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Vision Council of America (VCA) - Susan Welsh & Rene Soltis - on the Hot Eyewear & Sunglasses Fashion, Styles & Trends - WEEKLY FASHION PODCAST


WEEKLY FASHION PODCAST: Vision Council of America's Rene Soltis & Susan Welsh Discuss the Hot Eyewear & Fashion Styles, Fashion & Trends - MP3 File

For an upcoming issue of Fashiontribes magazine, I interviewed Susan Welsh & Rene Soltis of the Vision Council of America (VCA) - the trade organization for the eyewear & sunglass industry.  Welsh & Soltis compile the industry trend reports & know every bigwig in the business.

These are the major trends in eyewear:

  • Vca_white_cinzia_sunwear White Frames: "There's a kind of a throwback to a back-in-the-Jackie-O days of big, chunky, white sunglasses," reports Welsh.  "A status symbol."
  • Vca_aviator_police Aviators: Not the old-school pilot style, but more of a variation. "It's not like you could throw on a pair of aviators you had ten years ago. They would look dated," says Soltis, who advises opting for the new rimless (no frame) styles, or ones with color.
  • Vca_gold_frame_versace Gold: Taking its lead from jewelry, eyewear frames are no longer limited to silver - they have gone gold."The general fashion environment in gold jewelry is what we're now seein in eyewear," confirms Welsh.
  • Vca_gucci_oversized Glamorous, oversized frames: From rhinestones to crystals to be-jeweling, much of the eyewear of the moment mirrors rockstar glam. Says Welsh, "We're seeing bigger jewelry now, and bigger eyewear."
  • Vca_textured_temple_sophia_lauren_eyewea Textures: Just like fashion and accessories - from slubby silks to natural materials - eyewear has incorporated the texture trend. Look for touches like a textured temple.
  • Vca_eyeglass_wardrobe_marc_jacobs Eyeglass Wardrobes: With value & quality available at almost any pricepoint, eyewear & sunglasses are more affordable than ever. People are choosing different frames for different needs - it's no longer about one pair for every occasion. "Like in accessories, the right purse, shoes & jewelry, people are creating wardrobes of eyewear and sunwear," says Soltis. "One pair of glasses, whether it's for fashion or for function, is not going to meet all your needs. It's not just a medical device, it's part of your image."

Vca_usher_ray_bans_3214_fashion_rocks Vca_olsen_twins_sunglasses Soltis and Welsh pointed out that a good place to spot eyewear trends is these three areas:

  1. The manufacturers: Providing eyewear for the stylists and celebs, they know what's out there. Many are directly connected with design houses - like Dior and Versace - so they are directly keyed into the what's coming down the runway. "The designer labels follow the design of the fashion world, and they're very connected to what's going on in the fashion world, which follows through to eyewear," says Welsh.
  2. The Celeb factor: Stars like Usher are almost never photographed without their shades, as are Jessica Simpson & the Olsen Twins. "Any celebrity worth their weight is always going to be photographed, and set trends," says Soltis.
  3. Fashion Magazines: Lately, most of the influential magazine editorials have been focusing heavily on accessories. When they show trends - such as color like turquoise - they will show turquoise clothing, jewelry, shoes, and now, eyewear. "Right now," notes Welsh, "it's not just a functional thing, it's part of the whole look."

As eyewear industry insiders, I got VCA's Soltis & Welsh to pick the best trends & looks for each of Fashiontribes.com's six fashion tribes.

Vca_via_spiga_310s_tortoiseAfro-Love: For glamourous bohemians, it's all about textures & prints, especially ones that are more understated, such as the underside of the temples. "It's almost like an undergarment," comments Soltis. "You know they're there, and it makes you feel good, important."

Vca_ddoll_groovin_cpo_by_cinzia Downtown Doll: Funky, downtown hipsters deserve artsy frames, especially fun, "wearable art" from companies like these Groovin' CPO frames from Cinzia. Also, think layers of color, and combinations like turquoise & black.

Vca_fflirt_gucci_crystals Fancy Flirt: For a party tribe, only party-worthy eyewear will do. Go for rhinestones, large 'n loud logos, and designer brands.

Vca_gchic_tortoise_armani Global Chic: As runway-conscious fashionistas, sleek lines, understated style and high quality materials are key. According to Soltis, the feeling is "almost demure."

Vca_rpunk_aviator_bmp_oliver Rock Punk: Fashion badasses should rock an aviator, or other hardware-heavy models.

Vca_mercura_pop_art_1 Technoid Subculture: As noctural peacocks who emerge only for fabulous events, the watchword is: attention-grabbing" like these "Pop Art" from Mercura. "Definitely off the beaten track," says Soltis. "The frames that some boutiques will have in their frame displays to draw attention, but 90% of their customers would never buy them." No so, this group of fashion pioneers.

At the end of our interview, I asked them for some helpful hints on how to choose the right frame shape. They offer this gem of advice: Always contrast your frame shape and your face shape. In other words, if you have a round face, choose angular frames to "chisel" in features. If you are angular, then go for round curves that soften. "There really is a science behind it - it's all about lines, curves, and angles."

Vca_eycessorize_logo On their http://www.eyecessorize.com/s_eyes/ site, they have a really helpful page which identifies the seven basic face shapes, and tips on the type of frames that flatter most.

OVAL - high cheekbones & narrow chin; considered balanced

Vca_oval_face_shape Goal: Don't "unbalance" the face. Also, ovals tend to have small features so stay away from overly large or small frames.

OBLONG - Longer than it is wide, the oblong face tends to have a long nose & long straight cheek.

Vca_oblong_face_shapeGoal: Make face appear shorter & wider. Tip: "Break" up the length of the face with frames that add width to this angular face shape.

TRIANGLE - Narrow forehead that widens at cheek & chin.

Vca_triange_base_down_face Goal: Add width to forehead, while softening & narrowing the jaw, chin & cheeks. Tip: Go for frames that visually add width to the forehead with extensions at the temple - cateye is a great pick for this face shape - or frames with color & detailing on top half.

HEART - Wide forehead & high cheekbones; face narrows to chin.

Vca_heart_shaped_face Goal: Minimize width at top of the face. Tip: Almost any pair of glasses will add width where you don't need it, so try rimless frames, aviators, butterfly shapes, or frames that add width below the eyeline.

DIAMOND - Most rare face shape with a narrow forehead, chin & eyeline with high, dramatic cheekbones.

Vca_diamond_face_shape Goal: Widen the forehead & jaw. Tip: Highlight eyes & cheekbones with cateye shapes, ovals & rimless frames. Square frames work well for diamonds, as well as ones with a straight top & curved bottom.

SQUARE - Strong jawline with wide chin, broad forehead & cheekbones.

Vca_square_face_shape Goal: Make face look longer. Tip: Avoid frames that mirror face shape, like ones that are flat on the bottom. Choose uplift to draw attention away from the jawline, such as frames that are narrow, more horizontal than vertical, have weight on top, and are wider than the widest part of the face.

ROUND - full with lots of curves; width & length is same proportions

Vca_round_face_shape Goal: make face seem longer/thinner; Tip: opt for slightly angular frames; a clear bridge with colored temples; avoid excessively rounded or square styles

May 2, 2005 in Design, Fashion, PODCAST | Permalink

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