Family Plot
Meet Olaf. He is one of the cast of characters of the latest collection from Kirk Originals. Called Kirk Heroes, this new line of eyewear is personified by characters from the Kirk family album. Each frame comes with a story that summarizes the rather unusual life of its namesake.

For example, Olaf, “the shadow Kirk,” achieved world renown as a stunt double for Noel Coward. His early criminal activity as a cave painting forger ended in a three year sentence when his “Juggling Hamster” was shown to be a fake.

You can personally check out Olaf and the rest of the Kirk Heroes Collection when it launches at Silmo this month.  —Jackie Micucci

Olympic Moments
The summer is over and the Olympians have most likely tired of sleeping in their medals. But while the competition was going strong sports eyewear certainly was front and center on some of the world’s top athletes. Nike graced the faces of two American gold medal winners Jeremy Wariner (who won the 400 meter race) and Joanna Hayes (who won the 100 meter hurdles). Favoring Oakley was Mexican superstar runner Ana Gabriela who won the silver in the 400 meter race. Also in (and out) of Oakley was American hurdler Allen Johnson (below left) who took a tumble during the 110 meter hurdles.

The American women proved their dominance in softball by claiming the gold and only giving up one run during the entire competition. The team’s poster girl Jennie Finch is also Bolle’s poster girl. And, last, but certainly not least, American swimmer Michael Phelps who took home the biggest medal haul of all (six gold and two bronze) wears, what else, but Speedo goggles when he dives into the pool.  —JM

What’s it all about? 1. Jude Law sports the Dior homme 005/s from Sàfilo in a scene from the movie “Alfie.” This remake of the 1960s romantic comedy that originally starred Michael Caine is set to be released October 22… Teen spirit. 2. Lenny Kravitz wears Dita Eyewear’s The Mack at the 2004 Teen Choice Awards where he both performed and presented an award… Stay tuned. Some stars of the little screen showing off cK Optical frames from Marchon: 3. Tate Donovan in style 669 plays “Jimmy Cooper” on Fox’s “The O.C.”; fellow “O.C.” star 4. Rachel Bilson in style 5502; 5. Kristin Kreuk of the WB’s “Smallville” in style 5300; and Jessica’s little sister 6. Ashlee Simspon, who now has her own MTV reality series (and hit CD), in style 5502… Flying high. 7. Heather Locklear is ready for take off in her Bottega Veneta 06/s sunglasses from Sàfilo. The actress stars in the new TV series “LAX” on NBC… Celebutants. Not content with the mega-bucks they are set to inherit, today’s young heiresses want their share of camera time. So what is the well-dressed, spotlight hogging socialite wearing? Both 8. Paris Hilton (heiress to the Hilton hotel fortune) and 9. Casey Johnson (heiress to the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical fortune) wear MICHAEL by Michael Kors style 2401 from Marchon… Anglophiles. Actors 10. Harvey Kietel and 11. Kurt Russell both stay focused in Anglo-American frames, model 312. —JM

Life Altering
Beyond being a medical device, eyewear can be a defining characteristic of a person’s look and the way they are perceived. But can eyewear really change a person’s life?

Silhouette Optical thinks so. Known for its Titan Minimal Art rimless collection, Silhouette is holding a nation-wide contest entitled “Titan Minimal Art—Change Your Look … Change Your Life.” 

Having received hundreds of inspiring letters from consumers from all over the world lauding its screwless and hingeless Titan Minimal Art collection, this fall, Silhouette wants your customers to let them know just how their eyewear changed their life. In September, thousands of Silhouette’s Titan Minimal Art customers across the country received an official contest kit containing all the information, rules and regulations as well as point-of-purchase materials and entry forms necessary to participate.

Customers and eyecare practitioners will both have a chance to win such prizes as a trip to Austria or a trip to New York during the city’s Fashion Week.

20/20—and sister publication Vision Monday—also think the right eyewear can have life altering effects. That’s why we’re the exclusive media sponsors of the contest. For more information log onto

Info Surfing
It was honored host-time for Arnette sunglasses with its Surf Info Center at the recent Honda U.S. Open of Surfing presented by O’Neill in Huntington Beach, Calif. Officially named the Arnette Surf Info Center, the pop-surf-brand hosted the informational booth inside the TransWorld SURF Village during the four-day surf event. Attendees were able to access the latest heat schedules, current surfer rankings and information on daily events. In addition, Arnette displayed its current line of sunglasses in the booth allowing visitors to try on the same styles sported by Arnette pro-surfers Bruce Irons (pictured), Pat O’Connell and Matt Beacham, among others. Arnette’s pro-surfers also took part in an autograph signing session coordinated with a “5-A-Day Give-Away” with a pair of Arnette sunglasses as the prize.

