2020 collection watch: 5 emerging labels

Handpicked by Eyestylist.com: The start of a new decade is good reason to showcase our pick of the emerging labels in independent eyewear – from around the world. Here are five we think deserve special attention for their unique design approach, experimental character or dedication to research and genuine aspirations to produce good design with creative inspiration.

1. LAURENCE D’ARI, Antwerp, Belgium

Combining chic styling and made in Italy quality in sunglass designs for women, designer Laurence Bourguignon comes to eyewear having collected frames for most of her lifetime. Her unique style is beautifully represented in the sunglasses collection 2019, where oversized shapes with organic “wavy” details are proposed in beautiful minimal and classical colours with feminine grace. We look forward to seeing more from the brand in the next 12 months. See the Eyestylist 2019 post at https://www.eyestylist.com/2019/08/chic-with-character-laurence-dari-antwerp/www.laurencedari.com

We Are Annu from Germany

2. WE ARE ANNU, Germany

The team at start-up We are Annu are inspiring, enthusiastic and quietly confident and with good reason. Their products speak for themselves – mixing technical precision, minimal design and comfort. They launched at opti in Munich in 2019 and since then they have grown quickly to a team of 18. Find out more at interview at https://www.eyestylist.com/2019/12/we-are-annu/

Model Oceana in Watermelon

3. TYCH AND ISET, Los Angeles

The new collection by young designer Morganne Leigh – and specifically the Las Iguanas design – is one of the frames currently our wish list for 2020. Inspired by the flora and fauna of the Galapagos in the Pacific, this is a bold and beautiful statement range of sunglasses by a female creative to watch out for in the New Year. We happen to know there are exciting new things in the works. Find out more at https://www.eyestylist.com/2019/10/the-galapagos-collection-by-tyche-iset/

VAERK no 301 in black

4. VAERK, Copenhagen

This new label from Denmark is getting good reviews for its balance of style and technical precision, proposing designs that have a lovely Scandinavian minimalist feel achieved in high-class materials such as carbon and stainless steel. The beautiful technical hinge is a collaborative design with industrial design duo Harrit-Sørensen. See our first feature on Vaerk Copenhagen at www.eyestylist.com/2019/10/silmo-paris-notes-on-whats-to-come/ 

LIEN – gold eyewear accessories label

5. LIEN ATELIER, Hong Kong

Film director Jenny Suen has launched this new accessories label, designed exclusively for women. Determined to bring a fine jewellery style to the eyewear chain, Jenny’s first collection offers chains in 18K gold with pretty freshwater pearls. The chains are already stocked in some very unique fashion stores and opticians in Europe and Asia. Find out more at https://www.eyestylist.com/2019/10/exclusive-lien-atelier-jewellery-chains/

2019: frames to remember

While anticipation rises in December for what’s to come, it’s also a good time to look back at what’s caught our eye…here are five frames by independent designers we think you’ll remember for some time to come. To see more of our selections visit our Reviews at https://www.eyestylist.com/category/reviews/

Kirk and Kirk have been flying the flag for colourful eyewear yet again in 2019 and their tones of hot pink and fuchsia or elegant sage (above, cat’s eye model Esme in the Centena collection in sage – https://www.eyestylist.com/2019/03/kk-expressive-video-centennial-celebration/) have helped pave the way for another brightly colored year of independent eyewear in 2020. Model Jasmine in the Spectrum collection was also a particularly outstanding statement design in eye-popping hot pink and we’ve spotted it in stores, far and wide. www.kirkandkirk.com

Delicieuse at Lafont Paris – the ultimate floral statement

Model Delicieuse by Lafont Paris was a memorable feature of the summer collections in 2019 with its incredible floral composition (see https://www.eyestylist.com/2018/09/silmo-spec-tacular/). Launched at the Paris trade fair in 2018, this artistic capsule line went on to enjoy much publicity and praise for its complex design and enamel and crystal treatments. www.lafontparis.com

