BY DENIS LANGLOIS
At a small optical boutique in southern Ontario, seven-year-old Sophie Rodgers doesn’t take long to choose a new pair of glasses.
Within minutes, she spots a pair of pink-and-black acetate frames with funky patterns on the temples along the display wall of kids’ frames.
“I love the colour on these ones and they’re really cool,” she says, after trying them on and glancing at herself in the mirror.
But Sophie’s mom, Stephanie, has more questions for their eyecare professional.
Most importantly, will the frames be able to endure the rambunctious life of a second-grader?
And Stephanie has some questions for her daughter too – do you love them and do they feel comfortable?
When choosing frames for children, those are exactly the kinds of things to keep in mind, according to the Canadian Association of Optometrists.
The organization recommends that parents ensure their child likes the style and colour of their frames and that the glasses both provide a comfortable fit and are durable.
Eyewear companies are well aware of the importance of creating cool frames that appeal to kids while designing them to meet the approval of today’s parents.
And, just in time for back-to-school shopping season, multiple eyewear companies have added new frames to their collections that meet both criteria.
Pierre Bessez, general manager of Marchon Canada, says kids are drawn to an array of shapes, colours and materials when it comes to frames, but their ultimate goal is to have a “fun and trendy look.”
Parents, meanwhile, want to ensure their child’s eyewear is comfortable, stylish and most importantly durable, he says.
“Parents want a frame for their kids that is resilient enough to handle every day wear and tear,” he says.
Marchon Canada has added new children’s styles to both its Marchon NYC and Lacoste T(w)een collections this summer.
“Lacoste eyewear offers a fresh, youthful approach with an assortment of colour combinations and styles that are accented with eye-catching details and designs,” Bessez says.
Each of the new Lacoste styles, which include sunglasses and ophthalmic frames, integrate Lacoste’s signature “preppy-chic look in a functional way.”
The new Marchon NYC frames feature a large selection of bright colours, from bright blues to hot pinks. The brand’s new Estella and Celeste models have cool crystal temples with two-tone star prints on both sides.
Tura Inc., which has offices in Canada and the United States, has also added new frames for boys and girls to its Ted Baker “Just Kidding,” Kate Young for Tura and oio children’s eyewear collections.
Loyedie Desir, product manager for children’s collections at Tura, says the company’s kids frames offer a combination of expressive colours and wearable shapes that are “sure to make even the most discerning fashionista excited about their eyewear.”
“Today’s children are conscious about their style and want their eyewear to reflect their personality,” she says.
Tura’s new Ted Baker B947 frames for boys and B948 model for girls both incorporate retro styling with modern details, Tura says, while the Kate Young K903 style for girls and K902 frames for boys offer a “geek chic retro-inspired look.” The new oio OT68 for girls and OT66 for boys both draw inspiration from camouflage prints. Each of the frames are both lightweight and sturdy.
Also this summer, Marcolin Eyewear has expanded its Guess, Harley Davidson, Skechers and Timberland kids/tween collections.
The new Skechers frames feature “brand-driven designs with unique styling, colours and details that are important to today’s kids and tweens,” Marcolin says.
“Bright colorations and expressive graphics decorate each design, capturing the fun lifestyle of the brand’s DNA.”
For younger kids, United Kingdom-based Zoobug London has added a new one-piece Rubber Flex “Active” line to its eyewear collection for children just in time for back-to-school season.
The line includes four ophthalmic styles in a new versatile modern rubber material, which “brings a completely flexible, virtually indestructible option into the Zoobug collection.”
The new specs, which Canadians can purchase online, launched in June, along with a new handmade acetate “Fashion” collection for children aged 0 to 12 and a TR90 ultralight “Everyday” collection for kids under age four.
Also for the youngest patients, NanoVista frames are now available in North America thanks to Plan B Eyewear, which has acquired the brand’s North American distribution rights.
NanoVista frames include a unique “two-in-one” headband fixing system that allows the frame to go from normal temples to a comfortable headband, allowing for better security during active play, Plan B says.
“Made from Siliflex, these frames are nearly indestructible and guaranteed to last.”
Luxottica, meanwhile, has added several new frames to its Dolce & Gabbana kids’ collection for 2016.
They include the DG 3202, which are decorated with a floral motif inspired by the Mama’s Brocade theme that was at the heart of the Dolce & Gabbana autumn/winter 2015-16 women’s catwalk collection, and the DG 3205, which are square-shaped frames that boast mimetic print in matte finish and are characterized by the interiors of red, blue and hunter green.
Modern Optical has introduced six new styles to its Modz Kids collection.
Each of the new frames “infuse fun and colour, often into quasi-grown-up designs.”
The new models include: Amuse, unisex rectangular-shaped frames that feature a pop of colour; Funny, stainless steel frames for girls that are highlighted by fresh neon hues; Kickball, stainless steel rectangular frames for boys that boast sporty accents on the TR90 temples; MVP, which feature 180-degree spring hinges for added durability; Scout, which boasts clean lines and sporty accents; and Sugar, handmade zyl frames that offer a girly cat-eye shape accented with soft colours.