At 100% Optical London…

…these colours were standing out…

The UK’s showcase destination for eyewear fashion, 100% Optical, took place last weekend, at the well-known trade venue ExCel in East London. This British trade event for the optics industry presents a cross-section of technical products with a slew of seminars, debates and educational lectures for optical retailers, alongside a broad eyewear fashion “overview” where big and small brands present their lines, side by side.

Among hundreds of different types of eyewear showing across the hall, the creativity, design focus and innovation of the frame industry comes through in the representation of independent labels at the fair; their presence was widened in the 2020 edition with the addition of a small shared section dedicated to emerging talent: Covrt Project (London), Nina Mûr (Madrid), Lunettes Alf (Paris), Lowercase (NYC) and Manu Torres Atelier (Galicia) were particular highlights for lovers of finely crafted, spectacles and sunglasses.

Above: Lowercase from NYC was one of the notable additions in an area dedicated to small labels and newcomers. Built out of a love for eyewear and an appreciation for craftsmanship, Lowercase was established in 2016 by Gerard Masci and Brian Vallario. The team founded the company “with a mission to once again localize the trade of eyewear to the US. Every pair of Lowercase frames is made in the Brooklyn workshop from start to finish….”

Alium Race 2 – FACE A FACE – inspired by the sports aviator

Key colours: Across the show, the freshest statement colours that popped up time and again were bright canary yellow, Pantone “colour of the year” classic blue, and light purple/lilac – with several very pale interpretations of lilac through to pastel pink. The Alium collection by FACE A FACE (above) which combines extremely well aligned technical properties for comfort and longevity offered a mix of vibrant, on-trend colorations with a particularly stunning intensity. www.faceaface-paris.com

Nina Mûr + Malababa collab line – Metrica – Circle in Pale Pink

Nina Mûr from Madrid has a consistent and broad range of eyewear concepts – some created as collaborations. The label is focused on good quality and distinctive design and produces its collections in innovative and sustainable materials – predominantly wood with an artistic palette of tasteful, quality colour finishes. www.ninamur.com

An all-time favourite at 100%: model Cecil by Kirk and Kirk

The colorations at British label Kirk & Kirk are particularly eye-catching in the Centena collection, their unique acrylic line. Centena has some new “matt additions” shown at 100% for the first time and reported here: www.eyestylist.com/2020/01/kirk-kirk-centena-2/ – www.kirkandkirk.com

Morel model 30182L

The French label Morel was also exhibiting at 100% this year. Morel’s expertise in minimal styling takes a new aesthetic twist with pretty seasonal colours and two-tone ideas in the S/S range. The hexagonal shaping of Morel model 30182L combines with the bold graduated transparent shade of blue, and a delicate soft pink, perfect for a lighter look for Spring. Find out more at www.morel-france.com

The annual RCA competition was won by Ely Yili Cao, Womenswear (Millinery) for her piece entitled ‘Your sight, sound and smell, my love.’ 100% Optical will take place at Excel London in 2021 from 23rd to 25th January 2021. For details visit www.100percentoptical.com. Feature written by Clodagh Norton exclusively for Eyestylist.com.

Crafted with style: Coblens Stadtgarten

The harmonious colours, relaxing ambiance and natural beauty of the ‘Stadtgarten’, (in English, ‘city parks’) are behind a new line in acetate with titanium, by Coblens Eyewear (Germany). The company is known for its exclusive crafted titanium designs, and with Stadtgarten, it adds a new element to the design and presentation of the line, with a pure, translucent and colourful Japanese acetate.

Above: a new elegantly styled campaign identity illustrating the look, colour mix and fit of the frames on different faces. Model Rosengarten – pictured in a two-tone bold blue with translucent cappuccino hue was released this month. A deep square-ish eye shape with cat eye corners on the upper rim, the frame is also distinguished by visible vintage style rivets, two at each corner.

A two-tone front – model Rosengarten from the Stadtgarden collection by Coblens

Coblens is a German eyewear design company named after its city of origin, Koblenz (in old French Coblence). The brand has become a leading innovator in fashionable high-quality titanium frames, led by Ralf Schmidt and Nils Kaesemann.