Malina Sunglasses by You Mawo

You Mawo produce made-to-measure 3D printed frames with everyday qualities such as lightness and comfort and a style that is minimal and modern. Alongside the collection they produce some spectacular limited editions – Malina, from early 2019 (featured by Eyestylist at https://www.eyestylist.com/2019/02/you-mawo-limited-edition-malina/) was inspired by the Inuits and has a narrow oval lens shape with eye-catching black Polyamide rim. Find out more at www.youmawo.com

Late 1970s punk influences at Kuboraum – Sid Vicious Capsule

Mask A1 ‘Pretty Vacant’ in the Sid Vicious Capsule is one of eight terrific, creative, rebellious frame designs decorated with safety pins, spikes, metal studs and stacked piercings, achieved through very committed artisan techniques and carving, burning and painting, turning the surfaces “into raw foundations of graffiti splashed walls” to echo the Sex Pistols’ lyrics. This Kuboraum collection is outstanding, good fun, and one of several series we’ve had an eye on this season. www.kuboraum.com

Bocca Song – FACE A FACE

Bocca Song is a titanium frame by FACE A FACE. The Bocca frames are well known for wearing shoes or boots, and on this occasion the boot design is achieved with a cut-out design. The detail makes a perfect companion to the double upper rim of the front which provides a flattering “airy” look when worn on the face. A truly unique design from Pascal Jaulent. www.faceaface-paris.com

To see more of our frame reviews in 2019, visit www.eyestylist.com/category/reviews/

Ones to watch at 100%, London – 2020 edition

By Clodagh Norton  – The 100% trade fair in London promises a huge display of eyewear collections in January, alongside the latest tech, lens releases and state-of-the-art optical equipment for opticians and optical practices. Their growing “studio area” for independent labels will welcome new additions for the 2020 show – among which the fair organisers highlight Coral Eyewear (www.coraleyewear.com), an eco-friendly frame producer, and Kaleos, the Barcelona brand offering innovative fashion frames at affordable prices. Above: model Pollitt by Kaleos – released this month in new colours. Find out more: www.kaleoscollection.com

Scenario by Ørgreen Optics

Titanium frames remain hugely popular this season and Ørgreen Optics will showcase some of their highly successful minimal modern styles – named after infamous rap tunes. The strong lines and contemporary details of these frames exude originality and freedom of expression. Find out more at www.orgreenoptics.com

Perspective Loop by Gotti Switzerland

Returning to the London show for 2020, Gotti Switzerland is one of the fair’s prestigious luxury exhibitors and a key innovator in eyewear design: their ultralight, minimal Perspective collection was launched in 2017 and has seen some original new editions including the Perspective “Loop” series (2019 launch) with delicate 3D printed matt polyamide rims – a must see at 100%. www.gotti.ch

Bolly Wool by Woow Eyewear

Woow is already a favourite French collection at 100% – much loved by the UK market for its bright quirky designs and creative colour combinations. The latest limited edition was the Bolly Wool capsule, inspired by “Bollywood” with Mandala patterns on temples and spiced-up tonal mixes of cardamom, saffron, mint and red pepper. Frames from the collection can be seen at www.wooweyewear.com

SALT. Optics from California: timeless design, quality construction

SALT. Optics is one of the most distinctive of the US brands attending the 100% fair for 2020. SALT. enjoys a strong relationship with the UK, with the ophthalmic and sun collections available at some of the most unique British independent optical retailers. Their latest designs will go on show at the exhibition, packed with wonderful classic shapes re-interpreted with modern elements and uplifting nature-inspired colours. Find out more: www.saltoptics.com

Kayla by Lara D’

Lara D’ by Lara D’Alpaos comes to London from the Italian spectacle-making region of Belluno. The latest range includes laminated acetate frames characterised by clean, well defined lines and lovely colour combinations that offer a bold and fresh perspective for the New Year. Find our more at www.laradeyewear.com

100% Optical will take place from 25-27th January 2020 at ExCel exhibition centre, London. The event is exclusively for trade and showcases an overview of eyewear, lenses, optical equipment and business services. A selection of independent brands attend the event each year. A sustainability angle has been added to the fair in recent weeks. The organisers have promised to plant a tree in the name of every optical professional who signs up for the show between now and 8th January and who attends the show from 25th to 27th January, “to recognise and do something positive about the climate emergency.”

