Last month, Milan hosted the 2018 MIDO Milan Eyewear trade show, which brought the best the eyewear industry has to offer under one roof. The trade show showcased 1,305 exhibitors from around the world, including many new designers and start-ups in their Lab Academy. There, two major trends emerged. The first: '90s-inspired style eyewear, with a focus on small, matrix style shapes. The trend has been gaining in popularity for the past year, but officially has staying power. Canadian designer Orion Demetrioff, who debuted his first collection this year, was a stand out example, with both metal and acetate frames on trend with futuristic, micro-sized shapes like the ones we are seeing on L.A. It Girls like Bella Hadid, Hailey Baldwin, and the Hamlin sisters. The second trend we saw was a focus on sustainability and ethically sourced materials. This conscious attitude seems particularly relevant in the industry as a whole given the recent shift to upcycling and faux-fur by major runway fashion designers like Gucci, Versace, and Givenchy.
Here are three brands discovered at MIDO’s Lab Academy to keep an eye on as the temperatures start to rise and beach season approaches.
Nature of Reality
Designer Orion Demetrioff debuted his first collection of Nature of Reality eyewear at the trade show. While the collection presents a futuristic aesthetic, the designer has collected inspiration from social movements of the past, like the '70s punks, the '90s rave scene, and early aughts club kids, all of which he described as, “subcultures which used outlandish fashion statements as their voices against mainstream society.”
Eyewear brand RIGARDS created hand-crafted horn frames with a conscious focus on sustainability. Their natural 100 percent buffalo horn frames are each made by a master artisan, who uses traditional non-high-tech hand tools to carve the frame out of a solid piece of horn, thus avoiding machines and reducing their carbon footprint. However, the unusual material is not the only thing that stands out about the brand’s frames. All of RIGARDS frames have an original and unconventional avant-garde design.
London-based eyewear brand BLYSZAK is also experimenting with a mix of materials including titanium and ethically-sourced water buffalo horn. The brand, however, approaches eyewear design with a more laid-back refinement - merging atypical frame shapes with a sense of wearability and inclusion.