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Vision Council of America (VCA) - Susan Welsh & Rene Soltis - on the Hot Eyewear & Sunglasses Fashion, Styles & Trends - WEEKLY FASHION PODCAST
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:
- 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."
- 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.
- 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.
- 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."
- 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.
- 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."
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Afro-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."
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.
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."
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
OBLONG - Longer than it is wide, the oblong face tends to have a long nose & long straight cheek.
TRIANGLE - Narrow forehead that widens at cheek & chin.
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.
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.
SQUARE - Strong jawline with wide chin, broad forehead & cheekbones.
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
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