100% Optical

Four key trends in eyewear design

Experts shared the major design trends shaping the eyewear market at 100% Optical 2024

Chunky acetate, vibrant colours, lightweight metals – rising trends in eyewear were on display at 100% Optical 2024 in February.

OT asked experts in eyewear design for their take on the trends taking the industry by storm.

1 Bold statement or understated and refined?

Selin Olmsted, creative director of the eponymous eyewear design and product development studio, described a polarisation in trends between “statement, expressive, thick, chunky eyewear,” and “ultra-light” metals.

Beta titanium has become particularly popular for its lightweight qualities, Olmsted shared.

James Conway, CEO of Millmead Optical Group, also noted: "Titanium has always been very popular but lightweight frames seem to be having a real surge at the moment.”

“It seems that thick, chunky acetates are coming back as well,” he added.

Emily Andrews, product director and chief sustainability officer for Eyespace Eyewear, shared: “One of the biggest trends I’ve seen is ‘quiet luxury.’ People want to have a frame that is beautifully made, that has excellent materials, but is maybe a bit more subtle. Something that says: this is a stunning frame.”

2 A veritable rainbow of hues

Eyewear experts also identified vibrant colourways as a key trend in eyewear – particularly for wearers who want to express their personality through their frames.

Designer, Caron Kraitt, owner of Caron Eyewear, told OT: “Colour is huge at the moment.”

"For us to have the confidence to wear our eyewear and love our eyewear – to be proud of it as a really important accessory – the best way to do that is not only by shape and structure, but something colourful, bright, and vibrant,” she explained.

Tom Wolfenden, CEO of Wolf Eyewear, commented: “Everyone wants to be different and wants to have a very personal feel when they choose their eyewear. I think colour represents that really well.”

Wolfenden also pointed to the trend for thick acetate frames, as well as refined metals. For the independent brand, though, colour is key.

“Colour is personality, and that’s what we want to deliver,” he said.

Lars Flyvholm, CEO of Design Eyewear Group, reflected that with a sense of freedom and ‘getting back out’ following the pandemic lockdowns, “colour has had a big impact over the past two to three years.”

Flyvholm questioned how long the trends for bold, chunky, and colourful eyewear might continue.

He suggested: “It all goes in waves – maybe in a year or two, people will be saying: ‘It’s too much now.’”

Conway also suggested that the pandemic recovery might have something to do with the trends seen in eyewear currently.

“Maybe a longer-term knock-on effect is that people are more adventurous with their eyewear from the period where we were locked down for so long,” he shared, adding: “I hope it’s here to stay.”

3 Greens in every shade

In terms of colours, Olmsted pointed to green as the stand-out shade in current trends. These range from pastels and lighter shades to medium tones such as hunter and khaki, and dark variants like oaks and earthy greens.

“Green, I think, is a fascinating colour, because in all shades it can be quite diverse and it can go well with many different complexions,” she said.

Eyewear designers are utilising deeper shades of green to increase the wearability of the colour.

Olmsted shared: “It’s quite a good substitute to black, because when we put it on it’s very dark on our face, but when the daylight or sunlight hits, we can really capture that vibrant look of the bright colour.”

4 Conscious consumers

Andrews told OT: “The other major trend we’ve seen is people are shopping a lot more consciously.”

Consumers are seeking products and brands that have a “sustainable story” behind them, Andrews suggested, “so they are aware when they are shopping it’s not necessarily at the detriment to the environment.”

This conscious approach to purchases is also leading consumers to think carefully about their choices and see options that are more versatile.

“People are trying to be a bit less wasteful, so are looking at something that maybe does have that day-to-night versatility,” she said.