So, Optrafair. It is a UK based trade show and it is the longest-running optical trade show in the UK founded by the FMO (Federation of Manufacturing Opticians). The FMO has been looking after the UK optical industry for 100 years, so they really know the industry well. To give it a facelift in 2017, the FMO has been working with event organiser Mark Allen Group to give the show a brand new look and the result was amazing. Everyone was impressed with the makeover.
Optrafair feels like a lifetime ago now along with all the other optical trade shows such as Mido and Copenhagen Specs and yes, I know, I still need to write about some of my top picks from those shows. So far, I have only written the highlight from all the shows. Work has been a little crazy, but now Optrafair is all over, I do have more spare time on my hands and I will be all caught up with the writing in no time!
I was involved with one main part of the show and that was the trend forecasting area. I was working closely with my former editor at WGSN Jacqui Ma to bring that area to life. Once the trends had been identified, it was my job to source all the frames. There were 5 trends altogether and each trend contained around 8- 10 frames in the display area. The trend talk by Jacqui was also a hit with visitors. They felt it was a breath of fresh air moving away from topics that are always very clinical. I also want to take this opportunity to say a few thank you to some eyewear brands who has very kindly lent me some frames for the trend display area. Thank you to Cutler & Gross, For Art’s Sake, Fleye Copenhagen, Booth and Bruce, Bolon, Wolf Eyewear, Eyespace, Neubau and International Eyewear.
Now, back to the eyewear I spotted during Optrafair. I was totally impressed with Eyespace as a company. I always thought they were licensed brands, but nope, they are all created by EyeSpace themselves! They are all independent brands, I quite like that concept because they are individual brands so what that means for the consumer is that you are paying for a very affordable pair of glasses without compromising on the quality as they are all independent brands. Cocoa Mint was my favourite, but I was just as impressed by the gent range Jensen and the children range Basebox. Cocoa Mint was everything you can hope for in a lady’s pair of glasses. Elegant, stylish and some even come with a bit of bling. It is a win, win.
The second brand which really got my attention was Coco Song, each pair of frames were pretty exquisite with real flowers pressed between the acetate. There were a lot of other designs too, but that was the one which really stood out to me. A very simple idea, but the result was fantastic, transforming a pair of ordinary acetate into something really stunning. The colours of the frames were so colourful and fun too. If you want colour and not just another pair of acetate, then check out Coco Song.
Finally, I rather liked the Episode collection by International Eyewear. I was really drawn to all the detail on the frames from embossed, to a rusty looking finish. It is breaking away from the normal shiny or matt finishing with a block of colour. Subtle detail on the specs is always quite welcome in my book.
Optrafair 2018 will back in Birmingham NEC once again and save the date in your diary. It will be at a later date from 14th – 16th April 2018. See you there!