For more information visit www.100percentoptical.com – This feature was written by Clodagh Norton. All rights reserved.

Pantone colour 2020: Classic Blue

Poised. Self-assured. And elegant in its simplicity. Pantone also describes its colour of the coming year as multi-sensory, suggestive of the sky at dusk and reassuring in its qualities, while encouraging us to look beyond the obvious to expand our thinking.

In eyewear, blue has always held its own, across a spectrum of dark to light tones, from sky to indigo, and turquoise to lapis. Just because the classic blue is back on trend, all blueish hues are likely to see a revival or revamp, through mono, combo and gradient proposals, all of which will have a different style and look for the face. Above: acetate model Brian by Ørgreen Optics. For some of the acetate frames in this new line, colour designer Sahra Lysell says there are as many as three different tones in one single frame. The subtle colour pictured is called ‘Gradient Blue Sand Grey’. www.orgreenoptics.com

Get Hired by Woow Eyewear; a dark translucent blue in an easy mix with a hint of brown and a bright red temple tip

The new Get Hired frame at Woow proposes an artistic mix of tones with a translucent effect in the blue acetate. See more styles at www.wooweyewear.com

Lemon Curd by theo – Layer Cake series – an eletric blue with a dark blue inner rim

The Layer Cake series by theo is inspired by the sweetest desserts you can imagine, from Black Forest gateaux to Coconut Cream. The colour combinations subtly hint at the effect of the layers (as above in solid blue with a dark inner rim on the eye shape) or combine very different tones to ‘really stand out!’ Find out more at www.theo.be. Pantone’s colour of the year 2020 is 10-4052 / Classic Blue. By Clodagh Norton

Japanese designers: Ue-Shita by Padma Image

Padma Image, the Japanese independent eyewear line (which is yet to arrive in Europe) continues to inspire us with its asymmetrical spectacles and experimental design work which is always surprising, skilful and unique in presentation. The new “Ue-Shita” translates “Top and Under” – it combines the quirky style of the frame which has a half-rimless asymmetrical construction with bright colours and patterns inspired by the painter Ichiro Yamaguchi and his work TONE – recreated in the frame with care with a UV layered printing technique.

Artist Ichiro Yamaguchi’s work as inspiration –  TONE

Padma Image by young designer Meiji Hasui looks forward to launching in Europe shortly. Eyestylist has been following the brand since 2014. See earlier models at: https://www.eyestylist.com/2014/11/rotary-no-50/  https://www.eyestylist.com/2015/06/eyestylist-talks-to-yuuki-hasui/ – For more information: www.padmaimage.com CN

We Are Annu: 3D printed

Emerging label We Are Annu represent the new-generation of innovators in 3D printed eyewear from Germany. Having created their brand amongst friends four years ago, they are now evolving their output and creative direction through shared values, commitment to quality and a genuine desire to innovate. The brand currently specializes in durable, lightweight 3D-printed frames and uses a screwless titanium “Clip” hinge which lends a flexible and robust structure to the design. They also offer a choice of temple size and nose pad, giving an adaptable fit for all face shapes and sizes.

We are Annu is a start-up with a particular design and philosophy. Can you explain how you set up and who the team is? We started in summer 2016, and over the past three years, the team has grown from a single person alone in a workshop, to a group of eighteen of us. Most of whom are also shareholders. We developed it this way because we wanted to create a team of young people who could make something happen together and at the same time, for themselves. Our sense of ownership and responsibility to one another is what makes our brand unique. And this approach has proved a success for us – over and over again.  

We Are Annu: flexible, hard-wearing and lightweight – made in Nuremberg, Germany

As a young, creative company, what are your aspirations? Our focus is simple, we aspire to make the best possible product. That is why we spend considerable time on the details, working and reworking solutions. Our approach is that of continued refinement through an iterative design process because we want to continue to make it better. The end goal for us is design-simplicity, executed with intelligence and mastery – which isn’t easy to achieve. If we succeed, that will be another story. But for now, we keep hold of the idea as a belief and a working process to keep chasing – we push ourselves forward.

