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Talking trends: Jason, co founder of Kirk & Kirk, reports on the styles and fashions on show in Milan this year.

How would you summarise the Mido experience this year?

Each year many thousands of opticians, designers, suppliers and enthusiasts descend on Milan to find out what is happening in the world of optics.

With a plethora of shows in the first half of 2015, it was inevitable that some or all of the shows would suffer --Munich, London, Copenhagen, Milan, New York--and so the aisles seemed quieter at Mido than in previous years.

Nevertheless, this is a massive show; an opportunity to discover new brands and trends that will allow the optician to distinguish themselves from the competition.

What were the defining shapes, colours and textures on show?

Retro remains dominant, and in times of austerity, people are often tempted to 'play it safe.' Geometric shapes and classic tortoiseshells from brands like Anne et Valentin and Barton Perreira seem to offer 'security': but is this the right way forward when you can pick up a tortoiseshell panto in just about any opticians, or on myriad sites online?

More interesting and exciting are the colours and textures appearing on the market. Lucas de Stael launched a beautiful capsule collection called Vivarium covering four shapes which mix leather and metal, and come in a range of beautiful colours. Having won a Silmo D'Or award in 2014, this is certainly a brand to watch and one that is not easy to find in the UK.

There were also heavy, chunky frames made with a patented 'rusted' surface and gorgeous bejewelled feminine frames from the inimitable Francis Klein.

Is Mido still a must-attend event?

Mido remains an important show in the optical calendar. The majority of the exciting designer brands, the brands that allow the independents to differentiate themselves from their competitors, simply do not have representation in the UK, and do not exhibit at Optrafair or 100% Optical. This means that, unless practitioners visit European shows, it is harder to identify and bring innovative eyewear to clients and optical practices miss out on the opportunity to build customer loyalty.

100% Optical was a great show with a strong turnout of foreign and domestic exhibitors and an excellent attendance rate by UK opticians. Optrafair will surely up its game too.

Nevertheless, us Brits still need to visit Mido and Silmo. These are hugely important shows where the key movers and shakers in our industry congregate. For a small investment of time and money, the British optician can have the opportunity to transform their business.

Jason Kirk is cofounder of Kirk & Kirk eyewear company, which launched its debut collection in 2014. Mr Kirk also designs collections for other brands and is available as a consultant, offering advice on marketing and brand development, through to concepts and sourcing,

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Title Annotation:dialogue with Jason Kirk
Author:Kirk, Jason
Publication:Optometry Today
Article Type:Interview
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 21, 2015
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