As the early-aughts fashion revival fully blooms, rimless eyewear is making a huge resurgence in both optical and sunwear styles. Customers are searching for that “clean aesthetic” with paired down pieces and simple yet unique lens shapes in high demand. With simplicity taking center stage, we look to Silhouette, the masters of premium rimless eyewear who revolutionized the industry with their screwless, hingeless and rimless models. As the company celebrates two important milestones this year, we spoke to Michael Schmied, Silhouette Group’s chief marketing officer, to delve deeper into Silhouette’s success and vision for the future.

–Jillian Urcelay

JU: Silhouette is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. Are there special initiatives in store to celebrate throughout 2024?
MS: Silhouette is incredibly proud to reach this significant milestone, and we have many special initiatives planned. We kicked off the year by launching our most advanced achievement in eyewear to date—the next generation of Titan Minimal Art. This groundbreaking collection celebrates the 25th year since our first version revolutionized the eyewear industry and became the trusted choice of eyewear users and astronauts. Being space-certified since 2000, our icon has excelled and proven its exceptional durability there. As an homage to space travel, the campaign for the 2024 collection features models posing in deep-space backgrounds created by AI/CGI.

With the new Titan Minimal Art, we also introduced Uniquely Yours—a pioneering new approach to customization that empowers our eyecare partners to select the lens shapes and frame temples they wish to combine and display. This allows them to perfectly tailor their assortment at the point-of-sale to meet the unique needs of their practice.

The 60th anniversary of Silhouette and the Silhouette Group is the perfect occasion to look back on how our design portfolio has developed over the years and also to present our vision for the future. We want to show who we are and where we want to be. I’m very proud of all our achievements and of the fact that we’re still a family business. We’ll also continue our life-long commitment to sustainability with many new innovations on the horizon as we celebrate our legacy, while keeping an eye on the future.

You mentioned the Titan Minimal Art collection is also celebrating its 25th anniversary, how has this line changed and advanced over time?
With every release, we honor our heritage, while seeking new ways to advance the limits of technology to set new benchmarks in comfort, durability and customer satisfaction. Our newest release achieves this, while also redefining style with exquisite new colors like galaxy-inspired green, blue and violet, modern shapes and lens enhancements that are only achievable through our 100% Silhouette lens lab. The 2024 collection combines the best of 25 years and enriches the legend with even more great details. And it celebrates our icon’s extraordinary achievements in space that constantly inspire us to strive for the better.

We pushed the new Titan Minimal Art to unforeseen heights in durability with over 100,000 opening and closing cycles—50 percent more than its predecessor. We also further optimized the flex zones to ensure all-day comfort, so that the wearer experiences a pressure-free fit that remains securely in place. For the eyecare professional, we refined the trim section so that adjustments, such as inclination, are even easier to make. We devoted the utmost attention to every detail of this innovative and timeless design. These innovations create a fresh, exciting look and give the design an even more youthful, trendy appearance with very modern highlight shapes.

As important as it is to make refinements, it’s just as important to ensure the preservation of the fundamentals that have made the Titan Minimal Art such a beloved icon for over 12 million wearers. That’s why every collection has always been rimless, lightweight, screwless and a celebration of minimalism. The four cool Highlight Shapes with innovative Partial Color Groove are particularly designed to attract the attention of the next generation of demanding eyewear wearers and further enhance the appeal of the Titan Minimal Art.

It feels like a monumental point in time for the company. Can you share what goals you have in place for the near future?
For 60 years, we’ve been following a clear strategy: We’re committed to our strong independent roots, and we invest continuously in innovative minds, visionary designers and our ultramodern production facilities and techniques, in Linz, Austria. At Silhouette, we see quality in all its different aspects as a matter of course. We are only happy if our eyewear exceeds expectations in every possible way.

Our goal is to continue to expand our leadership in terms of quality and style, with sustainable production in all of our product categories and innovative services by empowering our eyecare partners.

Last year, we launched our Silhouette Group Academy to select partners and will continue to expand its rollout this year. Our advanced learning platform empowers today’s eyecare professionals to easily train their staff on fundamental practice needs. By utilizing the latest learning techniques, we provide content that is easy to access and enjoyable to learn.

