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Wednesday / August 10.
HomemifashionPutting Flexibility Back into Eyewear

Putting Flexibility Back into Eyewear

They say flexibility is a huge advantage to achieving success – whether you’re a young parent, an elite athlete, an employee, a business person… or an eye care professional. The same could be said about flexible eyewear.

Flexible eyewear is pretty well indestructible. Customers can be confident their frames won’t break when they sit on them.They can throw them to the bottom of a sports bag without so much as a second thought, and, for kids, they’re a no-brainer. The playground is the ultimate weapon of mass destruction for glasses, as is the sports field and the gym. And if your place is anything like mine, the dog probably likes to go for a run with the odd pair of specs as well.

Loads of Choice

There are loads of choices for customers who are looking for flexible frames – from acetates through to metals and even gold! It all comes down to the look and finish your customers crave – and of course – their budget

For a contemporary look, great practicality and flexibility, titanium is the ideal. Titanium frames are lightweight and can be tinted in different colours, although without the vibrancy achieved with acetates.

The iF expert jury was particularly impressed by the sophisticated technologies used
to operate the flexible memory metal of
the frames…

‘Flexon’ is one of the most popular titianium based alloys used for eyewear. Launched in 1988 by the American eyewear maker, Marchon, Flexon is known as a ‘memory metal’. That is, it returns to its original shape even after being bent, twisted or crushed. Flexon frames are corrosion resistant and strong for long-life. They’re also extremely lightweight and hypoallergenic.

TITANflex is another high-tech product used for eyewear. It’s also used in other areas of production where extreme flexibility and protection against buckling are highly important, such as in space research or medical engineering. The Eschenbach TITANflex mens’ frame (820578) received the renowned International Forum Design (iF) Material Award this year. The iF expert jury was particularly impressed by the sophisticated technologies used to operate the flexible memory metal of the frames.

Berylium is another version of titanium, which offers strength and flexibility at a lower price point. Berylium frames are available in many colours.

Then there’s Monel – a product made from an alloy of many different metals, which is flexible and rust resistant. Because Monel incorporates nickel, it can cause allergic reactions in some wearers and can tarnish the skin if the metal corrodes slightly. Some manufacturers plate the Monel to overcome this problem.

While metal provides the greatest flexibility for eyewear, these days flexi-frames can also be crafted from some plastics. Cellulose acetate, otherwise known as Zyl is cost effective and extremely lightweight. It’s also popular among eyewear designers and customers alike because of the many vibrant effects that can be achieved with colour layering. Cellulose acetate propionate, a lightweight nylon based plastic, is also popular because it has more transparency and gloss than other plastics.

Designers of performance eyewear tend to select nylon, typically from gliamides, grilamid or trogamid for production. These materials are very resistant to heat and cold and although they feel stiff, are in fact quite flexible. Nylon frames can also be molded for wraparound styles so popular in this sector of the market.

Just as we, as individuals, age, lose our flexibility and become prone to snap under pressure so too does plastic eyewear. Although modern plastics provide far greater longevity than ever before, age and sun damage will eventually weaken frames and fade the colour finishes.