that this will one day become true when I witnessed the installation and launch of the world’s first 3D lens printing technology last year.

Until then, however, we’ll look to the frame manufacturers (and the trade shows at which they exhibit) to set the trends, to go large or small, subtle or bold, intricate or simple. Just as I am confident that customized automated eyewear technology is on the horizon, I’m sure that it’s still a way off, and there are many years to come during which the frame designers and manufacturers will be the leading style trendsetters in eyewear.

Email me at JSailer@FVMG.com

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