In the future, we want to continue setting the benchmark for premium eyewear. We don’t want to create just any eyewear—we want to create the world’s finest. That’s why we’re constantly looking for new innovations that fit us. We like to explore new paths—where others see risks, we see chances and possibilities to evolve and grow. Our main goal is to further boost our brand’s desirability worldwide. We also want to strengthen our position in the premium market, and recharge and develop our core brand in all its facets and touchpoints. Our focus is on addressing younger target groups by connecting with their experiences. We are also developing new customer segments.

It is also our mission to play an active role in shaping the digital transformation. That’s why we will further roll out our buy local initiative for selected ECP partners. Our sophisticated virtual try-on-tool caters to the needs of today’s customers while offering opticians a fantastic advantage during their consultation.

How does the company plan to continue to make sustainability a priority in the upcoming years?
Ever since the company was founded in 1964, Silhouette has taken a long-term view in terms of our environmental impact. That’s why we’ve always committed to the highest standards of quality and sustainable production since the very start.

Our corporate policy focuses on striking the right balance between our ecological, social and business goals. Our goal is to shape the future and protect our planet for generations to come. We work every day to meet these challenges. We’re doing our part with products, services and initiatives that make a difference. Our work is based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We have a dedicated CSR Officer, who is tasked with developing our sustainability strategy and embedding our social responsibilities throughout our company.

We are making big investments, such as our own solar panels, water conservation and programs for energy efficiency. For many years, we’ve been pursuing a goal of reducing our CO2 emissions to zero. So far, we’ve managed to cut our CO2 emissions in half within the span of seven years. Our eyewear production has been carbon-neutral with offsetting since 2022, and we’re working toward becoming carbon-neutral without external offsetting by 2027. We’re also the only eyewear manufacturer in Europe to achieve certification under the EU’s Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS).

We also invest heavily in research and development. As we continue to push the boundaries of eyewear design, our upcoming collections prove that we are committed to offering our customers not only high-quality and stylish eyewear, but also to making choices that align with their values and contribute to a more sustainable world.

Silhouette has always been the go-to eyewear brand for minimalistic looks. Design wise, what highlights can fans of the brand expect in upcoming collections?
Design is a creative way of perceiving the world. Our designers embrace minimalism in new and imaginative ways to inspire original styles and bold looks, without sacrificing the lightweight comfort and supreme quality we are renowned for.

We’re constantly evolving our portfolio while remaining true to the clear, minimalist design philosophy that our brand is known for. We update our shapes according to the zeitgeist, ensuring that our focus is always on the face and the person wearing our designs. At Silhouette, we create eyewear that goes beyond trends or fashion, sitting instead in the realms of iconic style.

In the upcoming collections, you’ll continue to see new innovations, such as our proprietary Color Groove that accentuates Silhouette rimless eyewear with a highlight of color around each lens, using our exclusive hand-applied technique—only available through 100% Silhouette.

We will continue to push minimalism with advanced techniques, unique color combinations, intricate detailing and innovative enhancements to let each wearer’s individual style truly shine—empowering them to enjoy the look and feel of their eyewear.

Finally, as a strong independent brand and family business, why should consumers trust Silhouette for their eyewear needs?
As an independent family-owned and family-operated organization, we’re inspired by and committed to the founding vision that was set forth by Anneliese and Arnold Schmied Sr., “…to make quality a matter of course and to create eyewear of exquisite beauty.” Our customers trust Silhouette because we remain true to this commitment. We live by essential values that allow us to turn this vision into an unparalleled experience for our customers.

It takes more than 260 steps to finish one single frame—that is more than 400 caring hands who achieve absolute perfection in each handcrafted frame, all in Linz, Austria. This is what makes us so unique and why our customers trust us to meet their needs.

At the heart our eyewear is a sense of lightness and minimalism. This provides not only aesthetic advantages, but is also delivered through a production process that has a minimal impact on the world around us. Our eyewear is all about feeling light and carefree. In a world where trends can be fleeting, we empower our wearers to make timeless choices with style that becomes part of their individual character.

The world of tomorrow belongs to the brave, so we constantly strive to improve, try new things, innovate to proactively shape the future, and redefine the limits of what is possible. We don’t want to create just any eyewear—we want to create the world’s finest.