What an incredible weekend we had at 100% Optical, London! This was our fourth visit in 5 years and we're delighted to report that it's thriving. The UK finally has a trade-show to be proud of and that will attract internationally renowned indie brands as well as showcasing some homegrown talents.
This year was easily the biggest and best yet. I don't think I managed to see everything, but what I did see was a plethora of choice that isn't readily found in the shores of England - never-mind Birmingham!
Metronome is a case in point, a brand borne out of a passion for eyewear by the brilliantly eccentric designer Bisei Iwamoto.
Though not fluent in English, Bisei's words for his craft were not lost in translation. We talked about techniques and details through hand gestures and smiles! To see someone revel in their craft is a joy to behold!
From fossils to monastic stained windows and cyberpunk, there wasn't a collection that I have seen that tried to encapsulate the dystopian history of the planet into a dozen unique frames. Incredibly, the brand originates in London, UK!
Another brand that we have been keeping a close eye on is 2C2NV (a play with the words, "To see, to envy). Chief designer, Angelo Luiliani, hails from Wolverhampton and is truly down-to-earth. The collection is clearly inspired by legendary eyewear designer, Cari Zalloni, with bold sensibilities and a focus on luxury.
We met Angelo in the summer of 2017 and had a glimpse of the styles that hadn't yet been released and we love the direction! Lot's of bling and full of attitude, certainly a sunglasses line to make others envy.
Hidden among the clean white booths, we bumped in to British eyewear designer extraordinaire, Alyson Magee, and her newest namesake collection. She is a name synonymous with avant garde eyewear, like Face A Face and Alain Mikli, and the new styles do not disappoint.
Finding inspiration from architecture and structure, the collection has a distinctive, playful feel. Blocks of acetate and the exposed metal skeleton merge to form a flowing, and intriguing, silhouette.
Alyson Magee is certainly a name to look out for in 2018. You can read more about her in her interview with 100% Optical here.
If there was anything that we took away from our visit to 100% Optical - the indie scene in the UK is flourishing. That excites us!
Goodbye licenced brands; Hello you!