“We’re proud to return as the host of the Surf Info Center in the TransWorld SURF Village,” says Arnette Brand Manager Kari Wade. “This event allows us to interact first-hand with our core consumers and, more importantly, shows our commitment to a community that has always supported Arnette and the Arnette lifestyle.” —James J. Spina

lens marketing
Jumper Cables Not Required — Global Optics, in cooperation with Innereactive Media, L.L.C., has released the first installment of “Jumpstart,” a new CD-ROM-based training program for eyecare professionals and their staff. Disc one, “Jumpstart: Your Office,” is designed to train front office staff and familiarize them with optical terminology and procedures.
 The CD-ROM contains video, animated examples, illustrations, music, narration, and more. Topics range from basic telephone etiquette and how to effectively schedule an appointment, to lens styles and how to measure a segment height.

“Jumpstart: Your Office” is pending approval by the American Board of Opticianry for continuing education credit.

The Jumpstart training series is available in October to professional optical practices and is exclusively distributed by members of Global Optics. Eyecare professionals may obtain Jumpstart by contacting any of the following Global Optics member labs: Advance Optical Sales Company, Beitler McKee Optical Company, C V O, Deitz Laboratories, Encore Optics, Enterprise Optical, Expert Optics, Harbor Optical, Hirsch Optical Corporation, I-Coat Company, JL Optical Company, Katz & Klein, Lenco, Professional Ophthalmic Labs, Cherry Optical, Rite Style Optical, Rooney Optical, Specialty Optical Services and Walman Optical.

AR Web Site-ing — The AR Council has redesigned its web site, www.arcouncil.org, to make research about anti-reflective lenses easier for both consumers and eye care professionals. The site now has expanded categories directed to the specific needs of ECPs, consumers, industry professionals and members. It is easier to navigate and provides each market segment with a broader base of information.

For example, ECPs are now able to download specific recommendations on AR lens care and cleaning, sales tips and how AR lenses improve visual acuity.
They can also order AR Council materials online, a feature not previously available.

Consumers can evaluate published information, then take it to their eyecare professional for further education, clarification and a lens demonstration. Consumer brochures are available in both English and Spanish.

LensCrafters Honors Vision-Ease — Vision-Ease Lens was named “lens supplier of the year” for 2003 by the LensCrafters chain. LensCrafters cited the lens maker for improvements in the forecasting and inventory-management process, and the strong collaboration and extensive R&D support.

…and Vision-Ease Honors Homer — Vision-Ease Lens has named Homer Optical SunRx Lab of the Year for 2003. The Silver Spring, Md.-based lab took full advantage Vision-Ease’s turnkey SunRx promotion. Marketing materials were distributed to its customers promoting the SunRx Rewards program; training materials to educate practices on how to quickly and easily sell SunRx polarized lenses were utilized. The online component was effectively used in bringing eyecare professionals on board, tracking the status of Reward Points and prize redemption. Due to its efforts, Homer Optical experienced an increase in SunRx sales that was over 250 percent.

Pictured, left to right, are (L to R): Linda Taylor, controller, Homer Optical; Peggy Conway, director of marketing, Homer Optical; Pete Smith, key account manager, Vision-Ease Lens.

Making a Spectacle — Rodenstock North America has expanded the lens options in its Rodenstock Spectacle program. The program combines Rodenstock frames and lenses to produce a complete vision care product.
Rodenstock Spectacles are now offered with clear polycarbonate lenses in both single-vision and progressive designs. The lenses are lightweight, impact-resistant, scratch-resistant, and have full UV protection.

In addition, Rodenstock Spectacles are available with ColorMatic Extra brown in a 1.56 index in both Progressiv AT and Cosmolit single-vision designs. ColorMatic Extra gray is still available in both designs as well.

what’s in store
Optical Oddities
Have you ever heard of “Convertibles”? They are sunglasses equipped with clips on the side to hold a woman’s hair back while she drives… in a …convertible. Do you know anyone looking for a pair of 12-karat gold frames with crystal lenses from the 1700s? What about a pair of Alpina sunglasses, just like the ones Elvis used to wear? These are just some of the optical oddities available at Fabulous Fanny’s, an antique and vintage eyewear shop in New York’s East Village.

