There was a time, not too long ago, where the team of editors here at 20/20 took special pride in being able to fluff out the dire side of eyewear style as we delivered the best looks above the massive acres of bland spectacles. In general, just 10 years ago, eyewear collections seemed built on endless, slight variations of the unisex styling best described as an elongated oval. The glasses where usually metal and the biggest flair aspect was this foil transfer process offering a look akin to glossy rust.

Harsh assessment? Perhaps, but just try turning that assortment into a show-stopping feature of hot, new styles “dispensable” but in the wrong sense of the word.

Those days are long, dead GONE. This issue, our traditional Expo West show extravaganza of new eyewear and sunwear, is a perfect example. With every single photo shot 20/20 is literally challenged to complement the style, quality AND personality of eyewear that is striking in look, feel AND function. In days gone by we would sprinkle in heaps of sunglasses hoping the rub-off of excitement (shades were already “way” cool 10 years ago) would elevate the allure of the photo features. That is no longer the case. In fact we now continually notice that the models in our shots get excited about wearing all of the styles for every shot. Decade previous, they would literally fight and bicker to get the one or few pairs worth facing for their portfolios.

I guess one could argue that our job at 20/20 is now easier but much like you, the optical retailer/dispenser, the challenge is now greater to deliver the message that the newest eyewear is indeed spectacular. Just 10 years ago I would wander the aisles of Mido and Silmo (happy 40th anniversary Silmo and thanks for the memories of the trip recounted in this month’s Upfront) jealous for the new styles that never seemed to make it into the U.S. but that is no longer the case. Eyewear seems to have attained a leadership role in building a universal appeal of first-rate style and quality across the globe.

Maintaining and growing that superiority will be quite challenging. Delivering that message is the ongoing mantra at 20/20. And make your goal doing the same for patients and consumers deserving nothing less than the best in vision and vision products.

James J. Spina