With just over three months until 100% Optical returns to London’s ExCeL Exhibition Centre, OT ’s Emily McCormick speaks to eyewear brands new and returning to the show
As the countdown for 100% Optical 2016 begins, more than 150 eyewear companies from the UK and further afield have already signed up to exhibit at next year’s show.
To be held at London’s ExCeL Exhibition Centre on February 7–9, event organiser Media 10 has confirmed that the show will be even “bigger and better” in 2016, while the Eyewear Hall will cover the largest area within the exhibition in order to accommodate the thousands of new frames which will be on display.
Currently signed up to exhibit in the Eyewear Hall are a wide range of companies, both new and returning to the three-day show. They include: De Rigo, Silhouette, Charmant, TD Tom Davies, William Morris London, Kirk & Kirk and Inspecs, to name but a few.
New to the show
Signed up to exhibit at 100% Optical for the first time is eyewear company De Rigo. Trade marketing manager for De Rigo, Abigail Gavin, explained: “As a business, De Rigo is growing on a global scale and in the UK our portfolio is stronger than ever. Therefore, it is important for us to reach the right people, showcasing our brands to relevant buyers and opticians at the show.”
De Rigo will also use 100% Optical to exclusively launch its Dunhill British brand, showcasing the frames for the first time during the event. Commenting on this, Ms Gavin told OT: “We feel this will be the perfect way to communicate this fantastic heritage brand, giving visitors the exclusive opportunity to see and wear the product.”
Also exhibiting at 100% Optical for the first time is Charmant UK. Bringing its full eyewear collection to the show, highlights will include its ‘Hero’ range of optical frames and sunglasses. Complemented by the company’s branded eyewear collections such as Elle and Esprit, Charmant says that the show “will offer customers and potential customers an opportunity to view all of the Charmant range of eyewear in one convenient location.”
Commenting ahead of its first 100% Optical, Charmant general manager, Louise Brunton, told OT: “We are really excited about exhibiting at 100% Optical. This is the first major UK show for us for many years and we are looking forward to introducing ourselves to new customers.”
Returning to the show for a second consecutive year is Kirk & Kirk, a British eyewear brand founded by husband and wife duo Jason and Karen Kirk.
Talking about 100% Optical 2015, managing director of Kirk & Kirk, Jason Kirk, told OT: “The show saw an excellent range of high quality exhibitors which allowed British opticians to discover products that they might not otherwise see, so attendance was pleasing.”
A supporter and exhibitor at 100% Optical since its inaugural year in 2014, William Morris London will return to the show with its extensive autumn/winter British-inspired collections.
Described as thin, fine and elegant, the frames are made with a translucent high gloss acetate and finished in marble colour “for a bold and sophisticated look,” according to the company.
Talking about the show, founder of William Morris London, Robert Morris, said: “100% Optical gives us the perfect platform to showcase our Great British collections to an audience that brings us back to the roots of our brand born in London.”
Bringing sport to the exhibition, Adidas eyewear will showcase its new ‘Wildcharge’ and ‘Whipstart’ frames at 100% Optical, which are said to “blur the line between sport and lifestyle like no other.” While ‘Wildcharge’ is available in 10 different colour and filter combinations, ‘Whipstart’ is available in nine, and both are prescription-ready.
Having proved a popular feature in years past, fashion shows will once again be hosted in the Fashion Hub three times daily. They will see models showcase some of the newest eyewear designs from companies exhibiting at the event, offering delegates an insight into the latest trends and inspiration for products in the coming season.
Organised by leading fashion show producer Lindsey Hunt, who has more than 25 years of experience in the industry, they will comprise a six-scene show which demonstrates frame styles which are tipped as the top trends for summer and winter 2016.
The catwalk shows are hosted in the Fashion Hub, alongside CET-accredited seminars. Covering a range of topics from fashion themes to business, delegates will be able to glean tips on everything from The art of buying eyewear, to The importance of social media.
Newly-introduced for 2016 will be ‘Ignite talks,’ which are designed to offer delegates “a short burst of education” through a variety of timed five-minute presentations.
Panel discussions will also be hosted in the Fashion Hub throughout 100% Optical. Established to offer practitioners visiting 100% Optical the opportunity to meet and engage with high-end designers, key speaker names will be announced shortly.
First introduced in 2013, 100% Optical’s 100% Eyewear Design Competition will return for 2016. Run in partnership with the Royal College of Art, the competition was established as a way to champion a new generation of eyewear designers in the UK.
A panel of judges will whittle down design entries in two main categories, Couture and Ready to wear, to a shortlist of three finalists per category.
The designs of those shortlisted will then be created as prototypes by Britain’s last remaining spectacles manufacturer, Algha Works, and displayed at the show.
For more information, visit the 100% Optical website.