Focus on fashion at 100% Optical

Colourful frames forecast to return to popularity in 2016, with vintage trend set to continue, experts predict

Eyewear fashion tips for 2016

The upcoming trends for eyewear in 2016 were a hot topic for many conversations among delegates and exhibitors at 100% Optical (6–8 February, ExCeL London).

There was wide agreement at the UK trade show that more colour in eyewear and the retro trend would be key in 2016.

Kirk & Kirk co-founder, Jason Kirk, was the first to forecast a return to colour in eyewear. He confidently told OT: “2016 is going to see the revival of masses of colour.

“For the last four or five years, especially when the economy’s been difficult, people play it very safe, but after a while they get a little bit bored. They want to see something new and exciting,” he added.

William Morris London founder, Robert William Morris, agreed. “Vintage, for example, is still huge and has no sign of going away, but I think the big change is more colour,” he said.

UK sales representative for l.a. Eyeworks, James Dawson, concurred, forecasting the trend for “a lot of colour – a bit more bold statements maybe – but not too big eye sizes any more.”

Eyespace managing director, Julie Abel, said: “Retro is still very, very strong out there in the marketplace and we see that continuing through 2016.”

“People are going to be a little bit braver with colour,” she added.

For Concept Eyewear director, Caron Kraitt, this year is all about glamour. She forecast that eyewear would “definitely be a bit more glamorous, a bit more party if you like.”

On shapes, she predicted: “Cat’s eye for the women and the round shape is now coming back into fashion again."

“It’s quite strong. I think people are a bit more confident with their eyewear,” she concluded.

Inspecs chief executive and founder, Robin Totterman, told OT that 2016 was not going to be a revolutionary year, adding: “but what is definitely happening, and has been happening over the last couple of years, is that lighter and lighter styles are coming out.”

And perhaps surprisingly, he was not critical of the multiples. “There’s often a lot of criticism about the chains in the UK, but one of the things the chains have done is to enable people to try out quirky eyewear at an affordable price.”

He explained: “People like to have some kind of reference point. Actually the reason big brands have been successful in eyewear is that, often, it’s a way of buying into a brand at an affordable price.”

For Black Eyewear founder, Robert Roope, it’s all about the shapes. “I think that now there’s a shift from the oblong that’s dominated the market for the last 30 years. We’ll see the emergence of the oval shape and very thin frames,” he predicted.

TD Tom Davies founder, Tom Davies, believes practice success is all about differentiation and individuality.

“Vintage doesn’t seem to have gone away,” he told OT. “People say that’s over and metal frames are coming back but nothing’s over, it’s just a variation."

“It’s about being an individual, offering something different to your customer,” he concluded.