New hinge designs, frame materials and manufacturing processes are helping to create both fashionable and functional eyewear for the Canadian marketplace.

By Jody Johnson-Petit & Denis Langlois

New hinge designs, frame materials and manufacturing processes are helping to create both fashionable and functional eyewear for the Canadian marketplace.

Many optical companies are embracing innovative features in their latest product releases.

“Something Ogi has been working on internally for some time is the way hinge pieces interact with the frame,” says Alec Norem, content creator at Ogi Eyewear.

A perfect example, he says, is the book-end hinge seen in Ogi’s Seraphin collection. 

“This signature hinge piece has been key to both Seraphin’s functionality as well as its presence in the fashion world,” he says.

“We’ve worked to innovate and update this hinge, creating an entirely fresh concept of our fleur-de-lis impressed within the hinge for an extra spark of style and ingenuity.”

Norem says the eye industry thrives on the creation of “stylistic choices the consumer subconsciously is searching for, filling those gaps of fashionable accessories rather than just a functional pair of glasses.”

There is always a need and desire to move the needle forward to look for new and innovative ways in bringing forth a better product.

At WestGroupe, the design department is always on the lookout for new spring hinges, materials and manufacturing processes in order to create the best product possible.

“From a manufacturing standpoint, evolutions in laser technology has enabled us to incorporate laser solder into most of our collections, which allows for a cleaner and stronger solder, leading to less breakage,” says Beverly Suliteanu, vice-president of product development.

“On the colour front, new processes in digital printing have enabled us to incorporate more customized patterns on our metal and even acetate frames, which has enabled us to differentiate our designs, particularly in FYSH, from our competition.”

This process is visible in FYSH model F-3633.

“Innovative hinges are a must in the Evatik collection and we are launching two new models, E9191 and E9192, with screwless, flexible hinges that are sure to be a hit,” says Suliteanu.

New to the SAFILO men’s optical frames collection is a titanium e-hinge.

The titanium e-hinge is a strong and flexible Elasta hinge.

Its innovative double-springs system takes the performance of flex hinges to the next level, guaranteeing 15 years of impeccable performance.

SAFILO REGISTRO 02 features the new hinge, which allows the temples to adapt to the unique shape of every face with a visually appealing and functional design.

Also from Safilo, Carrera has introduced a new product concept featuring ULTEM technology in the brand’s Active Collection.

Five optical frames and three sunglasses are made from ULTEM, an ultra-flexible plastic material.

Each style in the collection is designed with a double row of the ULTEM material that extends from the middle of the temple to the textured rubber (polyamide injected grilamid) end tips.

The Canadian design house Spectacle Eyeworks also embraces new and unique materials.

“The Yohji Yamamoto Collection uses an alloy named ‘Duralumin,’ which is an extremely light and very resistant durable alloy and definitely a new-age alloy, which predominantly is used by the aero industry for airplane production,” says Mehran Baghaie, operations director and chief designer at Spectacle.

Duralumin is a trade name for one of the earliest types of age-hardenable aluminium alloys. Its use as a trade name is obsolete and today the term mainly refers to aluminium–copper alloys, designated as the 2000 series by the International Alloy Designation System, as with 2014 and 2024 alloys used in airframe fabrication.

Over at Alternative & Plan “B” Eyewear, the Canadian company is launching Interface, a complete evolution of eyewear technology.

The new eyewear collection features nine high-end styles all constructed from high-grade stainless steel.

Each frame features a transformative element that takes an ophthalmic frame and transforms it into a complete sunglass in a matter of seconds.

Interface promises no ghosting, gapping, hooks or magnets, just ophthalmic to sunglass and back again in a matter of seconds with the patented skin technology.

“The eyewear industry not only needs technology, it demands it,” says Cassandra Slepian, marketing manager at Alternative & Plan “B” Eyewear.

“Eyewear has been a staple in people’s lives for so many years that when something new that solves problems and provides solutions for long-existing issues, it can lead to eye care practitioners being able to offer better care and options for their patients.”

The new Interface technology also offers polarized protection via the Sun Skin and blue light protection with the Blue Block Skin.

“By developing technology in eyewear, you expand the industry to those who may have been under-served or have not experienced the best their eyewear could be,” says Slepian.

Toronto-based Specsy is planning to launch this fall a new collection specifically designed for patients who are hard to fit due to large head dimensions.

“This collection has been designed and scaled to provide a flattering aesthetic and comfortable fit for large dimension,” says Ashley Barby, Specsy’s chief operating officer.

The frames will be made from 3D printed nylon, with a metal temple option also available.

Frames will be available to shop “off the shelf” with an average frame width of 150 to 160 millimetres. The same designs will also be available for custom order through the Specsy design portal should the patient prefer a fully custom frame, she says.

Specsy creates professional custom 3D-printed eyewear that is only available through eye care professionals.

Specsy provides optical professionals with a retail-ready app to design custom glasses tailored to the patient’s aesthetic preferences and technical requirements. The Specsy retail app uses augmented reality, allowing patients to design frames on a live image of their face. By utilizing 3-D facial scans and a digital design process, Specsy provides optical professionals the opportunity to offer a truly custom frame.

The frames are then crafted through state-of-the-art 3D printing.

Specsy launched its first multi-colour plastic resin frame collection in Canada in the fall of 2017. It added a digital concrete frame in 2018.

Blackfin began in July adding new, distinctive elements to its line of prescription eyewear frames and sunglasses.

All styles will now come with the ultra-new tilting nose pads made of medical grade PVC, a totally hypoallergenic material that covers a signature strip – with the brand’s iconic fish logo – made of transparent resin upon which, for some versions, a layer of gold or palladium has been deposited. 

“In addition to having a more modern and elegant design, the new mobile nose pads ensure greater comfort, adapting themselves to the shape of the nose.”

Another innovation is in the design of the Swordfish temple tips. The company’s patented design makes it possible to quickly, easily and accurately shorten the temples by five or 10 millimetres.

The new rubber temple tips – a material designed to adapt more easily to body temperature (warm in the winter and cool in the summer) when in contact with the skin – are thicker to ensure a more comfortable and ergonomic fit, while at the same time preventing the eyewear from slipping forward.

“And, to put excellent customer service in the hands of all opticians, we designed a kit containing a special pair of pliers for the removal and replacement of the nose pads and a custom-formed plate for bending the temple tips, which makes it possible to return the temples to their original curvature after they have been shortened.”

Lacoste Eyewear by Marchon has introduced the brand’s first floatable sunglasses in the t(w)eens family.

This first Floatable style are new unisex sunglasses made with a special injection technique that allows them to float in the water.

“Perfect to be used in the pool or the sea, the colourful and easy-to-wear Floatable style offers the perfect mix between aesthetic, comfort and functionality,” says Marchon.

The Lacoste T(w)eens floatable sunglasses feature the extended “LACOSTE” logo on both temples and are available in three matte pop colours: Blue, Aqua and Red.