According to the 2011 Census, Australians of Asian ancestry make up a whopping 12 per cent of the Australian population (nearly 20 per cent in Sydney). Frames to suit an Asian shaped face are in high demand and that demand is only going to get stronger. There is a whole raft of frames – both sun and optical – to suit the Asian shaped face. If you’re not stocking them, it’s time to get on board.
There’s little more frustrating than trying to read the paper with your glasses sliding off your nose. And what about the feel of a plastic rim resting on your cheeks on a 40o day? That happens all the time for people of Asian descent who can’t find a frame they can wear with comfort.
The cheek structure of the Asian face has a flatter profile than that of a Caucasian face, while the bridge of the nose is less pronounced. The combination of these two factors has a substantial impact on frame fit, the final position of wear, and when it comes to lenses, the pantoscopic tilt and bow angle.
According to the experts, because the Asian facial bone structure tends to be flatter than a Caucasian face, frames with large temple-to-temple curves often cause discomfort. Additionally, smaller lenses are less likely to hit the cheekbones. And it’s not only comfort that we’re talking about here. A frame that suits the Asian face shape will provide your Asian customers with better functionality. If their eyewear doesn’t sit properly, it can impair vision, cause headaches or dizziness and even lead to accidents. Additionally, frames that don’t wrap correctly to the face will allow harmful UV rays to find their way into the eye. Recognising the significant difference between the facial shapes of Asians versus Caucasians, many frame designers are now creating an Asian fit collection alongside their European collection – by decreasing their frame curvature, narrowing the bridge sizes, altering the angle of the temples, relative to the wearer’s ears and increasing the size of nosepads. Other manufacturers are producing alternate nose pads for their standard frames that enable them to be adapted to suit Asian face shapes.
…many frame designers are now creating an Asian fit collection alongside their European collection…
Bigger brands, like Mykita and Maui Jim now produce their most popular frames with adjustable nose pads instead of a standard bridge. Even smaller local companies, like Paul Taylor are bringing out frames with modifications to meet this growing market.
“Most of my designs fit comfortably on Asian faces. I have met up with many Asian optometrists who initially may question the fit of my designs for their Asian clientele but the proof is in the pudding when I ask them to try my designs on. They are soon after making their selections for stock items, Paul told mivision.
“In saying this I have had some requests for modifications made to the bridge fittings for Asian customers. In my forthcoming acetate collections a percentage of the production will be made with this modification, an extension of the nose pad to provide a further lift away from the face.”
Sales Effort Required
The key to building sales of Asian fit frames comes down to staff training and stock selection. Pointing your Asian customers in the direction of frames that are made to suit the Asian face shape, and proactively helping them to find the frame fit that suits them best in both style and fit, will ultimately lead to a long lasting, mutually profitable relationship – because believe me, trying on one item after another without finding one that a. looks good and b. fits properly, can be soul-destroying.
Personally, I’ve never had this problem when looking for eyewear but as a kid, I suffered interminable frustration and embarrassment trying to find shoes to fit – every pair I liked the look of was either too short or too narrow to meet what I perceived to be my giant feet. At the delicate age of 12, it seemed that only the daggiest old lady’s pumps would fit. If a shop assistant had simply measured me up, asked me about the styles I liked, then presented me with the options (keeping in mind that I was at the younger end of her market)… I‘d have walked away smiling instead of holding back the tears.
Clare Connolly, Marketing Manager at Healy says it’s essential that staff are clued up on the brands you carry that include Asian fit models. “The sell in of Asian fit models has been very effective however we have found that staff training is the key element in the success of the brand. Staff need to be aware of what brands
and styles are available in Asian fit and ensure they are properly selling the advantages of these models for their customer’s needs,” she said.
By ensuring your staff are well clued up on the features that differentiate Asian face shapes from Caucasian face shapes, and the glasses that each will find most comfortable and functional to wear, there’s no doubt the opportunity is there to boost sales in this fast growing area of the market.