By Sheila O’Hearn
The new year is here and this year eyewear is all about personal style and attitude. The year 2013 is going to be all about texture, design and innovation with a heavy influence of new eco-friendly materials and frames that don’t just sit on the face, but give it definition and personality.
Consumers are no longer looking for just a piece of eyewear, as was demonstrated at recent industry events such as Vision Expo West and Silmo.
They are looking for pieces that are also fashionable and compliment what they wear and how they live.
Many industry insiders have seen a spike in not only sales, but the quantity of sales per individual customer. People are no longer relying on one pair of glasses to get them through the day, but want multiple pairs to accompany different events in their lives from personal to work.

Among the leading trends this year is the huge role colour will play in the overall design of eyewear. Gone are the days of clear or basic black frames.
Today customers want a rainbow of choices and patterns to compliment their personality.
“If I followed clothing fashion, we would always be behind,” said Paul Storace, Vice President of Alternative Eyewear. “I look at colour trend, material and manufacturing processes. I look to what is different and appeals to me. I look at cloth, I
look at paint, I look at texture. For my plastic, I go to the people who make the plastic, and I choose early.”
With brands that include the streamlined and distinguished Clever Clip Frames, Face Value Frames, Intelli Clip Frames or Smart Clip Frames, Alternative Eyewear has succeeded in creating the wearable side of edgy for those eclectic few who wish to make strong statements with their eyewear.
“I love glasses; I love people who love glasses. I think it is the great affordable luxury,” said Storace.
“My passion is for the eclectic that will last forever! If you run with the masses, you look like the masses.
If you march to your own beat, you dance forever, and that is the kind of energy and statement that goes into
our eyewear.”
The Pantone Institute is predicting a season where colour will rule the fashion industry including eyewear. Green is expected to be the colour of choice with a focus on bold hues with Emerald topping the list for 2013.
Mono-tone colours will also make a sophisticated and bold statement this year with greens gently interwoven including muted
mint tone Grayed Jade.
Purples and reds will also find their way to many frames with soft lavenders and vibrant reds such as Poppy Red.
The 70s are back as citrus colours will also make a fun return with colours like Nectarine and Lemon Zest leading the way.
“We go in for colourful styling for all ages, and deep progressive fitting lenses for the mature cliental, while at the same time remaining cool and modern,” says Richard Allan, Optika VP Sales.
Asked about the exciting new eyewear for 2013, he says, “The main trend for eyewear in 2013 will be simple, yet colorful. The
market is moving away from thick, heavy plastics, and more towards thin, comfortable-fitting frames.”
This year, bold and striking acetate frames translate to funky and retro-inspired that are light-weight, functional, and expresses attitude.

Industry Trends
Glasses are not just for wearing, they are also a personal statement.
Whether you are into modern, retro or minimalism, eyewear will tell your story this season.
“There is a continuing trend towards personalization of lenses and frames in the eyewear industry,” said Adlens Marketing Coordinator Jo Wright. “The widespread adoption of freeform lens designs is particularly interesting to all at
Adlens as it shows that consumers are getting excited about lens technology.”
Many companies are looking for ways to use eyewear to drastically alter how we see the world.
Adlens is know for their adaptable eyewear, particularly their Emergensee glasses, which can be adapted to various eye conditions simply by adjusting the frames/lenses.
They have been used in countless disaster situations where emergency eyewear is needed by civilians and emergency personnel.
“Adlens is busy working on the next generation of variable focus eyewear,” said Wright noting they are developing several
other types of eyewear that are both adaptable and fashionable. “It looks like a traditional pair of eyeglasses and provides a precision optics solution for progressive lens users.
It delivers single vision at all times but in variable power form so it can be adjusted to any circumstance precisely through a continuous range of powers.”

Material Matters
Not only do the look of frames matter to consumers, but so do the materials used to make them. Buyers today are looking for light-weight, eco-friendly and functionality.
Eyewear made from wood, recycled materials and even flexible rubber.
Carbon fibre; TR-90 plastic—a raw product made for Ferrari vehicles; and even velvet are just some of the materials used to create a durable, comfortable, light-weight frame are some of the materials Mood Eyewear have incorporated into their designs.
“The glasses are fashioned after vintage frames and make a bold statement, appealing to the younger generation or the young-at-heart. But unlike the bulky, heavy frames of the past, it is thin and light-weight, and that means extreme comfort,” says Andre Belanger, president of the Quebec-based Mood Eyewear, responsible for bringing the product to Canada.
For thermosensitive sunglasses, the I-Thermic is a newly launched optical break-through. They evolved exclusively from FIAT’s lab, which consists of a special treatment that deposits enzymes with coloured pigment. When exposed to temperatures of 36 degrees C or more, they become transparent and reveal hidden colours and patterns. In cooler temperatures, the frames return to their original state. It’s like two pairs of sunglasses for one price!
The latest Ferrari-inspired ITouch is a plastic, technologically advanced paint applied to their famous racing cars. It lends the frames a mat or glistening finish when under the sun’s rays.
“(This year) will be a robust year for eyewear,” says Viva Public Relations Manager Jon Martinez. “You’ll be seeing a widening use of special materials and innovative combinations in a lot of the new releases.”
He notes consumers are also looking for unique accents for their eyewear such as Swarovski crystals, mother of pearl detailing and patented high-definition printing in animal prints.
As consumers are often more brand savvy and look to have multiple pairs by their favourite designers, Martinez notes consumers can expect to see more emphasis on special collections.
“Limited edition releases will also play an important role in 2013,” said Martinez noting Viva International will be releasing the two new styles from Harley-Davidson Eyewear commemorating the iconic brand’s 110th Anniversary.
Other companies with their pulse on celebrity inspired eyewear include Match Eyewear with their Marilyn Monroe Collection, Adlens with their recently released John Lennon Collection.
Countless celebrities are also adopting their own lines of eyewear to tap into the celebrity-look-a-like trend including Paris Hilton, Victoria Beckham and the Olsen twins.
Vision Expo East to be held in March is expected to highlight an even wider range of styles and designs for 2013.
It’s expected to be a season where technology drives the design, but individuality makes the design beautiful. •