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, out of which 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, microsize shapes, like the ones we are seeing on L.A. It girls like Bella Hadid, Hailey Baldwin, and the Hamlin sisters. The second trend was a focus on sustainability and ethically sourced materials. This green attitude seems particularly relevant in the industry as a whole given the recent shift to up-cycling and faux fur by major 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 stainless steel micro frame, $190,

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.”

Rigards horn oval sunglasses in brown, $770,


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Eyewear brand Rigards created handcrafted horn frames with a conscious focus on sustainability. The frames are made by a master artisan, using traditional non-high-tech hand tools to carve the frame, thus avoiding machines and reducing their carbon footprint. The natural 100 percent buffalo horn is not the only thing that stands out. All of Rigards' frames have an original and unconventional avant-garde design.

BLYSZAK buffalo horn frames, $910,



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 with a more laid-back refinement—merging atypical frame shapes with a sense of wearability and inclusion.

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