Last week, fashion week wasn’t the only thing happening in Milan. Over the weekend, the city also hosted the 2017 MIDO Eyewear Show, the world’s largest optical and sun exhibition which houses more than 1,200 eyewear brands from around the world- including all the top players and new emerging brands. Running head to head with some of Milan’s biggest shows, includng Marni, Bottega Veneta, and Jil Sander, the timing emphasizes just how important eyewear is within the larger Italian fashion industry.

MIDO president, Cirillo Marcolin--whose father founded Marcolin, the company behind eyewear brands like Tom Ford, Balenciaga, and Moncler--stressed the importance of bringing the “leading international players” and the “small artisanal and avant-garde companies, young designers, all new start-ups at their first debut” under the one roof. “It’s where trade people can meet and be inspired,” he added.

While the major, household name brands were all there, showing off their latest wares, including Ray-Ban and Persol, discovery of newest brand’s was perhaps the most exciting aspect of the extravaganza, especially from a fashion standpoint. Straight from the convention’s Lab Academy--an area dedicated to young creative talents and micro designers--here are five the up-and-coming brands to know now, just in time for warmer weather.

A pair of lool sunglasses.

Launched just six months ago in Barcelona, each pair of the brand’s eyewear is handmade from sheets of steel using distinct lines and creating a unique personality to each piece. Right now, the brand is available in Europe, with plans for distribution in the U.S. coming this summer. Look forward to the brand’s signature screw-less hinge and easily removable temples for maximum durability and easy assembly.

A pair of FAKBYFAK sunglasses.

Moscow-based eyewear brand Fakoshima reinvented itself in July 2016 under a new name, FAKBYFAK, with a focus cultivating “non-mainstream ideas,” making it the first Russian brand of conceptual sunglasses and optical eyewear. Recently, the brand collaborated with avant-garde Belgian designer Walter Van Beirendonck on a collection that pays tribute to David Bowie with a distinctive 70’s shape and lots of color. This collection will be in stock at Dover Street Market in New York starting in April.

A pair of sunglasses by Yellows Plus.

Yellows Plus
Japanese brand Yellows Plus launched in 2001 with a focus on timeless beauty and ensuring that its frames match all skin colors and face structures. With a commitment to crafting each piece using skillful craftsmen in Japan, the brand specializes in classic, high quality shapes and timeless styles, and is available in small eyewear stores throughout the U.S., including New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

A pair of sunglasses by PAWAKA.

Indonesian designer Fabrani (Fa’) Empel launched the entirely handmade eyewear collection, PAWAKA, in 2015. The innovative eyewear label is inspired by evolution, Native American philosophy, nature, and the designer’s Indonesian heritage. The eccentric, geometric shapes set this brand apart. Select styles available at Soho boutique Henrik Vibskov in New York.

A pair of Yuichi Toyama optical glasses.

YUICHI TOYAMAYuichi Toyama is relaunching his eyewear brand, originally named USH, under his own name starting in Spring 2017. The brand features a minimalist design and simple aesthetics, expressing the wearer’s individuality without feeling overly trendy. All eyewear is produced in Japan with a focus on quality, exceptional craftsmanship, and innovative design. Select styles are available at Soho's eyewear and optical store, Anne & Valentin.

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