We Are Annu: sleek Japanese titanium temples

What has your experience been so far as a start-up in this business? It is a very competitive market, so we have to choose carefully where to put our energy. And for us, it’s the product, the customers and the opticians every time. These are the most important things to us. Good people and good products. We are now looking forward to establishing long-lasting relationships and forging new ones as we grow our business, and so far, it has been amazing.

It is incredible to think that we only launched in opti in 2019, so we are not even a year old officially. And we have found ourselves on this super exciting journey with so many great people.

From where do you draw inspiration? We are very passionate about creativity and culture and draw inspiration from many places. Art, design, music, the whole creative spectrum really. At the root of this, are the folks behind the work, this is what we are inspired by, people.

We are currently developing an exciting platform called Friends of Annu, and this is where we present the stories of interesting people we know and like. It is still in its infancy, but we hope to build it into something comprehensive. Eventually, it will become an editorial archive of real people and their stories. It is partly a labour of love, but we think a good one.

We Are Annu: glasses with minimal proportions

Are you working together in one office or are you in different places?  Both really, we are a German company based in Nuremberg, and we have an office and workshop here, but we also have members of our team who work remotely out of Amsterdam, Tel-Aviv and Berlin.

We try to meet at least three times a year for full team workshops and to communicate daily through different communication and productivity platforms. It is incredible how connected we are by technology, it has revolutionized how we work and what we can achieve.

What are your plans for 2020? We are looking forward to each and every step along the way. Like I said earlier, we are dedicated to the details and are in a constant process of development – in all areas of our business. It could be design innovation, R&D, brand design, sales, manufacture, the team, everything. It’s all happening.

We have a new collection to present at the Munich trade fair in January. We will be showing what we believe to be the lightest eyewear on the market, and the frames are absolutely beautiful. Find out more: https://weareannu.com  Clodagh Norton interviewed Iddo Zimmermann, Co-Founder, We Are Annu.

All rights reserved.

Reinventing vintage: ‘pince-nez’ inspiration

Art Deco Vintage Oxford: TVR® (True Vintage Revival), Japan

Inspired by the classic pince-nez spectacles from the early days of the Renaissance and the late 1800s, when eyeglasses became a highly popular style statement amongst the bourgeoisie, the two new models from the Japanese independent label TVR® work on transforming much loved antique styling into 21st century wearable design. The frames are made in Sabae, Japan, the heart of eyewear production in the country and a place that is revered for its level of artisan quality, workmanship and traditional handcrafting. Above: The new TVR® 525, a round eye shape available in a selection of colours, including antique gold or silver.

Inspiration: a pince-nez without temples, c late 1800s.

Both TVR® 525 (top) and TVR® 526 are also the brand’s first collection made entirely in pure Japanese SPM. From the frame to the temples and bridge, the exquisite round and Panto shapes are patented in the material for exclusivity. The metal temples are also engraved with intricate gold-filled design akin to original vintage Art Deco patterns, worked upon by master craftsmen with exceptional skill and know-how.

TVR® 525 (round shape) + TVR® 526 (panto shape): inspired by the “Oxford” spectacle style of yesteryear

Developed by Shintaro Kato in 1930 in Japan, SPM is a precious metal alloy. It was a rare commodity at that time, and cherished by Japan’s Showa royal family for its hardiness, resistance and compatibility with human skin. As such, the export of raw SPM material was not permitted at the time. Today, its remarkable characteristics make it popular in dental accessories and tools for plastic surgery, and TVR® is one of few labels who use it with creativity and passion in eyewear. Despite the name, SPM doesn’t contain platinum — instead, it refers to the soft platinum colour after it has been polished. More importantly, the material retains its shine even after a long period of time. The 68-year-old master craftsman Kanamaru Harumi is behind the production of the two new SPM metal frames from TVR® (True Vintage Revival) – Japan. Find out more about the brand TVR® at www.tvropt.com

Paradigm 19-11

A brand new line with a youthful vision, committed to frames for everyday wear: Paradigm is offering a striking balance of style and value, with “something for everyone” in terms of details and tonal combinations. Launched in 2019, the collection offers a series of modern everyday basics, like the 19-11 geometric shape, in well-matched contemporary materials and colorations with a twist. Model 19-11 combines an acetate rim inside a thin metal structure – produced in gold or rose gold (as a sun or optical style). Top image: Model/stylist Garret Gooch (www.garretgooch.com) wears Paradigm model 19-11. 

