The Hong Kong International Optical Fair 2019 took place on 6-8th November 2019. MyGlassesAndMe (MGAM) was invited by HKTDC to check out the show and look at some cool eyewear. I was also asked to do a presentation on eyewear trends in Europe. It was great fun and the show itself was so well organised.
I have not been to the show for 7 years so my memory of the show is a bit hazy. However, I do remember thinking that the show was very focused on the manufacturing and supplying side of the industry. Fast forward 7 years at the 2019 show, this was not the case. The show has expanded and now there is a dedicated floor for eyewear which is where I basically spent the entire time. As well as that, there is also a dedicated floor for contact lenses because coloured contact lenses are a huge beauty trend in Asia.
From speaking to various regular exhibitors who have been at the show year in year out, they have all said the show has grown and the organisers are listening and making improvements all the time. It is really nice to hear a show is that dedicated to improving. Even walking around the show myself I can see it is well organised and they really do try to help exhibitors. I saw they organised group tours around the clock to take buyers around the show to make it as stress-free for them as possible because it is a big show to try and navigate around. For the press, they organised a media breakfast for us to meet a handful of eyewear brands along with a mini catwalk show. Each brand had the opportunity to tell us a bit more about themselves and they all get some one to one time with each of us. That is a nice touch from the organisers.
So, the eyewear. What did MGAM think? First of all, being Chinese myself (and born in Hong Kong), I was extremely excited to have the opportunity to visit an expo over in Asia. There were brands from Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Mainland China and of course Hong Kong. There was also a section for Italian and French brands but my focus was on Asian brands. I feel I see enough European brands in European shows, it was a nice change. It was also a nice change to find eyewear that fits my face well because of course all Asian brands design eyewear for the Asian face, funnily enough.
I have seen so many awesome Asian brands that if I was to mention each and every single one, I may be here all day but I will list my top three and write a little bit more about them to give you all an idea. However, I am going to mention these brands quickly as I feel they deserve a shout out too. They were Korean children’s brand Little Leon, mainland Chinese brand Canoeplan, a Korean brand Front, a Hong Kong brand Tonysame and a Japanese brand Sprung.
My personal favourites were…
Hong Kong Brand – Big Horn
Homegrown talent, an eyewear designer based in Hong Kong. The collection has everything from avant-garde designs to something that suits everyday wear. This brand has already attracted a lot of attention from celebs over in Asian.
Japanese Brand – Stoned Eyewear
Handcrafted in Japan. There are some real showpieces within the collection and some of them are one-off designs because the designer said some of them were so hard to make that he doesn’t want to do it again. The price point certainly reflects that. However, there are some affordable glasses that suit everyday wear too.
Taiwanese Brand – Miro Piazza
The founder of this brand is a fan of Spanish artist Joan Miro so the entire range is inspired by this artist. From the use of colour, the playful element to the use of shapes. I personally loved every piece. Really creative designs combined with good quality material and yet still very wearable for everyday consumers.
The MGAM Verdict
I really enjoyed attending the Hong Kong International Optical Fair, Yes, they were lacking in international brands but who cares because I felt since I was in Hong Kong, why do I want to see all the international brands anyway. I see enough of them in European shows. I was hoping to find independent, cool Asia eyewear brands and I definitely achieved that.
Being Chinese myself and born in Hong Kong, I was extremely thrilled to see so much homegrown talent at the show. There was an endless amount of hot Hong Kong brands which was to my surprise. I guess before I went to the show, I had an idea in my head that I will see a lot more Korean or Japanese brands since Hong Kong fashion is heavily influenced by both countries.
There was a good mix of Hong Kong, Korean, Japanese and Mainland China brands. They are also growing the European section too. I do believe that in the future, the Hong Kong International Optical Fair will be the show to attend in Asia because they are putting so much effort into improving it. The organisers met with the press to ask for feedback and were really keen on improving the show even further. I hope I will have the opportunity to visit again next year because I loved it and it was a real pleasure to work with HKTDC. Thank you!