“Most people come to us because they want something different,” says Stanton Blackmer, owner of Fabulous Fanny’s. The boutique is filled with one-of-a-kind eyewear—a sort of eyewear museum where the customers can purchase the exhibits and get a detailed history of each frame.

“I grew up in the service industry,” explains Blackmer. “I like the idea that I’m helping people and doing something that no one else can do. I help people create a new look.”
Blackmer, along with his partner Ken Finneran, boast one of the largest collections of vintage and antique eyewear on the East Coast. According to Blackmer, he owns approximately 30,000 pairs of frames, but only displays 3,000 pairs at a time. Some of the frames date back through the 18th century. Most of his frames come from flea markets and opticians’ back rooms, though his collection first evolved from his mother’s old frames.
“I am always looking,” he notes. (His personal eyewear collection, which includes vintage eyewear masks, will be on display at the Triple Pier Antique Show in New York in March of next year.)

Originally, Blackmer sold his frames in flea markets. He soon built up a “nice customer base” that he didn’t want to lose. When he opened the store three years ago, Blackmer decided not to locate in trendy downtown Soho or midtown Manhattan where a large amount of New York’s business is situated, so he could keep his retail prices reasonable. 

While Blackmer does sell his eyewear to many antiques collectors, his shop caters to retail customers as well as such celebrity clientele as Britney Spears and Bette Midler. Celebrity or not, he spends time with each to ensure the shape and fit of the frame works.

In addition to antique frames, Fabulous Fanny’s carries vintage clothing, jewelry and other accessories such as handbags and shoes. Highlights include vintage and costume jewelry by Chinwa Kenjyatta, whose “thing” necklaces were popular in the ’70s.
Blackmer also carries Corrine McCormack frames, which he embellishes with rhinestones, as well as custom made antique eyeglass lens earrings, which he ornaments with stones and feathers. (The shop’s products can be viewed on the web at www.fabulousfannys.com.)

Blackmer says that he doesn’t have a typical customer. Clearly, he doesn’t have a typical shop either.   —Lauren Siegal

Piece of Cake
Let them eat cake... for a worthy cause. To commemorate its participation in the Vision Council of America’s (VCA) “Check Yearly. See Clearly.” campaign, Cole Managed Vision (CMV) hosted several events including a cake cutting with Seymour Clearly, the Check Yearly mascot. As part of the festivities, CMV also hosted a “Lunch, Lecture and Learn” session highlighting the importance of routine eye exams.

CMV recently began promoting the importance of regular vision care to its members by using Check Yearly educational materials at open enrollment meetings and health fairs; incorporating the “I Care Newsletter” into the CMV newsletter and posting content on its web site; linking the Check Yearly web site from the CMV web site; and developing a Check Yearly “on-hold message” and customer service scripting for incoming calls. —JM

Walking the Walk
It was more than a mere walk in the park. ClearVision Optical and Kenneth Cole Productions joined forces once again to create a team for AIDS WALK New York, the world’s largest AIDS fundraising event. The team of almost 300 volunteers was among the approximately 45,000 people that participated in this year’s walk in New York’s Central Park. This is the sixth year that ClearVision and Kenneth Cole have walked together.

Designer Kenneth Cole and his company commit to the AIDS WALK New York event every year. Cole posed for pictures and supported his team with a complimentary breakfast and custom team T-shirts printed with the saying: “BE TESTED. (Walk a few miles) —Kenneth Cole.” ClearVision donated Kenneth Cole New York sunglasses to all team members.

To date the team has raised more than $51,000, which is $7,500 more than last year’s effort. It is estimated that a total of $5.4 million will be raised by AIDS WALK New York this year. Proceeds from this event benefit the Gay Men’s Health Crisis Center and dozens of other AIDS organizations within the New York tri-state area.   —JM

Bongo A Go Go
Viva International is playing its Fall 2004 Bongo beat with a happy repeat from Rachel Bilson, their first season’s spokesperson. Best known for her role as Summer from Fox’s hit show “The O.C.” Bilson is sporting a variety of styles in the new ads including the Venetian (pictured) and the Mirage. “I was so pleased with the way my first Bongo ad came out I got a lot of great feedback on them. I had a really good time at the shoot, so when they asked me to continue on for a second season it was a natural.” The images show eyewear featuring glimmering crystals and a shimmering (as in steamy) Bilson GENerating heat for all eyewear GENerations.  —JJS