All titanium materials by Coblens have exclusive PVD titanium coatings to achieve a wide range of special tonalities and to ensure a high-quality scratch-resistant, corrosion-resistant finish. For more information: www.coblens.com

Waiting for the Sun, Paris

Situated in the heart of the 3rd arrondissement – an area of Paris stretching from Le Marais to République known for its fresh, vibrant and consistent embracing of diversity and innovation, lies a special address in the growing world of sustainable fashion in Paris – the 100% circular and ecologically friendly brand store, Waiting for the Sun.

Like the area in which it is so justly located, this boutique is as current and ‘on trend’ as they come. A clear glass shopfront with incredibly ‘instagrammable’ shrubbery and plants combined with a quaint café serving organic tea and juices lure in passers by.

Waiting for the Sun: a minimal interior with natural materials

The interior of the shop is clean-cut, using natural wood and modern whites without being over clinical – a balance between comfort and professionalism and an apt setting for the brands evolving and varied collection of eyewear displayed around the store. To the right of the open-plan boutique is an island covered in a candy-like display of optical treats; the sunglasses and optical frames are laid out across this oasis and on the surrounding natural wood side-boarding along the white concrete walls, as well as being dotted across glass panels in the shopfront of the store amongst the micro-rainforest display. The use of natural materials is intrinsically important in the immersive ‘story telling’ layout of the brand’s pieces from the earliest wooden models to the latest eco-friendly acetate and metal “beta steel” and recycled frame selection.

A relaxed interior: Waiting for the Sun, Paris

The essence of the brand is encapsulated in this small, well laid out space. If you happen to be wandering around Paris and find yourself in need of an eye test or an update to your eyewear, perhaps an organic tea or even a quiet place to escape the bustling Parisian streets – look no further than Waiting for the Sun.

Recycled steel: model Zagreb from the BASE collection

Waiting for the Sun has released their new BASE collection for SS2020. The line is dedicated to young people with focus on sustainable materials including recycled steel at an affordable price. For more details visit www.waitingforthesun.fr. Review by Victoria G. L. Brunton in Paris for Eyestylist.com.

Kirk & Kirk, Centena

As usual, the UK label Kirk & Kirk have something new up their sleeve, and here it is, in time for a London showing at 100% Optical trade fair: the Matt Centena. Centena is a collection of frames uniquely produced from lightweight 100mm acrylic in bold statement colours and exciting finishes.

The new additions have a modern matt surface finish, and a chunky retro-inspired structure for the face – an on-trend twist in the line is the metal detail at the top of the double bridge – a different, new-look feature for Kirk & Kirk. For colours, the Matt Centena collection includes bold ‘Cosmic’ blue and forest green (typical Kirk brights), while chic versions in black and tortoise are well suited to eyewear traditionalists who need strong well defined, structured frame styling.

Kirk & Kirk frames are seeing much celebrity endorsement success in the US, with new sightings of Robert Downey Jr wearing several styles (not just one but four different styles!): model Cecil in Jade, model Victor in Apple and Purple and model Carter in Spectrum. The new Matt Centena line is showing at 100% Optical (London – www.100percentoptical.com) and Mido (the Milan trade fair) and will be in shops shortly! More details can be found at www.kirkandkirk.com

Key colour 2020: lilac + sweet lavender

The contemporary appeal of the palest tones of lilac alongside a few more provocative purple hues have infiltrated the 2020 eyewear and sunglasses collections with striking success, as we head towards new looks for spring/summer. According to trend forecasters, this is a colour to “pack a punch” with a growing desirability since 2018 when “ultra violet” took the title of Pantone colour of the year. Above: a new campaign from Italian label Blackfin at an evocative location, The Great Cretto, Southern Italy. The frame is a combo beta titanium with acetate rim model called Tortuga and is part of the Blackfin AURA collection, pictured above in a purple/gradient blue acetate.  For more colorways visit the website at www.blackfin.eu

Sand Dab by l.a.Eyeworks in ‘Blurple’ (the ideal ‘blue/purple’ combination)

