If anything can define style in the eyewear industry in 2013, it may be the lack of definition itself.
This year has been a mixture of old and new looks with a focus on individuality and exploring new ways to use materials.
Gone are the days of cookie cutter designs and trying to fit into trends and fads. This year eyewear companies have led customers in new directions giving eyecare providers a wide variety of choices to present to patients.
The consumer is playing a key role in the overall inspiration of designers, with a high demand for unique, one-of-a-kind pieces and bold frames.
“While metal frames are still popular, acetate continues to trend strong,” said Beverly Suliteanu, VP of Product Development for WestGroupe. “In addition to the traditional high polished look, we are seeing a variety of finishes for acetate including frosted hues, matte finishes and a combination of matte and polished finishes within a style.”
She said translucent colours, ombre colouring, as well as colour blocking are all popular looks for acetate this season. She adds retro influences continue to play a strong roll in defining the new styles for 2013 with the cat-eye continuing to dominate the season.
Gone are the days of thick frames and chunky designs. Instead, she says, bright colours and lighter frames are the must-have for consumers.
“Silhouettes are becoming thinner and are not as chunky as in the past providing for a more refined, sophisticated look,” she said. “For women, bright colours such as greens, blues and purples paired with neutrals work great for colour blocking.”
She says the summer will welcome pale nudes and traditional black and white combinations for women, while menswear will focus on blue hues and metallic finishes.
As we move into the summer, pale nudes become more popular as does black and white combinations. For men, blue hues are key this season as are metallic finishes.
“I think customers are looking for fashionable frames that fit properly, look great and allow them to have better vision all while allowing them to reflect their own personal style,” she said.
Also making a strong return this year are plastic frames. These durable, multi-coloured frames are appearing everywhere from optical boutiques to department store shelves.
“Plastic frames are still very strong and the retro look is still surging forward,” said Mehran Baghaie, owner and designer for Spectacle Eyeworks.
He says he is thrilled to see the focus return to vintage looks such as the cat eye, something that Spectacle Eyeworks is renowned for in the industry.
“Our cat brand ‘Pussy Galore’ is breathing a new life after nine years of existence; and has been generating very strong sales. I think cat eyes are finding their way on faces of average women so it seems they aren’t strictly for the Rockabilly girls,” he said.
A strong proponent for the flattering affects of colour, Baghaie said he is discouraged to see a turn back to dark colours such as black and dark tortoise.
This may be due to the demand for functionality over fashion for some eyewear enthusiasts.
“I would say customers are after unique design with new innovations on comfort and stability,” he said.
Whether looking for basic black or multi-coloured frames, one thing remains a major driver in the eyewear industry at the moment—innovation.
Companies continue look for new ways to take the simple and make it sensational with new technology and design embellishments.
“(Customers are seeking) textured patterns, double and triple laminates, translucent colouration, matte finishes, innovative temple treatment like the full flex styles being offered by Skechers Eyewear, are offering additional fit and comfort,” said VIVA Group International PR and Communications Coordinator Cassandra Decker.
In addition to the popular ‘cat eye’, Decker said other retro looks are also making a return including wayfarer inspired shapes, a throw back to the 1950s tough guys from the silver screen, but more recently seen on celebrities like the Blues Brothers, Robert Downey Jr., and Johnny Depp.
A modern approach has been added to those designs with multicolour combinations and etched designs to add even more detail and personality to each piece.
Decker noted glasses are no longer something people look to as a requirement, but something to be embraced and worn like any other piece of clothing.
“People see eyewear as an accessory rather than just a necessity,” she said.