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100% Optical 2014 has been a resounding success according to the feedback and reaction of many of the 5,483 (ABC Audit pending) opticians, optometrists, buyers and industry professionals who attended the first International Optical exhibition in ExCeL London on the 16th-18th February.

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The three action packed days made a big impression on the international optical industry. Top buyers from UK and Europe made the most of the opportunity to see a vast selection of leading brands and new and innovative designers under one roof and there was standing room only at many of the CET qualifying educational sessions which were integral to the events educational programme and attracted an accumulated audience of over 3,200. Plus many members of 100% Optical’s partner, the AOP, took advantage of access to their VIP Lounge.

Over 250 buyers from stores including; Harvey Nichols, Leightons Opticians, Specsavers and Vision Express attended the event.

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The opening day event in the central bar of the show on Sunday 16th February was literally packed with show visitors and exhibitors full of praise and enthusiasm for the first day at 100% Optical.  The event featured a DJ set from Gary Powell from The Libertines. On the evening of day 2, Moorfields Charity held a fundraiser which provided another opportunity for exhibitors and visitors to network.

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Speaking at the end of a busy 3 days, Lee Newton CEO of organiser Media 10 commented, “This event has been spectacular – we have taken a strong vertical industry and launched an exhibition that will transform the UK optical market. The feedback from exhibitors has been overwhelming and we have shown that B2B events can have the wow factor. Our peers from international optical events were so full of praise for 100% Optical that we’ve done in 1 year what the industry has been crying out for for decades. London needed a world class optical event and we have given them exactly that”.

100% Optical’s interactive features and exclusive fashion shows and workshops also proved to be a big pull for visitors to the event:

International keynote speakers on the Main Stage attracted large audiences to the 200 seat theatre at the heart of 100% Optical.  The programme of world-class speakers covering a variety of topics was assembled by the Association of Optometrists and included sessions by  the world leader in vision science Professor Brien Holden, amblyopia expert Professor Anita Simmers and lens physicist Professor Joshua Silver.

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The Lens Hall featured two seminar streams taking place on the Lens Hub, covering Contact Lenses and Ophthalmic Lenses. Top speakers and companies were represented in a variety of formats – from group discussions to individual seminars – and include the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) and University College London (UCL).

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The Equipment Hub housed a selection of hand-picked equipment from leading equipment manufacturers, including as Optos, Hanson, Zeiss and Heidelberg. It offered visitors the opportunity to try out equipment in a non-sales environment and take advantage of the CET accredited seminars and workshops on offer. Workshops are held for small groups of four to six participants, and a series of mini-seminars are also being held.

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The Fashion Hub proved to be a focal point of the show, with the four live eyewear shows daily, organised by leading Fashion Show Producer Lindsey Hunt, attracting crowds to every performance. Eight Scenes followed Summer and Winter trends; The Great Luxe Outdoors, Film Noir, 21st Century Suiting, Modern Dandy, Typically English, Modern 60’s, Florals and swimwear. Clothing for the catwalk was supplied by top fashion designers including: Giles Deacon, Holland and Holland, Kinloch and Anderson, Rigby and Peller, Daks, Aimee Mc Williams, Superdry, Next – suiting and Austin Reed. The Seminars and workshops from speakers such as Jason Kirk, Klaus Kosgaard, and Marie Wilkinson married extremely well with the shows creating a vibrant atmosphere. The Hub also contains an installation created by innovative and award winning visual merchandising company –KSHT

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In the Business Hub visitors met with experts from the optical industry worldwide for advice and tipsExpert consultations include Social Media Expert Garry Kousoulou, whose authoritative presentation qualifies for CET points and is GOC approved, Entrepreneur Imran Hakim and Independent Retail Designer Dean Waugh were extremely popular.  Other experts include Lindsey Small director of ZIGZAG training and Sarah Morgan an optometrist and staff development consultant from Eye Communicate.

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100% Optical created a ‘3D Frame Factory’ which allowed visitors to see first-hand how 3D printers work and how frames are printed. The hub showcased the latest 3D Printing technology and software including Creat3D’s CubeX and ProDesk 3D Printers. The new 3D handheld scanner was also on show, allowing visitors to scan their faces in order to design frames that are a true fit.  Plus the latest 3D Printed designs including the first ever 3D Printed Titanium frames by Belgium designer and optician, Patrick Hoet.

A glimpse of the future talent in eyewear design was encapsulated within the The Royal College of Art Eyewear Competition finalists’ display of prototypes. Made and developed in conjunction with Jesse Stevens at Fish Island Design, and made by Algha Works in East London. The Black Collection – the favourites from a collection of over 2000 vintage frames amassed by Jesse Steven’s Fish Island Design and Tony Gross’s Vintage Collection were also inspirational aspects of the event.

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Exhibitors and visitors were quick to praise the all new 3 day event:

“100% Optical is just what the industry needs. We are seeing loads of serious buyers. A lot from in and around the M25 but people have travelled too. It’s refreshing and different and exactly what the industry is looking for!” David Evans, Director and Head of Engineering, Hanson Instruments

“We are picking up great numbers of potential clients and have sold more frames than we expected. The fashion show gives it an extra wow factor.” Vibeke Andersen, UK Consultant, LINDBERG

“A vibrant show with a strong footfall. 100% Optical marries well with our objectives.” Rob Lyon, Business Unit Manager, Zeiss

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“Very successful for us.  We’ve taken lots of orders including a large one from the Netherlands.  We are very pleased we exhibited at 100% Optical and even better its alongside London Fashion week where our Spring Summer 14 collection features in several catwalk shows.” Julian Clarke, Head of International Sales, Cutler & Gross

“100% Fantastic! We are having a fantastic show and excited to be here.  We have had a great atmosphere on the stand, everyone is welcome to visit us whether they’re buying or not. 100% Optical brings the European feel to London. I’m delighted we decided to exhibit - as you can see our stand is extremely busy and we will definitely back next year!” Robert Morris, William Morris

“We exhibit at all the international shows from Italy to China and we are very impressed by the look of 100% Optical.  100% Optical is extremely well organised and we are seeing lots of new and valuable visitors.  We will definitely be back next year.” Sven Reiss, Executive Vice President, Flair

Bob Forgan, Managing Director, Waterside: “Visitors to our stand have been truly international we’ve seen buyers from across the globe - Gibraltar, Scotland, Ireland, Scandinavia, Algeria, Cyprus Greece!”

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“We are here to purchase new frames and pick up some new brands for our practice. We have already purchased one brand, DUTZ and are looking at Ørgeen. The show is brilliant. We had a specific goal in mind upon coming here, to find some new niche brands and we have definitely found them here.”Alnoor Kassam, Optician, Kassford opticians, Forest Hill

“We have had a look at some frames but we are here because we are looking to buy OCT. We are currently deciding between Heidelberg and ZEISS. It’s also great to see a lot of smaller boutique brands, which we haven’t seen elsewhere. CET has been a big pull, the content is great -100% Optical is a one stop shop, and a great atmosphere.” Gurpreet Garcha, Optometrist, Six Six Vision, Romford

“I came for the CET points, but 100% Optical is a fantastic opportunity to see new ranges of eyewear. We had a great time at the launch party as well. In all it has been a great day out, and a great chance to catch up with old colleagues and friends.” Sarabjit Dhillen, Dispensing Optician, Locum

“It has been a wonderful refresher as to what’s out there. I will definitely come back. The laser surgery lecture floated my boat.” Hardip Bansil-Shah, Optometrist, Vision Express