The Sand Dab by l.a.Eyeworks is a little bit shimmery, with a graduated soft blue to pale lilac effect, a chic rendering of the trend that has achieved a steadfast hold on fashion and design trends. This pairing of tones softens the quirky angular shaping of the acetate frame. Find out more www.laeyeworks.com

Modan sunglasses by Carla Colour

1980s attitude combined with the most modern tone of luminous lilac packs a punch for girls and boys who love the cat eye edge. Particularly alluring is the matching ‘fresh lavender’ lens tone. Find out more at www.carlacolour.com/shop/modan-astro-comet

Hero by Tree Spectacles

Tree Spectacles has focused in on this colour in both its acetate (above) and titanium collections for 2020. Note the delicacy of the tone in the acetate style Hero, and the lightness achieved through the transparent crystal finish. www.treespectacles.com

TVR 504 JD Special Edition

A bold and characteristic vintage-inspired design, direct from Sabae, Japan, TVR has put out yet another statement look based on 1950s and 60s “classic” characteristics, as part of their JD collection line.

TVR® 504 Black Tortoise (above) comprises 6mm Antique Tortoise with 2mm Classic Black Zylonite to express the Brow Line effect on the frame. The upper portion of the frame is thicker than the lower, emphasizing the curvature of the ‘brow’ to give the eyepiece its elegant contours. TVR® 504 Brown Clear (below) is constructed in 6mm Clear Crystal Zylonite with 2mm Brown Clear Zylonite material on the front. Its unique feature lies in the centre of the bridge area where it is purposely left in clear finish — also known as a two-tone frame.

Creating the Black Tortoise and Brown Clear front and temples with a flawless finish, TVR® has perfected specific artisanal techniques. The styling is that made famous by icons of the cinema: James Dean, and more recently Brad Pitt in ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’.

TVR 504 Brown Clear

This special edition comes from the hand of a particular master craftsman in Sabae. Sawada-Yaemon is from a family of highly skilled artisans whose heritage dates back to the Edo period. Sawada-Yaemon holds strongly to his multi-generational reputation and his family’s work in perfecting the the TVR Arnel shape using traditional measuring techniques. For more details visit www.tvropt.com

100% Optical, London 2020

Collection recommendations

This year’s edition of 100% in London will bring together a cross-section of frame collections, with independent labels represented by companies from far and wide including California, Copenhagen, Paris, Madrid and Brighton in the UK. The excellent quality and craftsmanship of the independent collections offer the UK independent optician attending this event much opportunity and should be a point of reference as an important direction for their stores, providing customers with new, exciting design-focused premium quality eyewear.

The fair will highlight major players such as Design Eyewear Group, Orgreen Optics and Morel France alongside small artisan labels and newcomers who we look forward to seeing (some are showing for the first time in the UK). Highlights in this area will include: Lara D’ (Italy), Booth + Bruce (UK), FACE A FACE (Paris), Covrt Project (UK), Kaleos (Spain), Kirk and Kirk (Brighton, UK) Nina Mûr (Spain), and Kame Mannen (Japan).

Above: FACE A FACE will be present at 100% Optical, with Design Eyewear Group. Among their new collections is the latest range of Bocca frames – Bocca Pixel, in eye-catching raw machined acetate, which is sandblasted and polished. The Bocca shoe has been abstracted in this cool collection inspired by 3d pixelated effects. The colour selection includes delicate pastels and exciting patterns. Find out more: www.faceaface-paris.com

Look for lilac in 2020: model Andrew by Kirk and Kirk

Kirk and Kirk is a familiar face at 100%. The Brighton-based company will show its Kaleidoscope, Centena and Spectrum lines which offer uplifting colour and some of the hottest tones of the year. Find out more at www.kirkandkirk.com

 

Chico by SALT. Optics – in a collaboration with Second / Layer

SALT. Optics are a go-to brand for quality, and continue to do well with the UK market. Their frames are designed in California and made in Japan, with all the attributes of a well-made premium-quality design with unique details such as traditionally inspired pins and rivets. The classic or nature-inspired colour schemes are evocative of the land and seascapes of coastal California. www.saltopics.com

