This is an issue that resonates far beyond the sunglasses industry. In April 2006 Hong Kong Polytechnic University launched a roughly $800,000 initiative that scanned the heads of 2,000 people across China. Size China, as the database is called, has already been approached by the World Health Organization to work on special face masks for SARS and avian flu. Other possible products, reports Size China, include helmets, headphones and head-mounted microsurgery tools.
So why should fashion, usually at the forefront of what’s next, come so late to the game? “We’re getting to a junction where we need to figure out how to call attention to this,” says Safilo’s Parker, “so the consumer can come into the store and find [a fit] without looking for a needle in a haystack.”
Armed with my research from this story—and seven years after retiring that failed wraparound style—I buy my first pair of sunglasses. Actually, make that pairs: one chic plastic style from Chloè that has a fairly flat frame (a very important feature, I’ve learned by now) and another from Oliver Peoples with adjustable-wire nose pads. Finally, it seems, shady days are here again.