EYEWEAR RETAIL REPORT

KANEKO OPTICAL, TOKYO

Text MIO HAYASHI

Based on its motto of “craftsmanship in mind, progressiveness to the world”, Kaneko Optical was founded in Sabae, in Fukui Prefecture Japan in 1958. “Sabae is a city known to have the highest standard of eyewear manufacturing, and produces more than 90% of eyewear within Japan,” explains Noriaki Ohashi, PR manager of the company.

The brand currently operates its own factory and three freestanding stores; two in Tokyo and one in Paris; the Ginza Tokyo flagship location having just opened in December 2018. “There is a consistency all throughout the planning, design, manufacturing, and sales phases of our products, which is not common for an eyewear company, and this enables the maker’s wish to reach the users,” adds Noriaki. The brand appeals to a quality-oriented mature audience with a distinctive taste for Made in Japan eyewear.

store Kaneko Optical Tokyo Courtesy of Kaneko Optical
Kaneko Optical in Ginza, Tokyo

Asked about the best sellers, classic styles such as round, Boston, or Wellington types are the signature of the brand and popular among the customers. “Notably, the combination frames of acetate and titanium feature a smooth line and a classic base with a beautiful, sensible finish. It’s a detail that represents the Japanese quality, and they are popular among overseas buyers as well.” As for this season, there is a tendency for thinner frames, with a gentle round shape. “The more simple they are, the more quality becomes visible, and we feel that the customers will be able to appreciate the quality.”

store Kaneko Optical Tokyo Courtesy of Kaneko Optical

Kaneko Optical

6-8-4 Ginza
Chyo-ku, Tokyo 104-0061, Japan
+ 81 3 6263 8481
www.kaneko-optical.co.jp

Photo: courtesy of Kaneko Optical

This article originally appeared in the ORGINAL issue // published in April 2019.

EYEWEAR RETAIL REPORT

ATELIER MIRA, NEW YORK

Text MIO HAYASHI

With an industry background of 20 years and a family heritage of the eyewear brand Anne et Valentin, Rama and Assia Valentin envisioned an optical boutique of their own, a concept store that would combine their expertise with atypical aesthetics. With this vision, Atelier Mira was born, showcasing a selection of independent eyewear brands as well as luxury goods.

Located in Williamsburg in the borough of Brooklyn, New York, the epicenter of hip millennials, the shop attracts individuals looking for a curated selection of eyewear, accessories, fragrances, and lifestyle items. “This generation tends to look for a discoverable shopping experience that ends up being pleasurable, gratifying, and above-all: memorable.”

store Atelier Mira New York Courtesy of Atelier Mira
Atelier Mira in New York

Asked about what has been trending for the season, “We see a growing demand for unexpected design,” comments Assia. This includes striking textures seen on brands such as Theo, Nina Mur, and Kuboraum, exceptionally-detailed classic designs with vintage inspiration of Eyevan7285 and a modern and sophisticated twist on a traditional style presented by Jacques Marie Mage and Anne et Valentin. Additionally, oversized boxy shapes and extremely narrow rectangular ones are rising in popularity.

For sunglasses, partially-tinted lenses have been prominent such as those of Thierry Lasry, Ahlem, and Jacques Marie Mage, as well as warm, organic, and natural tones with modern versions of the wire frame aesthetics. Regardless, Assia stresses their focus on working outside of the changing trends to “help clientele find their own voice and unique expression of style away from trending fashion rules.”

store Atelier Mira New York Courtesy of Atelier Mira
Atelier Mira in New York

Atelier Mira

224 Grand Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211, USA
+ 1 718 747 8844
www.ateliermira.com

Photo: courtesy of Atelier Mira

This article originally appeared in the ORGINAL issue // published in April 2019.

store Le Lunetier Milan Courtesy of Le Lunetier Milano

EYEWEAR RETAIL REPORT

LE LUNETIER, MILANK

Text MIO HAYASHI

The definition of “Le Lunetier” goes beyond the meaning of its counterpart in English, which would simply be “optician.” “It represents the figure of an optical craftsman, one who would carve forms destined to become spectacles in various materials,” explains Michele Locatelli, the founder of the shop. This is precisely the spirit of Le Lunetier, whose objective is to combine tradition, innovation, aesthetics, functionality, as well as passion and professionalism. “Eyewear is one of the few accessories that is 100% functional and aesthetic. It therefore becomes an essential tool to express their personality and character.” Their appreciation of the artisan culture is reflected in the assortment of independent brands with a focus on the highest quality, “which are mostly produced in Italy, France, Scandinavia, Japan, and California,” adds Michele.