Turning ocean waste into sustainable eyewear: Sea2See

Anyone seeking out a strong, sustainable eyewear collection should visit Sea2See Eyewear at the London show. The collections by this enterprising company continue to expand. The frames are made from 100% recycled plastic ocean waste. Find out more at www.sea2see.org

Lunettes Alf comes to London from Paris this year

One of our favourite French newcomers has just reserved to attend the show in London. Lunettes Alf is an artisan label with a love for retro style and elegant handcrafted design work. Find out about this brand at www.lunettes-alf.com

Cuantica collection /  Nina Mûr : inspired by the microcosm

Nina Mûr is attending the London fair for the first time. Based in Madrid, the brand produces elegant, architectural eyewear pieces with a focus on advanced – often sustainable – materials (including wood) and special concepts of design “with a story”. One of their latest ranges is inspired by the microcosm (above),  with superimposed layers and materials which have an unusual and surprising finish. www.ninamur.com

A highlight of the 100% optical fair, the RCA competition for new talent is this year focused on the theme of ‘Love’. The work of the finalists will be on display throughout the weekend. The finalists are: Rebecca Armstrong, Womenswear, 1st year; Yili Cao, Womenswear (Millinery); Annie Mackinnon, Womenswear, 1st year; Adam Frost, Womenswear, 1st year; Reiss Dendie, Footwear, 1st year; Kitfung Sun, Menswear Accessories, 2nd year. 

To register for 100% Optical, visit the website: www.100percentoptical.com Feature written by Clodagh Norton exclusively for www.eyestylist.com.  The permission of the author must be sought to reprint or re-publish the materials in this article.

Beaumour Paris: inventive leather goods

The first stylish eyewear wallet, by Quentin Stubbe

For those of us who love our frames, and travel or move about regularly, Beaumour Paris is an exciting new accessories entry, with products in leather produced by hand. The star of the line is an eyewear wallet – the first of its kind, designed to accommodate all the essentials: while it has the form of a “classic” specs case it opens neatly into a wallet with space to protect your glasses or sunglasses.

A compact wallet with eyewear case by Beaumour: made in vegetable tanned leather

The wallet can hold a frame and up to 10 cards, with space for banknotes, tickets or an ID card. Built inside the lining is an RFID system, an effective protection against contactless credit card hacking.

About the designer: Quentin Stubbe is passionate about style and quality, and has studied luxury leather production and bootmaking. He launched Beaumour Paris in 2019 and has quickly received orders for his innovative leather goods, and the first good-looking Eyewear Wallet. The product range, which also includes a card holder glasses case, is available online at www.beaumour-paris.com and through over 150 opticians in Europe. Beaumour Paris will exhibit for the first time at Mido in Milan in February. For more information about Beaumour visit www.beaumour-paris.com

opti 2020: a showcase for the start of the decade

The first trade show of the year – opti 2020 – set the stage for what’s to come, with packed halls proposing a huge variety of niche eyewear labels, iconic brands and high-profile fashion brands – from around the world.

Our personal highlights at the show will be featured in the weeks to come. They included the new face scanning app at the German 3D printed brand You Mawo and a variety of collection launches that were innovative and impeccably produced. We have much to say on new colour, style directions and design trends, as well as having identified some impactful Limited Editions from California, Marseilles and Milan.

The beautifully curated opti BOXES cater to those who wish to explore emerging collections. Participants of note in this area included from France, Lunettes Alf, from the UK, Covrt Project (winner of the Newcomer Award at the fair), from Italy, Beate Leinz, and from Israel, Tough Character. Above: Leinz Eyewear by Berlin based eyewear designer, Beate Leinz. The collection, which is the designer’s first eponymous line, is presented under the concept of ‘contrasts and hybrids’. The frames feature two contrasting materials – acetate and and polyamide, achieving a mix of traditional Italian craftsmanship with high-end Belgian technology, created and coordinated from Berlin. www.leinzeyewear.com