Paradigm model 19-11

The independent Paradigm brand was designed by a team of creatives at Kenmark Eyewear (USA) – to be very diverse, fitting a wide variety of faces, ethnicities, ages and personal styles. For more details visit the Kenmark website at www.kenmarkeyewear.com

Swiss design, Sol Sol Ito: 044 DF

Swiss design label Sol Sol Ito has some memorable shapes amongst its ‘Original’ collection, of which the 039 and 035 are two of the standout shapes (find more of the models at https://www.eyestylist.com/2019/05/sol-sol-ito-captivating-sun-styles-that-sizzle/). This month, another standout one has joined the series, based on a classic teardrop pilot shape with a beautiful double bridge. A close inspection reveals a slight lift on the upper rim and a svelte ‘sculpted’ lower rim, typical of the 1970s (both the acetate and metal designs in this genre).

044 DF: the makings of an icon at Sol Sol Ito, Switzerland

Colours at Sol Sol Ito come together as if from an artist’s palette, with some of the most outstanding yet subtle graduated tones we are currently seeing and a choice of rich hues as well as transparent ‘crystal’ pastel tones. The new 044 DF frame is offered in hand polished yellow-green, brown-orange and beige-gold – paired with the lightweight modular ‘click-in’ temples,  the design of which Sol Sol Ito has become especially well-known.

Sol Sol Ito glasses and sunglasses are produced by design duo Monika Fink (designer/sculptor) and Sandra Kaufmann (co-head, industrial design, Zurich University) in Switzerland. Their sun and optical collections are stocked by some of the finest opticians worldwide including Auerbach & Steele (London). For more details and further stockists, visit www.solsolito.com. Above: Photography for Sol Sol Ito by Hans Hansen.

John Lennon’s glasses in London auction

Sotheby’s to auction items from across The Beatles’s career including iconic Oliver Goldsmith wire-framed sunspecs

Described by the auction house as “The most iconic sunglasses in rock and roll history”, the round metal rimmed glasses were given to Lennon for a role in the film ‘How I Won the War’ and caught on as his signature look. They later came into the possession of The Beatles’s’ chauffeur, Alan Herring, left behind in the back of his Mercedes.

John Lennon sunglasses by Oliver Goldsmith c. 1966 – owned by chauffeur Alan Herring and now going to auction

“In the summer of 1968 I had picked John up with Ringo and George in Ringo’s Mercedes and driven the boys into the office,” recalls Herring. “When John got out of the car I noticed he’d left these sunglasses on the back seat and one lens and one arm had become disconnected. I asked John if he’d like me to get them fixed for him. He told me not to worry, they were just for the look! He said he’d send out for some that fit. I never did get them mended – I just kept them as they were as John had left them.”

Archive image of model Cluj – which was available in three colours. Image by kind permission of Oliver Goldsmith Sunglasses

The glasses themselves were a version of the model ‘Cluj’ (see above) and an example with the same gold finish is still to be found in the Oliver Goldsmith Sunglasses London archive, according to Claire Goldsmith, Oliver’s great granddaughter and custodian to an extensive rare collection of Oliver Goldsmith original frames with a rich and fascinating history. Claire said: “John Lennon was renowned for his eyewear and in particular the round metal frames we made for him. To be the brand that designed them is something we are very proud of.”

An original silkscreen poster, 1200 x 905mm., c.1967, pinholes in each corner (from the Apple Boutique) – with reference to John’s iconic round eyeglasses

The Beatles sale includes a number of other curious items including the psychedelic portrait of Lennon by Larry Smart (above). Also up for sale are a semi-acoustic guitar owned by George Harrison (guide price £40,000 to £60,000), shirts worn by the band, a parking ticket, and a collection of items from the homes of The Beatles, which include a toaster.

In 2007, a pair of Lennon’s sunglasses – worn during the band’s 1966 tour of Japan –  were expected to fetch £1 million pounds, according to The Telegraph. The final amount paid for the glasses was never disclosed.  (https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1559161/John-Lennons-sunglasses-sold-at-auction.html).

