By Lindy Faulkner, Retail Manager, ABOC, NCLEC
In April, Rebecca and I headed to the Big Apple for Vision Expo East (VEE). VEE is a great opportunity to see the latest and greatest eyewear and mix and mingle with like-minded professionals. We continue to check out new pieces from our current brands, but we also get excited to familiarize ourselves with eyewear we’ve been watching via social media or new lines we’ve never heard of! Rebecca and I had frames in mind this year and we made a few connections before we left Memphis to see lines we knew we wanted to see in person.
There is so much to see at Vision Expo. The convention center in New York City, Javits, is filled to the brim with eyewear designers, accessories brands, lens and lens technology booths, and lab and clinical equipment. You may remember last year Chris, our lab guru, shared some great information about the state-of-the-art lab equipment he uses to create the perfect pair of specs. Dr. Weinberg and Chris first had their eyes on this equipment after taking it for a test run at last year’s VEE.
We spent our first day in NYC focused on seeing Andy Wolf Eyewear. This Austrian line was born in 2006 by three friends, and all design and production is done in house. Fantastic craftsmanship and creative vision have formed this versatile, expansive collection that has something for every face.
We also stumbled upon a very cool independent line called Kaleos Eyehunters. The Spanish line currently has only a few retailers in the U.S. We really loved the whimsy and unique designs of this line.
Children will love the line Very French Gangsters. How could they not with such a catchy, adorable name? The colors and prints on these frames are irresistible. This line uses more mature frame shapes, just on a smaller scale.
We rounded out our first full day with a Moscot music event at the Moscot flagship store on Orchard Street. Many of you are familiar with the Moscot line since we carry it at both locations and the collection has so much to offer. The line has a rich family history and a classic New York story to tell. Moscot has worked with local musicians for many years and periodically hosts shows open to the public, much like Eclectic Eye and local art shows. The rain was relentless, but Rebecca and I persevered and made it just in time for the end of the show. Afterwards, we dined at an adorable nearby restaurant. Tim, one of Moscot store managers and brand ambassadors that Eclectic Eye works closely with, Harvey and Zack Moscot, and a few others on their team joined us for wine and food. The Moscot team took us deep into the history of the brand and why its close ties with professional surfing. The food was delicious and the atmosphere felt like one you’d stumble upon in a small Italian village. The great conversation and complimentary dessert completed the recipe for a perfect evening. Moscot is a great fit for Eclectic Eye and we love bringing a little slice of New York to Memphis. We really do enjoy dining there. Before we came on this trip, one of my good friends told me that if I had the time, I should probably check out this restaurant called Copinette. Apparently, they have American cuisine but with a French influence, which sounds amazing! Unfortunately, we had so much planned that we just didn’t get around to going there this time. But if we take any more trips to the Big Apple, we will definitely have to check out as it is meant to be really good.
On Saturday, we wanted to shop – for new pieces from collections we currently feature in our stores, that is. Francis Klein was our first stop and we knew we’d need to brace ourselves, because this brand tops its previous collection every time. We met with Dixie and Betty, the daughters of the brand’s creator, and they took us on a journey through the new arrivals. They recently found an old warehouse with high quality, rare vintage acetate and jewelry molds used by the French royal family. These findings served as inspiration for the new collection and pictures can’t begin to do the details justice! Needless to say, we fell in love and left with a new order for each store, as well as a few special pieces for ourselves. These handmade pieces take at least 2 months to produce, and sometimes longer, so the hardest part of Francis Klein is keeping your patience in check!
Next stop: Anne et Valentin and Theo. Florian, our rep for these brands, was ready to show us the new beauties and both collections, as usual, have so much color and creativity to offer. We are very excited about the upcoming trunk show in June so you can see some of these new designs in person.
Our last day at Expo was the shortest, but we used this day to wander and discover any gems we had overlooked. The frame collection that excited us both the most was Kuboraum. This independent line is out of Berlin and extremely distinct. You probably know this line because Oprah has been seen sporting one of their bold shapes. The designer was there to explain some of the brand’s interesting processes and materials: porcelain nosepads, hammered bronze, silk burning to create texture just to name a few.
Equally as intriguing was the line Sabine. Be, a French line Eclectic Eye has loved for many years. The collection is growing and really hitting the mark with color and shape, and a line for children. We met the designer, which provided a window to its whimsical nature, use of vibrant color and handmade craftsmanship out of one of the most popular regions for handmade eyewear in France, Jura.
Be on the lookout for these lines to possibly join the Eclectic Eye family and tell us what you think!! We always have a running list of the best the world has to offer in handmade eyewear and we are so lucky to have had the opportunity to visit them in NYC. It’s a magical city and an optician’s dream weekend getaway, coupled with the mountains of beautiful spectacles we get to preview.