My latest article for Cool Hunting.
While you might not have heard of it, Italy’s Mido Eyewear Show is the leading event for eyewear professionals. It’s an exhibition during which major international brands present their new styles and innovations for prescription specs and sunglasses—and, while it might sound like it’s purely for industry members, it’s fascinating for anybody interested in fashion and design.
The show saw some 1200 exhibitors last year—two-thirds of which were international. Mido president Cirillo Marcolin says of the 2016 event, “We’ve been working hard to renew the traditional concept of a trade fair. For this reason we have abandoned the classic idea of ‘trend area’ and we have created The Design Lab and More. The first focuses on niche brands and independent productions, while the second will be animated by seminars and conventions about the evolution of the markets.” Of the many designs and designers Marcolin is excited about, he tells us, “Recently we’ve discovered a young producer who uses old vinyls to make eyewear, and in Munich we have spotted spectacles made of real leather… It is not just about pure creativity and prototypes, since what you’ll see there are actual production pieces, maybe handcrafted, but ready for the market.”
Marcolin offered us a sneak preview of Mido, and there were many stand-outs worth mentioning. Of the most notable, Lapo Elkann’s Italia Independent will unveil the next designs to come of their collaboration with Adidas Originals. Color is the main event—with ’80s vibes and tropical patterns featuring heavily—while retro shapes match. Another favorite hailed from Boston Club, whose spectacles are completely made in Sabae, Japan, despite the misleading name. Their designs are vintage-tinged, yet their use of innovative materials (like Japanese acetate Takiron) and unexpected colorways keep them current.
“Storm,” the debut collection from the brand Gabe, is made up of wooden frames that boast a screw-less horn hinge the brand calls a “snap-joint”. There’s a delightful blend of natural materials and structural development at play here. As for Fakoshima, designed by Konstantin Shilyaev, their offerings are purely conceptual and utterly extreme. Their “Kabuki” collection reveals a theatrical edge—sunglasses become a mask. Influenced by art and avant-garde, Shilyaev will also unveil a collaboration with Indian-born fashion designer Manish Arora at Mido.
Finally, Movitra‘s mission is simple: to protect lenses from shocks and scratches. With this in mind, Filippo Pagliacci and his team have developed and patented a special system that allows the sunglasses’ arms to rotate and become a barrier for the lenses. Not only is it a logical yet innovative concept, the designs are ultimately wearable.
The 2016 Mido Eyewear Show is on this weekend, 27-29 February, at the Fiera Milano Convention Center, Strada Statale del Sempione 28, Milan.