Vision Expo East – TEF Review

Last week, Ashleigh and I visited Vision Expo East, held in New York City’s Javits Center. After visiting so many European shows this season already, the New York venue still provides many novelties and products you just won’t find on “the old continent”.

What struck me most was the upcoming of “Made in America” or at least “designed in America”. Well-known labels as Moscot, Tura and State (Europa), but also newcomers (at least to me) as Jonatan Cate, Moss Lipow, Spectacle Eyeworks or Hoorsenbuhs. All driven with the same passion to create unique independent eyewear for people to stand out and differentiate themselves.

Moss Lipow
Jonatan Cane
Spectacle Eyeworks

Debuting at the Show, Vision Expo’s inaugural EYE2EYE series packed the BRIDGE with attendees during several events including an interview with award-winning artist, Common, moderated by multimedia personality, Lilliana Vasquez, as well as a panel with FUBU founders, Daymond John, Keith Perrin, J. Alexander Martin and Carl Brown.


We were thrilled to see the new luxury division of Ultimate Vision USA, which markets Chris Craft, Henry Jullien, McLaren and Plein Les Mirettes, which we have shot in LA on multiple occasions.

At TEF, we love to see the true independent designer labels making their way to the American market. Brands like JF Rey and Face a Face have been going strong, but we were excited to see Ultimate adding beautiful labels as PLM and Henry Julien. The market deserves something unique, and these amazing brands deserve the audience.



Seeing our optical friends is always a treat, but there were also some lines that we didnt notice before, like the Canadian artisan collection of Montures Faniel, created by the talented artisan Anne-Marie . Out of her workshop in Quebec she designs these artistic and ecological frames, made partly from recycled materials, that just look amazing on Ashleigh.

Faniel Eyewear
Faniel Eyewear
Faniel Eyewear
Faniel Eyewear

The same goes for the amazing Carla Sfeir, who added some unique styles to her already unique Coexist label, made enterily by hand in her workshop in Montpellier, which we visited last summer.

Coexist Eyewear
Coexist Eyewear
Carla Sfeir from Coexist Eyewear

New to us also was Avanti Eyewear who is distributing the Japanese label Kazoku with bold yet sophisticated shapes that really stand out.

Kazoku Eyewear
Kazoku Eyewear
Kazoku Eyewear

Being across the big pond for a while gave us the change to catch up with old friends from Etnia Barcelona and TC Charton where we saw even older friends like James Spina and Daniel Feldman. Its these little things that make these international shows extra special.

Ashleigh wearing Etnia Barcelona
2020 editor James Spina and TOVS editor Daniel Feldman with Alexandra TC Charton
Latest TEF blogger Jennifer Tsai trying out a TC Charton frame for the upcoming TEFdoesMANHATTAN shoot
Me and Ashleigh looking extra limited at the Robert Graham booth

At this year’s exclusive Boutique Buyer Panel, Edward Beiner (South Miami, Fla.) was announced as the winner of the second annual OPTImum Retail Award. Vision Expo East also celebrated its exhibitors in the Best Booth Contest with Article One winning Most Creative Booth Design and Essilor of America winning Best Brand Activation. In addition, this year’s Vision Choice Award first place winner was Miraflex with second place going to Faniel Eyewear and third to Lunette USA Inc.

To promote independent eyewear on behalf of Vision Expo, we created several lifestyle shootings with our Manhattan based optometrist and eyewear blogger Sophia:

TEFdoesMANHATTAN for Lafont
TEFdoesMANHATTAN for Spectacular
TEFdoesMANHATTAN for State

Beside just creating lifestyle shoots, several TEFtalks were made as well, which we will publish on TEF Magazine shortly. Here a little preview of our talk with Hilco Vision CEO Ross Brownlee, chatting about the 5 different categories of services they provide to opticals all over the globe, being the expert in the peripheral part of the optical Arena.

“We were excited to see the creativity and passion each exhibitor brought to Vision Expo this year, as well as the drive we saw from attendees in the classroom and on the Show Floor. Vision Expo is thrilled that this year’s Show was a success and that we were able to share it with the many individuals who have the same enthusiasm for the optical industry as we do.”

Mitch Barkley, The Vision Council’s vice president of trade shows and meetings


To further promote the importance of eyecare and eyewear, informative messaging was placed throughout New York City the week of the Show, including a full-page ad in the New York Times highlighting the many eyecare options available to consumers, as well as Think About Your Eyes’ videos showing in multiple locations in Times Square. Additionally, The Vision Council hosted a press event to highlight Vision Expo exhibitors’ products to 86 influencers and members of consumer and trade media.

Vision Expo continues to be a can’t-miss event for the industry. Recently named one of the Fastest 50 by Trade Show Executive, save the date for Vision Expo West 2019, September 18–21 in Las Vegas. Vision Expo East 2020 will take place March 26–29 in New York City.

About Vision Expo

Vision Expo East (Education: March 26-29, 2020; Exhibition: March 27-29, 2020) in New York City and West (Education: September 18-21, 2019; Exhibition: September 19-21, 2019) in Las Vegas are trade-only conferences and exhibitions for eyecare and eyewear presented by co-owners Reed Exhibitions and The Vision Council. Vision Expo is the complete event for ophthalmic professionals, where eyecare meets eyewear, and education, fashion and innovation mingle. In the Vision Expo Exhibit Hall, eyecare providers can discover trends, interact with new technologies and access innovative products and services. The Vision Expo education program is driven by the profession, offering content of the highest quality and relevance to enhance overall patient care. For more information, visit and follow Vision Expo on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

About The Vision Council

Championing better vision for better lives, The Vision Council positions its members for success by promoting growth in the vision care industry through education, advocacy, research, consumer outreach, strategic relationship building and industry forums. By sharing the latest in eyewear trends, advances in technology and advice from eyewear experts, The Vision Council serves as a resource to the public looking to learn more about options in eyeglasses and sunglasses.

Author: maarten weidemaAfter being a freelance eyewear designer since 1999, TEF founder Maarten Weidema now solely writes about his fellow designers in the optical industry. His passionate mission is to promote independent eyewear to the international optical arena, backed up by a large group of bloggers and journalists from all over the world. He has recently been awarded "International Optical Personality of the Year", "Leading Innovator in Optical Social Media Marketing", "Social Media Marketing Company of the Year" and received several awards for "best eyewear blog" for his efforts to promote independent eyewear to a community of 517.000 eyecare professionals.

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