Vision Expo West: Eyewear Execs Talk Consolidation, Product and How to Best Serve Customers

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LAS VEGAS — The effect of the recent creative director shuffles at major design houses has finally trickled down to eyewear — a product with significantly longer production timelines than apparel. The fruits of this labor were on display at Vision Expo West, which wrapped at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas over the weekend. Among the leading trends in spring 2019 eyewear were angular, colorful and rimless lens styles; metal and mixed material frames; thinner profile, pastel-hued crystal acetate frames; Eighties logomania; Nineties minimalism; new takes on round, and finally, more men’s styles that also pushed the fashion envelope. But beyond the product, the fair was a chance for leading eyewear executives to ruminate on macro issues affecting the industry — everything from consolidation among manufacturers and retailers to demand forecasting and reacting to customer behavior to technical advancements — as well as the state of trade shows themselves. Steve Wright, president and chief commercial officer at Safilo North America, talked about how consolidation at the retail level affects his business. “It was very fragmented and there were a lot of independent players, and now the best locations are being moved into groups, so you have to approach that differently from a commercial standpoint.

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