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HomemifashionYouth Eyewear Connecting with the iGeneration

Youth Eyewear Connecting with the iGeneration

Investing in eyewear for the iGeneration is a business strategy that will reap rewards in the short and long-term – both for your patients and your practice.

Young people today, by their own admission, refer to themselves as the “iGeneration” (or Generation Z depending on who you’re talking to but the ‘I’s have it in the main).

This generation, with headphones permanently attached to their iPhones, work on their iPad and block everything out, except for the world they’re connected to.

As a parent of three teens I’m well aware of their all-consuming need to be on trend with their fashion, their use of language and their social engagement. This is nothing new. In fact Quentin Crisp (1908–1999) once said, “The young always have the same problem — how to rebel and conform at the same time. They have now solved this by defying their parents and copying one another.”

Teen eye health and eyewear is a business opportunity that
will help build your revenue today…

It’s taken a while but I’ve finally come to recognise that even though my kids say they like the fashion I choose to wear, that doesn’t mean they like the fashion I choose for them.

Sadly, over the years, I’ve realised the futility of buying fashion on their behalf, only to be rewarded with “ooh, I love it” before the item is quietly slipped to the back of the cupboard, never to be seen again.

For the sake of family peace and everyone’s (mainly my) ego, not to mention the bank balance, I now know that it’s best to take a step back and let them select, try and decide on their own gear. My role has been reduced to pulling out the credit card at point of sale.

It’s not only teenagers who are taking more control when it comes to choosing for themselves and even the family. Research recently came from the UK that found 47 per cent of under 10s choose their own clothes and 75 per cent of parents said their ‘Generation Z’ kids effectively hold the household purse-strings when it comes to purchasing decisions.1

Celebrity Pull

In the 21st century there are plenty of external influences guiding teen decision making alongside the traditional sports personalities and entertainment stars that we followed when we were younger. Those influences are reaching kids from all angles – from YouTube, television screens, magazine covers, blogs, and movies. Many teens take a keen interest in following their favourite celebrities – cutting out images and sticking them to their school books, laptop cases and walls, reading their bios and tracking their every move.

YouTube celebrities are particularly influential, according to a survey conducted by Variety in the United States.2

According to the survey, “YouTube stars scored significantly higher than traditional celebrities across a range of characteristics considered to have the highest correlation to influencing purchases among teens. YouTubers were judged to be more engaging, extraordinary and relatable than mainstream stars, who were rated as being smarter and more reliable.” In terms of sex appeal the survey found that “the two types of celebs finished just about even”.

To demonstrate your commitment to the teen market, consider subscribing to a teen magazine or two that can sit alongside any others you have in your reception area. Take the time to flick through the pages as the publications arrive – keeping up to date with the most popular celebrities will give you clues about the frames most likely to appeal to your teen market’s fashion sensibilities. It may even give you a few topics of conversation to engage in with kids who come into your practice (though be careful not to push this too far – you don’t want to sound ‘try hard’).

Brand Power

Brand is, and always has been, important to the majority of teens, though which brand depends on the individual. A small but reasonably in-depth study of 365 Australian teenagers looked at preferences for luxury accessories made in Japan, Italy, China and Australia. It found that status-seeking teenagers were more inclined towards foreign luxury brands (those made in Japan and Italy) as compared to those made in Australia or China.3

Non-status seeking teenagers were more interested in Australian brands over foreign brands, and considered Australian luxury brands superior to all three foreign brands with regards to ease of care and comfort.3

Investing in the Long Term

Teen eye health and eyewear is a business opportunity that will help build your revenue today while also creating a solid foundation of customers for the future.

To make sure you meet this market with the best-selling eyewear, it’s important to get to know the teens in your area – by reading your local papers, hooking into community social media, observing the kids on the street and chatting to both parents and kids. You could even consider sponsoring a local teen sports team or cultural group.

Once they come into your practice, be sure to treat teens with respect – engaging them eye to eye and focusing on their needs as well as talking to the parents. Offer them choice, encourage trial and provide positive reinforcement to help them feel comfortable and empowered when it comes to selecting and wearing a new frame.