Lunettes Alf: artisan sunglasses, produced in France

Lunettes Alf was present in the opti BOXES. This young French brand is attracting much interest from top level European independent stores who identify with its beautiful classical focus on restrained colours and shapes inspired from the past. www.lunettes-alf.com

Titanium expertise: Coblens has 10 new shapes in full titanium

Coblens Eyewear from Germany showed its latest titanium styles and a chic new line in Japanese acetate paired with titanium temples called Stadtgarten, coming into stores this season. The Coblens collection has expanded dramatically with intricate finishing and colorations and very elegant shapes in the Endlos “rimless” series. See the latest styles at www.coblens.com

Model Tottori by theo © 2018 copyright protected Artworks,
Photography & Graphic Design!

We were delighted to see a new theo frame family for January 2020, inspired by the powerful beauty of the contours and folds of sand dunes around the world. Tottori (above) – named after a dune system on the North West coast of Japan – is one of five shapes in this group of designs that explore soft sloping forms, steep angles and delicate dips. www.theo.be

Neon Berlin: 3D printed eyewear from the German independent label

Neon Berlin showed their new 3d printed collection on an impeccably stylish sustainable exhibition stand that packed into two small hand held boxes – for easy transportation by train. The brand is consistently creative with their style and DNA and explore new materials, groundbreaking manufacturing methods as well as sustainable concepts – an area that was a particular focus at the opti fair this year. Find out more at www.neonberlin.com

In 2021, opti takes place from 8th to 10th January in Stuttgart, Germany. To find further details about the new location visit www.opti.de

 

Men’s style Milan: On the Street

Oversized full-wrap visors (we prefer them slightly retro), geometric statement sunglasses, edgy 70s, 80s or 90s shapes and all the classics we’d expect in metal or acetate. Large or small. Chunky, subtly sporty, and even rimless. Not forgetting the many different versions of the aviator. The streets of Milan are always notable when fashion week takes off and everyone’s in town…and for eyewear, all manner of styling showed up outside the shows, with the emphasis on statement-making via redefined classics. Above: Alex Badia (@thealexbadia) in leather with angular, dark tortoise visor. Photography by Gennaro D’Elia exclusively for Eyestylist.com at Milan Fashion Week (FW2020).

Model Rob Drishti wears 90s vintage sunglasses

The 1990s continues to play a role in 2020. We expect more focus on angular styles for men with a penchant for classic black edgy looks and dark tortoise tones.

Yilmaz Aktepe, Editor in chief, Men’s Health Germany – in Kyme sunglasses

The round traditional eyewear styles are still with us, of course. Classic tortoise designs with the key hole bridge are always a go-to option for the best-dressed in Milan.

River Viiperi, model and owner of @rvgear

Off the catwalk, River Viiperi’s street-vibe look is made easy with a solid metal frame featuring an angled oval eye shape. For more images from Milan, visit our Instagram page @eyestylistmagazine. Photography by Gennaro D’Elia for Eyestylist.com. All rights reserved.

Tim Williams, YR

Globally known as the ‘kings of customisation’ and the go-to fashion tech company for all things personalised including apparel, footwear and accessories, YR was launched seven years ago by Welsh school friends, Tim Williams and Tom Hogan. The company has worked with a wide spectrum of brands, as well as high-profile fashion labels – Michael Kors, Nike and Ralph Lauren are among their client list – and has offices in New York, LA, Hong Kong and Tokyo.  They are on course to turnover £10m this year. Eyestylist spoke to Tim Williams, Co-Founder.

Customisation continues to be a very hot topic in fashion. Can you outline how YR started and how the business has evolved? We started in 2013 as a custom fashion brand – a consumer brand that enabled anyone to come into a YR store and easily create designs on tees, sweatshirts and accessories and then watch as they were printed in just a few minutes. We were very early adopters of experience first retail – no printed inventory in the store, so everything was made on-demand, and the whole theatre and excitement of creating the item and then seeing it come to life live, in-store was really something unique.

YR opened multiple stores all over the world – but sadly it was a difficult business, none of us were experienced at fashion retail and it was tough without serious investment. So, we repositioned what we did and went B2B – helping other brands bring on-demand and customisation to life in-store, at events or online. Now we have 5 offices in London, LA, New York, Tokyo and Hong Kong and work with brands on all manner of projects – big and small – all over the world. It’s quite the evolution!

