Opti 2019 – Tears of Joy review

This years edition of Opti Munich was a great success. With their now SIX halls, brands and visitors have more space and feel less pressed together, which really was a good step forward into the future of the show.

After getting acquainted with each of their halls, it was clear where to go treasure haunting this year. With the independent brands all together in 2 of the halls, it saved me tons of walking from 1 to 5 to 3 and back to 5 again, which made sure I missed as little of innovative stuff as possible. And innovative it was! Focusing on the future, Opti really succeeds to give a good show as well as educating. In addition to this “search for innovation”, the interest of visitors increasingly focused on the desire to “initiate new business relationships” and on “continued training and education”. All packed together in Hall 4, it was a great trip exploring the opti FORUM, and the SHOWCASE revolving around the key topic of the “Customer Journey”.

Before I will open the vault of great eyewear that the Entourage and I found at Opti, let me take you on a tour, walking the 6 halls with my good friend Bodo Meinsen of Eyecom Magazine:

Another highlight at the Forum was the BLOGGER SPECTACLE Award 2019 for the Best Newcomer in the opti BOXES. Most members of the TEF Entourage joined forces with about 20 fashion bloggers to visit these newcomers and vote on what we thought was the best frame design for this year. The Hong Kong based eyewear brand Rounder Rounder was awarded the prize with their hippy inspired metal frames, constructed from 2 layers of Zeiss lenses. Personally, I think the large representation of fashion bloggers drove this decision, but hey, who am I to judge 😉

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This was TEFs third Opti Bloggers Spectacle, and I must say, it is a great way to see what’s hot in the world of Independent Eyewear. Especially all shown together at the OptiBoxes. This year the following brands were exhibiting there: GASTON ETCLorg HornROAVNo Idolshelden opticalHEADRIXPortraitNINA MÛRLIGHTBIRDTOM+HATTYguckstoffKomorebiMetalcraftAnnuIMPRESSIO and the winner, ROUNDER ROUNDER. Let’s go into a couple of them:

Gaston ETC

GASTON Eyewear is a collection of cellulose acetate glasses exclusively manufactured in France and designed by optician Benjamin Mézière.
Without succumbing to the diktat of fashion and trends, GASTON Eyewear is composed of atypical models timeless. The shapes and colors make it an identity collection with a strong personality.

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ROAV

For me, the most impressive innovation I saw at Opti. And not just because of its foldablility, cause Persol has been folding frames since 1492, when Columbus sailed the ocean blue. These frames are super technical and fold up as flat as a knife. Still sturdy, you can store them anywhere, like in your back pocket. Besides that, they have a high-tech yet fashionable look and are of supreme quality. A must see!

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No Idols

This Spanish brand doesn’t take crap or inspiration from no one. They go their own way handling their own destiny. Their only goal is making great eyewear as they see fit.

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Helden Optical

After being on the road as a sales rep for so many years, my friend Joey Diekman contacted me to help him design and manufacture a limited edition collection that stood out and was inspired by his own heroes (Helden in Dutch). I told him the quality he was aiming for, combined with the price range and quantities he desired were just impossible. But Joey didn’t hold back. He found the best quality manufacturers who believed in his dream and is now going strong, expending his collection with a neutral looking family of frames that truly stand out. I was WRONG, and you were RIGHT Joey!! Many kudos!

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Portrait

Maybe young, but to me certainly not a newcomer. Portrait Eyewear amazes us each year with unique designs. Founded by the breathtaking siblings Gabriel and Valentina, who create true pieces of art in collaboration with upcoming artists, strongly influenced by art-history movements and dedicated to its most iconic figures.

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Nina Mur

Winner of last years Blogger spectacle (and therefore excluded to this years run) is Nina Mur. This avant-garde Spanish brand takes the layering of materials to a whole other level. Like good furniture or a timeless garment that retains its value, handed down from generation to generation. A sentimental item that forges a lasting bond with its owner.

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Lightbird

After designing amazing (and I mean AMAZING) eyewear for so many years, Corrado Rosson is now following his own heart, creating the eyewear collection of his dreams. We did a little TEFtalk video interview with Corrado, so I won’t go to deep into the subject here, but lets just say he found a way to merge metal and acetate design in a very unique way, that to with my 20 years experience as an eyewear designer still just sounds impossible. Yet I saw it with my very own eyes. Unique stuff!

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Komorebi

For some reason unknown to me, the great Belgian designer brands want little to do with TEF. Maybe its because our national team beat their asses so many times in soccer. Anyways, that doesn’t mean I don’t love their work. For instance,  Belgian eyewear brand Komorebi (which nobody can pronounce, and to their saying is japanese for “light that falls through the leaves) subtly sheds new light on design. Each of their models is inspired by transparency, light, and reflection. Their many years of know-how and pure passion make each one of their designs a stylish frame with thoughtful details. I love you, my neighbor, share a little love back to us! xxx

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Metalcraft

Why hide the beautiful inside of you? I didn’t know this brand yet, but they date back to 1982. I loved how they work with semi-transparent acetates and showing the core metal of their frames.