The Sotheby’s auction takes place online from 2pm GMT on 6th December 2019 – 13th December 2019. For more information visit www.sothebys.com . All rights reserved. Photography: @ Sotheby’s Auction House / PA

Note after publication: the frames sold for £137,500 in the auction in December 2019.

Innovation 2020: opti Munich, Germany

Must-sees at the Munich fair – a packed fair is coming for January 2020

The Munich fair is expecting a busy turnout at the start of 2020. From emerging labels right through to historic eyewear brands, the showcase of eyewear collections at this important event gives a thorough overview of design developments, shining the spotlight on young innovators, creators as well as a host of high-profile fashion eyewear designers.

One of the standouts every year at opti – for artisan frames – is Res/Rei Italy, a small label with a dedicated following, owing to their creative style and close collaboration with Mazzucchelli which results in some very unique and detailed acetate materials. Their products are excellent with many unique and creative shapes and timeless qualities. We also particularly enjoy their covetable jewellery line – made from the leftover acetates – and offering a very chic and special design, with colours that match up with frames. Above: model Begonia from the nature-inspired Flowers collection at Res/Rei – different acetates combine and overlap with each other like the petals of exotic flowers. The frame is pictured in a pink/light pink colorway matched with plain grey lenses. Find out more at www.resrei.com

Eton Mess by theo – © 2018 copyright protected Artworks,
Photography & Graphic Design!

Belgian design innovators theo have had a particularly spectacular raft of designs launched through 2019, with highlights including their mouth-watering Layer Cake series – featuring titanium plate designs created with two different layers.

At opti, theo will release a completely new “typically theo” eyewear family which they tell us is “warm, soft and comforting yet strong, powerful and unyielding, like….sand.” Check their new website at www.theo.be for more details about their collections.

The sleek Alium Race 2 by FACE A FACE – advanced aluminium eyewear, inspired by the sports aviator shape

The Alium collection is always a must-see at the FACE A FACE stand. This is a very distinctive line with focus on men’s eyewear where a balance of technological excellence and a modern approach to colour offers something quite beautiful and different to wear. See more Alium frames at www.faceaface-paris.com

We Are Annu return to the opti boxes for 2020

We are Annu launched their collection at opti this year (check our Eyestylist opti review 2019 – www.eyestylist.com/2019/02/exceptional-design-at-opti/). We admire both the imaginative concept of paper clip inspired frames and their commitment to innovation and team success. A must-see for opti – find out more at www.weareannu.com

SALT. Optics: designed in California, made in Japan

SALT. Optics travels from California for the opti event, with a collection inspired by nature and produced with rigorous Japanese quality driven techniques. Alongside the main line collection, the brand has launched some must-see fashion-focused collabs, which include SALT. + Second Layer and SALT. + Fred Segal where attention to detail and shared values such as quality materials have resulted in exceptional limited editions. www.saltoptics.com

opti – the international trade show for optics & design, takes place at Fairground Munich from 10th to 12th January, 2020. Registration is now open to trade visitors at www.opti.de. Written by Clodagh Norton – all rights reserved.

Gift guide: Diffuser Tokyo accessories

Gift guide: Diffuser Tokyo eyewear accessories and leather jewellery for men and women

Diffuser’s range of accessories is part focused on eyewear, and part jewellery in its own right. Designed by Masaki Hirose who saw a lack of well-designed products in natural materials such as leather, the collection is extensive and well curated, expanding into neck cords and bracelets, as well as cases and cotton eyewear pouches in chic two-colour palettes.

Accessories at Diffuser Tokyo

Already popular in capital cities and stocked by department stores including Daimaru in Tokyo and the most exclusive optical retailers such as Decora, the brand has been recently “discovered” by European retailers and is gradually becoming more widely available in cities such as Paris and Berlin. Find them at Schoenhelden (Berlin), KLAR (Darmstadt, Germany), L’Artisan du Regard (Paris), Dunoyer Opticiens (Paris) and Bromptons Brighton (UK). Click on the link to view more products: https://diffuser-tokyo.com CN