You have worked with global fashion retailers including DKNY, REEBOK and L’Oreal. What has been your most exciting creative project to date? That’s a really hard question and actually the answer is, the most creative time was when YR was a consumer brand. It was exciting that we could make decisions and release artwork packs and see how customers liked them, with live feedback talking to them and seeing their reactions. We worked with some great artists in our London stores; one personal favourite was LA illustrator Bob Motown who loves pizza and cats. Commercially my favourite creative project was working with Liberty where we brought Liberty prints to life on scarves and t-shirts in the iconic London store. Customers could use the patterns to make new designs and add their own touches, it was really incredible to be able to delve into the archives.

YR x Lagerfeld: A tribute to Karl: The White Shirt Project

Are you a creative or a tech geek? Who brings the creative direction to YR? I think I am creative, it would be hard not to be and get where we are. But, I don’t think its either/or when it comes to tech – there are plenty of creative techie people. I guess I am one of them, I understand the technology but also have a love of creativity, art and design. My business partner and long term friend, Tom, is both creative and highly technical – so not only is Tom heading up our software side but he also drives the creative concept of the business alongside me.

What is your view of how this direction in customisation will further evolve? Made-to-order, bespoke and custom products date back hundreds of years – the great tailoring tradition used to be the preserve of the rich and now, YR, and many others are working hard to make customisation and ‘one of one’ manufacture a reality for mass goods. So I think this is just the beginning. Evolution will take many forms – today, in-store you use touchscreens to make or tweak designs, maybe that will be more gesture or voice-controlled in the near future. The production techniques are moving forward rapidly as machine manufacturers understand this new need for smaller, more nimble machinery. I think there are lots of new production techniques and customisation options on the horizon, not previously possible. Jewellery and accessories are a large area that has a lot of potential. I think 3D printing will come of age and be quicker and better than ever. More importantly, I think consumers will cherish their custom made products more than ever as we strive to have less ‘stuff’ but better and more meaningful relationships with clothing and accessories. The future is exciting!

YR: Collaboration with Bathing Ape in Selfridges, London

As a company, with offices far afield, what is your key focus? Is sustainability something you think about? Of course, the global nature means there are some elements of travel that are not good for the environment. That is an issue for us as a business. But, we are enabling a more sustainable future – one reason is the answer above – we want consumers to fall in love with their items and cherish them, something that bespoke and customisation really encourages. As we start 2020 on-demand production and a move away from just customisation is key for YR. That means that instead of a customer choosing a pre-made item, the item is made just for them when they want to buy it. This hugely reduces waste and eliminates stockpiles over time. Sustainability and reduction in oversupply is a key reason we do what we do – we are working alongside some of fashion’s biggest brands to make them more sustainable whilst improving the customer experience.

What inspires you personally? I love building the company and doing something that people love. At YR we put our team first, which means we grow and learn and get better, together. That’s inspiring. Also, I love new ways of doing things and being creative with finding solutions. I’m passionate about turning the traditional business model of fashion on its head and I am constantly inspired by the people I meet.

Do you enjoy being in the fast lane of the new directions in fashion and on demand production? Sometimes. Ha. That’s the truth, really. It’s great when it’s great, but being in the fast lane or on the leading edge of anything opens you to issues and there is no proven path for what we are doing. That can cause customers to have very high expectations – which is not always fun. However, for the large part, it’s great – thinking we have helped shape a market that didn’t exist before us (in-store design via large screens) is interesting. Having our tech running all over the world feels good, and most of the time cancels out the stress of the demanding side of being in the fast lane. Find out more at https://thisisyr.com

Interview written by Clodagh Norton

Materials focus: 357 collection by Vinylize

Repurposed material: spent cartridges

Budapest’s eyewear innovators, Vinylize continue their work in recycling and repurposing material for eyewear with the 357 collection – showing at the opti fair in Munich this weekend. The first line in a new performance collection, 357 incorporates spent cartridge cases as a functional element of the frames. This is the first time an eyewear brand has reused spent ammunition to create wearable frames suitable for everyday. Designer, Zack Tipton said he expects a ‘love it or hate it’ reaction, owing to the controversial nature of the upcycled material’s provenance. “I want to call attention to the casualization of destruction with this collection” he explains. “Not just of humans, but of our planet in general. We have casualized destruction to such an extent that the necessary tools can be easily acquired. And we don’t have the power to stop ourselves from using them.”

