I’m writing this editor’s take earlier than usual. Most times I depend on reviewing the issue before making any observations, but this is based on honing in on a process developed over what soon will amount to two years of working from home rather than in our NYC office.

Before the pandemic hit hard in March of 2020, a key part of every issue would be our eyewear product reviews in anticipation of the monthly 20/20 photo shoots. You’re talking four editors and our art director opening 40 to 100-plus parcels from eyewear companies in order to select frames for a variety of photo shoots for the given month’s issue. No editorial publication does this to that extent. We do this in support of 12 print issues, supplements and numerous e-blasts and social media posts.

This product review process is currently done via a video meeting curated by Fashion Editor Victoria Garcia who is the only edit person handling the frames until we progress to the actual photo shoot dates where the eyewear is captured in images positioned through each of our print and virtual features.

The dramatic difference between the virtual review, and looking at and touching the frames came roaring into reality for me during the photo shoot for this first issue of 2022. Handling and fitting the eyewear on our models, I started to notice details barely exposed during our meeting: Crosshatching on the top of the subtle Morel frame. Horizontal striation detailing on the powerful l.a.Eyeworks round frame. The sliver of blue sandwiched in the metalwork of the L’Amy eyeglass. The depth of the golden coloration on the splendid Tura cover frame.

The in-person encounter was pure BLISS. And it is THAT connection you can get and you can give when you dispense a frame face-to-face with someone. It is the absolute definition of SPECtacular. Take as much advantage of this experience as you can. Feel free to tap into the arena of virtual try-on, and feast on any and all varieties of experiencing frames online and in any number of print page features and advertisements but remember to keep the up close and personal aspect of eyewear at hand and on a real face, as that which is paramount to your chosen role as an eyewear and eyecare professional.

I believe in our ONWARD focus we are heading back to a world of interactive human engagement. Cherish that chance to surround yourself in the reality of great eyewear. It is our ultimate world at 20/20, and I’m confident it is your ultimate experience as well with this object we know as our Ultimate Accessory.   

James J. Spina
[email protected]