store Le Lunetier Milan Courtesy of Le Lunetier Milano
Le Lunetier, Milan

While the Milan clientele base is versatile, attracting the young and hip looking for limited edition styles to a more mature base who goes for quality classic eyewear, the best sellers are dictated by the notable trends of the season. For this season, cat eye has proved itself as right on trend and has therefore been a top seller. “Wilma” of Snob Milano, “Mask Y3” of The Kuboraum, and “Orchid” by L.G.R all represent the style but each one has a different look, from elegant to edgy and aggressive. The oversized glasses, which were omnipresent at this year’s fashion shows are another favorite, while the sporty styles worn by cyclists and skiers are also making a comeback from the 90s. “The keyword is to dare both with dimensions and colors,” emphasizes Michele.

store Le Lunetier Milan Courtesy of Le Lunetier Milano

Le Lunetier Milano

Via Carlo Ravizza, 7
20149 Milan, Italy
+39 02 4398 2683
www.lelunetier.it

Photo: courtesy of Le Lunetier Milano

This article originally appeared in the ORGINAL issue // published in April 2019.

4SEE has been on the lookout for the best and brightest new eyewear to hit the market this spring and summer, visiting tradeshows across the globe to bring you our editorial picks from Opti, Mido, and Vision Expo East, as well as exclusive press events. With something for everyone, but only the best of, you’re sure to find that perfect fit that combines function, fashion, and of course a healthy dose of fun.

Key trends to look out for are the Visor Revival with heavily shielded shades and Bare Essentials with stripped down and stylish offerings that hit the mark. There is also a growing range of transparent colored lenses to choose from so you can really suit your own style. New for this season are a number of Oval, New Geometric, and Logomania frames you can see in our roundup.

Update: On the Horizon – New technologies are making the impossible possible. We first covered the possibilities for combining augmented reality and eyewear in 2017 with our “Eyes on the Future.” Since then, the concept has really taken off, and so many new developments are about to hit the mass-market. One particularly exciting example is Focals by Canadian eyewear startup North. What makes their high-tech glasses so appealing is that they come in a stylish shape and the technology is so well integrated into the frames that you barely notice it is there. A sign of good things to come in this field. The way we think about nature and sustainability is also constantly evolving; enabling better materials to make eyewear more ecologically friendly. Biodegradable frames and lenses, modular frames, locally and renewably sourced materials, and more are among the new wave of glasses to pick up on this important factor. Issue 11 the WILD ISSUE comes out this fall and will feature a full run-down of what you need to know and where you can go to get on this trend that also helps our planet.

ZELAI ÓPTICA, optical shop in Madrid, Spain

EYEWEAR RETAIL REPORT

ZELAI ÓPTICA, MADRID

Text MIO HAYASHI

ZELAI Óptica opened in Pozuelo de Alarcón, just outside Madrid, 30 years ago by Mentxu Ormazábal. An optician and lover of exclusivity, Mentxu began the search for eyewear with a personality and style outside of Spain. “In those days, it was impossible to find healthy vision and innovative design together,” comments Amaya Ázocar, the founder’s daughter. Following the success of the first shop, the second location opened in 1999 in Chueca, a trendy, gay-friendly neighborhood in the heart of Madrid.

ZELAI ÓPTICA, optical shop in Madrid, Spain
4SEE Retail Report – ZELAI ÓPTICA

Working with independent brands such as Monokol, Michel Henau, Andy Wolf, Res Rei, and Kaleos, their buying policy limits the purchase to one or two pieces of the same models, maintaining the exclusivity of the collection. “We work with many suppliers and designers that we love. In general, we focus on independent design that adapts perfectly to changes in style because their structures allow it.”

Since the beginning, their philosophy has been to provide a complete personalized experience and to create a special connection with the clients. With this in mind, the shops have been designed with a careful attention to details from optometry to choosing the right pair. ZELAI Óptica also prides itself in being a pioneer of introducing metal models, while also counting all-black models as their staples. The trend factor for this season is reflected in the mini glasses and hexagonal models in their assortment.

ZELAI ÓPTICA, optical shop in Madrid, Spain

Zelai Optica

Plaza de Chueca 9
28004 Madrid, Spain
+34 91 524 0547
Website

Photos: courtesy of Zelai Optica

This article originally appeared in the SPEED issue // published in September 2018.

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