Slender design, provocative end tips : made from a 357 Magnum cartridge

The cartridge, also known as ‘casings’ or ‘brass’, is the element that holds the bullet, gunpowder and primer. Casings are made from brass, one of the most well-known metals in jewellery making. According to Vinylize, more than 12 billion cartridges are produced globally per year. In this process, each casing is machined to fit the temple tip and then washed before being incorporated into a 357 frame.

Vinylize: performance collection

357 is inspired by a philosophy of balance, durability and design. The frame front is made from stainless steel and uses a semi rimless construction to hold the lens in place – designed to reduce frame front weight. A compressed spring is discharge machined into the beta titanium temples for maximum flexibility and comfort. A 357 Magnum cartridge is fitted into each temple tip to create the counterweight and a visible detail for the frames. For more information: www.vinylize.com

Lunettes Alf: the elegance of simplicity

2020 will be a year that celebrates timeless classics in eyewear, frames that work with traditional forms and shapes, in high quality materials with an attentive respect for artisan techniques and meticulous hand finishing. In a series focusing on classic style in 2020, Eyestylist will highlight notable new labels and icons of eyewear through the year.

The past few years have seen a flow of new artisan eyewear labels, fascinated by quality, traditional spectacle-making processes and an aesthetic that updates classic design with delicacy and style. One of the finest and latest to arrive in France is Lunettes Alf, who launched their first line in early 2018. “Whether sun or optical, alf glasses are synonymous with high quality,” say co-founders and brothers, Germain and Alexis. Above: introducing new shapes for 2020.

Lunettes Alf: designed in Paris, made in Normandy

Alf frames are inspired by the early decades of the 20th century, and more specifically the elegance of the rimmed spectacles of the 1920s to the 1950s with beautiful yet restrained colorations, and hand polished surfaces with an eye-catching shine. Designed in Paris and made in Normandy in France, the frames are identified by a small red thread woven by hand into the end tip – a reminder of their artisan provenance and alf’s dedication to quality and considered design.

Lunettes Alf: hand polished acetate, distinctive soft rounded surfaces, mineral lenses

Lunettes Alf will show their full collection including four new styles at opti 2020 (10th to 12th January 2020) in the opti BOXES (www.opti.de), an area dedicated to new and emerging trendsetters. Their collection is now available in 50 independent optical stores.

About the brand – Alf is a French family business, created in early 2018. Alexis has worked in optics for many years and trained at l’École des Meilleurs Ouvriers de France Lunetiers. Germain is an expert in business and works within the luxury sector in France. Designed in their Paris studio and made in Normandy, Lunettes Alf use Japanese acetate and mineral photochromic lenses in designs with a classical elegance, respectful of tradition with a clean, simple aesthetic and predominantly sober, clean lines. Find out more at www.lunettes-alf.com

Inside view: opti 2020

Iconic designers side by side with emerging cutting-edge labels and the innovators of the industry: the first opti Munich of the new decade takes place this weekend from 10th to 12th January and will provide an exceptional overview of eyewear trends and innovations, with packed halls featuring over 600 exhibitors presenting themselves and their new offerings.

