Oh what a difference a year makes. At exactly this time one year ago, I was sitting down to write my column for the 2016 version of What’s Brand New. At the time, I had about six months under my belt as a 20/20 editor and a lot left to learn (of course, I still do.) I had only ever written one column prior, had yet to attend an optical tradeshow and was still getting my bearings in the world of eyewear as a whole. Last year, I had no idea what to expect when my Editor-in-Chief assigned me the task of being the lead editor for this issue, but was excited and up for the challenge.

I think I’ll always credit our What’s Brand New issue as my first real opportunity of throwing myself head first into the industry of eyewear and editorial alike. I worked directly with PR contacts, CEOs, sales teams and marketing professionals from countless different companies. Most importantly, my brand repertoire was put on overdrive as I wrote advertorial after advertorial and learned something new about each brand featured.

After last year’s issue went to press and I attended Vision Expo East a few weeks later, I felt a newfound sense of confidence in not only myself but also our team here at 20/20. It was an eye-opening experience getting my hands into every aspect of putting out a magazine and the amount of people that are involved. Our edit, art, research, production and sales teams work together effortlessly to get each issue out every month, and for the first time I was able to get a front row seat and assist everyone involved.

Now a year later, a lot has changed. I’ve not only attended the U.S. tradeshows in New York and Las Vegas, but I’ve also traveled internationally to a European show. I’ve written full-length feature stories, interviewed eyewear designers, business owners and opticians, traveled to optical shops, assisted on countless photo shoots, forged new friendships in the industry, moved from our Soho digs to a new office in Midtown and led as the head editor for our September 15 Seller’s Guide issue.

We publish What’s Brand New to help our readers identify new brands, technologies and styles. This issue serves as an organized, present compilation of what to be on the lookout for from some of our favorite companies this year. I hope in reading this you will be open to new brands and styles for your customers and yourself. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s to always stay curious. Have fun discovering new frames that excite and reignite your passion for eyewear.

Jillian Urcelay
Assistant Editor
What's Brand New Editor