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Impressio

ok, so here it is. I. Hate. 3d Printed frames. Maybe it is because of the fact that as a CAD designer in the eyewear business, I got too many orders from 3d printed eyewear startups, but it also because I don’t see the point in making something out of an ugly material, to create something you could just as well make out of a perfectly fine existing material, as for instance acetate. Just to chose 3d printing because it is HOT, just doesn’t do anything to me. BUT, there are a few brands that for 1, achieved making the final result of the material look really good (still no win to me) but ALSO, use the opportunities of 3d printing to create something unique, which is impossible to create with conventional materials. Impressio is by far in the top 3 (maybe even 2) of companies who achieved this. So take a look at these awesome shapes!

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That were the Opti Boxes brands, but Opti didn’t stop there, oh no sir! Here is just a little overview of what other cool stuff we found:

Aigner

OK, so they make bags, and TEF is all against perfumes and handbags labels who think they can also make eyewear. But fair is fair, these guys make some amazing eyewear, even for my big Viking head!!

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Da27

One of the best things I saw at this Opti was the new collaboration between Lasnik and creative designer David Alaba (aka DA27). You should really check this line out, including their accessory line made out of waist from cutting their frames!

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Einstoffen

Yes, the perks of being a dude who is F# famous on Facebook. You can get some free frames from all the brands on the show. But this time I had to pick just one brand. Just like last year! And just like last year, it was a pair of these bad-ass Einstoffen frames with a clip-on system. So according to my optician girlfriend, I have a 20-20 vision. But that doesn’t stop me from wearing cool optical frames with bad-ass clip-ons!

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Eque M

Eque and I go way back, both being eyewear designers. But darn did he beat me with these uber-cool shapes and decos. I am not worthy! I am not worthy!!!

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Frost

Maybe one of the nicest ladies I ever met in this industry is Marion. She designs her frames with a unique design which is a statement of one’s very individual personality. Creating a significantly timeless design in our fast-paced world, Marion impresses with her profound color- and shape variety. TEF loves you Marion!!!

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Gigi Barcelona

Barcelona is the new Belluno area of the eyewear industry. With big selling brands popping up all over the place. Gigi Barcelona looks for tradition rather than mass production. The original drawing made by Gigi Barcelona designers is the constant reference for the artisans who sculpt the final product.

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Handbrille

Perhaps you might be inspired from the scene in “The Devil Wears Prada” in which the powerful Meryl Streep a uses stylish, yet traditional reading glasses. Regardless of its functionality, Handbrille is a new, fantastic, stylish fashion accessory that exudes a fun sense of life, and stands for a liberal, independent lifestyle.

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Hapter

A well known yet young label, and very unique with its World Z design of metal frames laminated with unique materials, but Hapter is becoming more adult. Adding some more fashionable designs to its collection and launching a completely new revolutionary hinge design which I think can put the brand on top of the market. Great job Eric and crew!!

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Histoire de Voir

So what do you do when you make frames out of leather and you feel you have done it all! You just make more unique styles and work with leather in a different way then any brand every did! Made by hand in France of course!!

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 JF Rey

One of my greatest heroes who I proudly can call a friend! Incredible how a designer as established as Jean Francois can keep coming up with amazing and innovative stuff in such a variety of style and technique. From colourfull acetates with unique metal construction in their new BLADE collection to gunmetal frames with bones and skulls. Only at JFREY Eyewear Design

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Mykita Mylon

Met my good friends Terressa and Walter from the Bold Optical Fair. They always get angry when I call their show “the most exclusive eyewear venue in the WORLD” because they also showcase some regular designs. But I don’t care, I just keep calling it that, because this venue will rock your WORLD, even more then these cool 3d printed Mylon frames by Mykita.

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Piero Massaro

Piero doesn’t talk any English, so what is there to say, except for the fact that his designs are amazing!!! Keep bein you Piero!!!

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Pierre Eyewear

So what do you do when you did all the crazy designs you can imagine. You make frames that look normal, but in fact are not!! Sneaky designs by my old friend Pierre Cariven.

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Vinyl Factory

As you can clearly see it this unique frame I am wearing, Vinyl Factory takes us back to an earlier time and re-interprets classic, iconic models and updates them for today’s style-conscious wearers. Inspired by the music and spirit of the ’60s and ’70s, the collection is composed of optical and sunglass models with unique detailing that gets you into a pop and retro mood.

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Xavier Garcia

It’s always such a treat catching up with Nuria from the Barcelona based brand Xavier Garcia. As a designer, Xavier is going back to his roots, keeping true to his heritage. Beautiful coloured layers of acetate which design is also brought back to their metal collection, with colourful layers of stacked metal. Beautiful stuff presented at Opti but still many more concepts in the pipeline.

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Oh, what a rush it was! Opti was a true kick off for this season, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year has in store. I truly hope you like this report as much as I liked being here. And to show you just a bit more how it is to walk these six halls, here is a little overview that speaks more than a thousand words. Enjoy!

 opti 2020 will be held from 10 to 12  January 2020. See you all there!
@opti_show #opti2019 #bloggerspectacle

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