Pushing forward with their long-term commitment to sustainability – one of the most talked about topics in fashion as the new year begins – Swedish innovators EOE Eyewear will present their frame edition made from old eyewear – Regrind. Also showing is the new EOE biodegradable acetate collection – named after Swedish slang words, which has a new ‘chunky-effect’ design expression, and the latest intriguing styles in the Titanium collection. Two of those frames, Krycklan and Ramsan, have a unique design detail which allows jewellery to be attached and suspended as a decoration at the temple. The jewellery pieces are handmade in Stockholm and produced in recycled silver with a tiny gemstone from Swedish Lapland. Find out more details about EOE at www.eoe-eyewear.com

Optical style Gimlet by Res/Rei

Res/Rei is heading to the fair with new thin acetate designs fitted with multicolored gradient lenses, a tempting glimpse of what’s coming for summer. The touch and feel of the brand’s beautiful styles for the season are key to understanding their artisan quality and refinement. The company has just announced that a new collection will also be released at the show. Watch this space! www.resrei.com

Chico by SALT. Optics – a collaborative edition with fashion label Second / Layer

SALT. Optics will show the latest additions in their main line for 2020 and beautifully finished ‘made in Japan’ acetates launched in collaboration with Second/Layer – the Californian fashion brand. The quality and finish of these designs owes much to the brand’s impeccable attention to detail and ‘best in class’ Japanese production. www.saltoptics.com

Spectacle Eyeworks: an exquisite mix of materials

Spectacle Eyeworks travel to Munich from their hometown of Vancouver. Designer Mehran Baghaie combines stainless steel and acetate in his latest designs which balance inspiration from nature, history and indigenous art. Founded in 1996, this small independent eyewear company has stood the test of time maintaining creativity and technical precision in its lines with bold ideas in shape and colour. Their success and innovative endeavours continue. See the latest designs at www.spec-eyeworks.com

Covrt Project – model AS2:  a new arrival at opti 2020

For anyone looking for classy newcomers, Covrt Project promises a new style of eyewear for connoisseurs of street style. The 2020 sunglasses collection _Mission One balances technical details and an authoritative fashion style born in London and realised (according to exacting levels of production) in Italy.  The brand exhibits its sunglasses and eyewear accessories for the first time in the opti Boxes. Find out more at www.covrtproject.com

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

Decora, Tokyo

Opened in 2007, the exquisite Tokyo store offers an impressive architect-designed interior and one of the widest selections of frame collections we’ve ever seen.

Decora, Tokyo is located close to Tokyo Station in a tasteful shopping centre inside the Shin-Marunouchi Building. Their name means “deconstruction” – and refers to their focus on individuality and service “to help pick the frame most suited to your desire and needs.” Huge glass windows welcome the passer-by, who can see straight inside to the back of the store and its light, minimal interior.

The wide choice of frames available is mainly not out on display. Shop manager Takayuki Okabe, told us that like European stores, Decora has been designed like this to buck the trend in Japan and put greater importance on the personal consultancy with the customer, before the eyewear is picked out – in a peaceful and pleasurable atmosphere.

What is highlighted, is on show in architectural displays behind the main area of the shop, arranged with care and subtlety, honing in on the designs and shapes and less focus on bright colour or showy styles. The extensive choice of well known and lesser known brands from Japan available here include Yellows Plus, Yuichi Toyama, and the elegant Propo Design collection; European brands represented include LINDBERG from Denmark, Mykita from Germany and from LA, Jacques Marie Mage and Ahlem. Shapes like the classic round metal rims and the Boston, Panto and 3P shapes extend across the displays of eyewear to a beautiful, mysterious chest containing examples of rare vintage spectacles. The distinctive Diffuser Tokyo silver and leather glasses holders and accessories – the ideal accessory match for these luxurious frames – take pride of place in the window presentations of the shop.

Eyewear Cords by Diffuser Tokyo
Fresh flowers at Decora, Tokyo

For those who would like to see an example of one of the finest independent stores in Japan, Decora is a haven of minimalism and luxury style while maintaining an unpretentious and friendly atmosphere. It’s a rare example of a retail environment in which to choose a unique timeless pair of spectacles in the hands of experts with a deep knowledge of the history and culture of eyewear and its most directional and refined representative collections of today.

Shinmaru Building 2F, 1-5-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-Ku – www.glasses-co.jp Decora owns a second store in Kobe, Japan. The store stocks similar brands including Mykita, Yuichi Toyama and Native Sons. Special thanks to Takayuki Okabe, Decora and Masaki Hirose, Diffuser Tokyo.