The eyewear market is ready to burst with new product launches and an ever-growing stream of ideas, innovations and advancements. In an effort to allow you to take advantage of this momentum, we have spent the past year reaching out to frame designers, brand managers, founders and CEOs from the companies you work closest with. Here, we continue to share their take on where the eyewear industry is heading and go more in depth on the topics and products you need to be focusing on for the future. For more moving onward, check out the September 15 issue of 20/20.

–Jillian Urcelay



20/20: What are the optical styles in the latest Pure Eyewear collection crafted from, and how are they sustainable?
Thomas Burkhardt, senior vice president of global brands, marketing and design at Marchon Eyewear: The latest collection from Pure has six new optical styles, featuring eyewear made from 45 percent Plant-Based Resin. Plant-Based Resin is made from castor bean oil, a cleaner alternative to standard petroleum-based plastics. Castor plants are harvested for their beans, oil is pressed from the beans, which turns into pellets, which are then melted and injected into frames. With this collection, Pure offers strong, light and durable quality frames made easier on the planet.

Why was it important for Marchon to incorporate these plant-based resin styles into the Pure collection?
Marchon has been committed for some time to identifying and incorporating new materials into our eyewear manufacturing process that are better for our planet. However, in the past that often meant compromising on quality and or higher prices for the consumer.

But the technology around more sustainable materials has improved significantly over the years. Plant-Based Resin is a good example of that, it is now a premium material with competitive costs, so it makes sense for Marchon to use it across our portfolio. We are excited to give customers the option of shopping for more sustainable eyewear in a brand like Pure.

Can you describe the look and feel of this collection as a whole? Why should consumers choose Pure?
Pure is unlike other eyewear brands, offering unique frames paired with a clean, minimalist aesthetic. Featuring easy-to-wear shapes, classic colorations and subtle design details, the new collection elevates the eyewear experience for customers by offering sleek, simple, lightweight frames that Pure is known for—now with a sustainable angle.


“After 25 years in the business, I have seen the market shift and change a few times. Right now, the market is separating into the low-end/online model versus the high-end/luxury model. The middle ground is a tough place to be. Going forward, I see continued separation with the high-end market focusing even more on quality and craftsmanship. I know personally any purchase I have made in this post-COVID world is all quality and craftsmanship based.”

–Michael Papineau, president of Gramercy Eyewear



20/20: How is Modo’s 3D Lab collection different from other 3D-printed products?
Brian Dombrowski, Modo’s director of ECP sales and marketing: Innovation is such a strong component of Modo’s DNA and brand identity that the 3D Lab collection has become a natural extension. We developed and designed the collection to not simply be a capsule or to check a box, but felt it complemented our other product families well.

How would you describe styles in this collection? How do they look and feel?
The collection is part of our series of combination frames that have a beta titanium temple inserted into a 3D carbon printed frame front. These frames maintain a lightweight quality and comfort to them, and we chose bright pops of color like purple, red and blues to really let them be statements.

Why do you believe customers should purchase frames from this collection?
If a customer is drawn to the 3D aspect of the frame, that is amazing, but just as innovation is part of our DNA, so is overall design. We want the frames to look good on, and we want customers to love the frames, not just because of how they were made which is a really fun aspect, but also on how they look and feel when they are wearing them.


“I am so proud of the way our team responded to the call, stepping up to support not only each other, but our customers during this paradigm shift. We have taken the opportunity to reflect, to rethink our business and reaffirm our commitment to the independent optical retail channel.”

–Rob Rich, CEO of the Optical Foundry



20/20: How would you describe the new styles in the Steve Madden kids’ collection?
Pam Elfreich, brand manager at ClearVision Optical: Steve Madden’s latest kids’ release evokes the energy and attitude that is authentic to the brand. Both models “Fairlie” and “Thora” have glitter accents and are available in shades of plum, teal and even a grey option that fades to pink. For boys, we are seeing bolder shapes in both metal combinations and acetate frames as well, such as “Krammer” and “Harken.” Blue Denim is a popular color choice, which we see in “Brimley,” and Grey Crystal is an emerging trend as well with a silver-translucent look.

What trends are you currently seeing in the kids’ eyewear market?
Steve Madden kids are ideal for young kids all the way up to middle school. Adding to our collection for different age children, we created a collection of new Steve Madden styles for the special “tween” age of wanting to look grown-up like the “big kids” while still having a youthful spirit. This is accomplished through trendy eye shapes, the right fit for their still developing faces and small playful touches of color. Also seen are transparent materials or elements like a glitter accent.

What advice do you have for retailers in terms of balancing the kid/parent dynamic when dispensing frames?
Try to establish a budget with the parent before you begin showing frames and styles to the child. The last thing you want is to have a child loving a style that is out of their parent’s budget. Earn the parent’s trust by communicating each aspect of the appointment, as some parents and their children may not know what to expect from a standard appointment so by communicating with them, it helps put them at ease. If you establish style ideas, price point comfortability and brand preferences ahead of time with the parent, then the retailer has an idea of what to show the child. Doing this makes the child feel as though they are selecting and choosing for themselves, from what you already know the parent is comfortable and happy with. This should make for a more successful appointment for the retailer, parent and child. ■

“In the past you needed to reinvent your operation every five years. In this new, faster moving optical world, you should reinvent your business every year!

  1. Change up the brands you carry. Always have something new to show.
  2. Don’t have every brand in the same price category. You should have three or four levels. My levels look something like this.

    Frames: $395 to $595; $595 to $895; $895 to $1,295; $1,295-plus

    Customize your inventory. Dye crystal frames different colors. Change the lens colors from what the manufacturers send you. You know your customers better.

Don’t use opening statements like “this just came in” as that doesn’t mean it will look good on someone. Try… “This will really look amazing on you.” And then… it better! Have a window display…. Change it every day. Keep your store different and unique. Don’t follow. Lead.”

–Larry D. Sands, createur, entrepreneur, mensch