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HomemifashionMido 2016: Never Ending Wonder

Mido 2016: Never Ending Wonder

Mido 2016 has come and gone – another year, another extraordinary showcase of eyewear from Italy and around the world presented amid the most vibrant, enticing backdrop of the world’s fashion centre. The theme for Mido this February was “never ending wonder” and by all accounts, it lived up to the expectations of over 1,200 exhibitors and 52,000 visitors.

MIDO vice president Giovanni Vitaloni said the growth in exhibitors and visitors this year (visitors alone were up 7 per cent on 2015) “confirms the positive trend the industry (not only the large, well-established groups but also smaller and new enterprises) is currently experiencing.” Providing an example, he said the Lab Academy, which is dedicated to debut firms, attracted twice as many exhibitors in 2016 as were present in 2015, and included 40 new businesses “approaching the world of eyewear for the first time.”

Sales agent Richard Green from Victoria was at MIDO for the first time and was amazed at the scale of the event. “It’s not a fair, it’s an experience,” said Mr. Green. “I felt like I could be there for a week and not see everything, I was like a kid in a candy store.

“I was overawed by the magnitude but it was quite easy to get your bearings once you knew where particular stands were… The Italian hosts and organisers couldn’t do enough for you!” he said.

…by all accounts, it lived up to the expectations of over 1,200 exhibitors and 52,000 visitors

Prue Rennick from LBJ Optical who is new to wholesaling was also at MIDO for her first visit. “There were rows and rows of exhibitors all waiting for their chance to wow you with the latest and greatest products and technology. From celebrities (yes, Police had the singer Anastasia on their stand) to performance art. “Trends were evident, acetate is still king, retro is still a force to be reckoned with and it’s round, round, round all the way! Sunglasses are no longer the humble accessories, with luminous acetates, bold prints and edgy metal detailing,” she enthused.

Ms. Rennick said she was relieved to see artisanal brands were thriving with paper and timber a strong theme among the more boutique labels. “The use of horn and more handmade features such as handset gems was great to see as was the more progressive artistic expression in eyewear, made to measure using 3D printers that are capable of producing the most intricately designed frames,” she said.

Neil Summers from Matrix Eyewear was at MIDO for his seventh visit and said he noticed a few differences. “The show felt quieter this year, especially on the Monday. I also felt there was a big disparity between the stands of popular brands this year when compared with previous years,” he told mivision.

However, another MIDO regular, Jacque Katsieris from ProOptics, said business was booming. “The show was fabulous as usual, very busy and bigger than ever! There were some big exclusions most noticeably a corporate presence from Luxottica, although they did have some smaller labels there – Oliver Peoples, Oakley and Mikli.”

Big news at MIDO 2016 was the launch of MORE!, a satellite area of the already popular Design Lab which hosts over 100 of the most daring and innovative companies. MORE! was a workshop for ideas, concepts and experimentation, home to companies that make creativity, design ingenuity and innovation their trademarks. Ms. Katsieris said MORE! was a highlight of MIDO 2016, “You entered MORE! from the Design Lab via side doors and through a cocoon of white fabric. It housed 30 new brands and exhibiters with way out, whacky stuff,” she said adding that the big booth hall was quieter – “mostly full of Italians in suits looking for customers”.
Ms. Katsieris said the event was well supported by Australian eyewear retailers and that during her time there she had met up with customers from Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales.

“Three notable Australian sunglass wholesalers were there too: Sunday Somewhere, AM Eyewear and the new guys on the block Oscar and Frank selling very cool sunnies named after his dachshunds,” she said. Ms. Rennick said a visit to MIDO should be high on every Australian optical professional’s bucket list. “From the over the top to the understated it was evident that this fair had taken showmanship to another level. With wows at every corner I found MIDO 2016 exciting and intriguing, a visual feast for the optical enthusiast. Perhaps all in the Australian optical industry could benefit from an overseas trade fair, not only for the shock of the new, but for the spectacle itself (pun intended).”