Sure, a proportion of this market will fly the coup, move overseas or to a different suburb, however many will stick around. If you’ve demonstrated an interest in their eye health and built a solid rapport, chances are you’ll have a customer for life – and someday down the track, you’ll probably take on their partner and kids as well.

1. www.thefuturelaboratory.com/us/tag/generation-i
2. variety.com/2014/digital/news/survey-youtube-stars-more-popular-than-mainstream-celebs-among-u-s-teens-1201275245
3. www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/13612020810857952?journalCode=jfmmEyewear for Teens

Eyewear for Teens


Centrostyle frames are made from an ultra-light, incredibly flexible material. Weighing in at just 12g, this collection is also manufactured to offer the best possible visual comfort and to maintain the correct optical centres, thanks to the adjustable temple tips. Centrostyle is available in shapes, colours and sizes to suit kids, teens
and adults alike.

Contact: Aviva & Mann Optical (AUS) 08 9353 2814

Kate Spade New York

Crisp colour, graphic prints and playful sophistication are hallmarks of Kate Spade New York. The SS16 collection is no exception, featuring exquisitely designed eyewear that encourages personal style with a dash of incandescent charm. Sized from 49 through 52, the Kate Spade collection is perfectly sized to suit growing teenage faces without hiding their personality.

Contact: Safilo (AUS) 02 9540 0500


Teenagers are addicted to change, to exploration and trying new things. Teenagers love life.

These qualities are embodied in Humphreys eyewear. Humphreys enables teenagers to explore block colour in plastic and stripes in metal as well as super thin metal with colour that changes according to the angle of light.

Contact: European Eyewear (AUS) 03 8805 1555


Tag Heuer Eyewear has released a great new collection at an affordable price for the younger, brand conscious market.

The B-Urban collection delivers the ergonomics, comfort and design for which Tag Heuer is renowned with, for example, temples made from grilamid, then moulded with elastomer to combine comfort with a sporty look. There are five acetate frames in contemporary shapes and colours to stock.

Contact: Tag Heuer (AUS) 07 5528 3656

Sceats Knect

Sceats Knect connects the gap between children’s and adult size frames with high quality, exciting colour and contemporary Australian designs for men and women. Whether your patient is an adult with a smaller face, a young person who is growing fast, or simply someone who falls into that difficult to find in-between size range, Sceats Knect has the answer for you!

Contact: VMD (AUS) 07 5594 9845


The fusion of acetate and beta-titanium is a distinctive feature of Fleye’s newest collection, Contemporary Acetate, which re-interprets iconic and classic shapes with contemporary, distinctive cuts.

Beta-titanium is beautifully integrated within each frame, looping through the acetate from one end of the temple to the other. The collection features a range of sophisticated deep hues, unique tones and outstanding marble inspired patterns in the acetate.

Contact: Fleye (AUS) 02 9997 5373

Am Eyewear

AM Eyewear was founded in 2003 in Sydney, born out of a love of old school frames that were hard to find. Since then it has grown rapidly and acquired cult status worldwide. According to the founders, AM Eyewear’s ethos is simple; “design beautiful, unique and exceptional eyewear that makes a difference”. Pictured is the Gaudi Aston.

Contact: AM Eyewear (AUS) 02 9357 4550

Mars Fashion Teens

Mars Fashion kids and teens collection features simple smooth designs crafted from durable acetate and strong flexi-hinges. Model MFK622 features unexpected combinations of vibrant and dark colours that create a chic look teens will love. For example, there’s a wine front contrasting with orange temples, a blue front against green temples, a grey front contrasting with black tortoise shell temples, and a purple front combined with red temples.

Contact Bonastar: (AUS) 1300 763 988 or (02) 9310 1688


Vintage inspiration meets modern design in these new optical styles from Coach. The optical collection is divided into four themes: Uptown Bead Chain, Downtown Signature Spray, Core Horse and Carriage and Core Legacy. They include classic square frames and custom hardware.

Contact: Luxottica Account Manager