Eyewear designers are increasingly turning their attention to the growing Asian market, realising that traditional frame designs do not fit – or sit – well on the faces of this population. As a result there are now plenty of purpose designed frames as well as options to alter frames to suit Asian facial features – it’s just a case of letting your customers know.
There’s nothing like a truly global, mobile world. Over many years, our countries have become increasingly diverse thanks to decades of migration. Today, within cities and communities we can experience vastly different foods, products and traditions introduced by different cultures, all of which have made our lives richer.
Along with diverse traditions, different ethnic groups come with inherently different physical distinctions, which can deem locally designed clothing or accessories unsuitable, uncomfortable and even totally useless.
Eyewear is a prime example for people of Asian descent, who typically have a larger head size, low nose bridge and higher cheekbones than those with an Western European background.
For many years, this made purchasing eyewear a frustrating battle for many Asian people. Fortunately, the world of eyewear design has now embraced diverse facial features and many of the major brands either design entire collections for Asian face shape or offer adjustments.
I recently read an inspiring story about two young American women of Asian descent, who have developed their own brand of eyewear with an ‘Elevated Fit’ for the Asian face type as a solution to their own frustrations with buying eyewear.
Athina Wang and Florence Shin had been at school together and had both studied to work in the fashion industry before starting their company, Covry. Describing the evolution of their company, which designs fashion forward frames to suit Asian face shapes, they said, “Shopping for eyewear that embraces diverse facial features has long been a seemingly impossible task. Most frames in the market either sit on our cheeks, slide down our nose, or rise up our face when we smile. We knew there had to be a way to wear frames with confidence, so we created Elevated Fit and started our journey to break away from the standard fit.
“Elevated Fit features longer nose pads, a reduced frame curvature and a narrowed nose bridge for an effortless fit. Our design changes elevate the frame to sit higher on your face and away from your cheeks. No more pushing up the frames every five minutes.”1
Describing changes they made to the pantoscopic tilt, they said, “The angles are very severe going straight into your cheeks, so we made the angles much straighter, going straight down instead of into your cheeks.”1 The girls test the fit of their frames by smiling as broadly as possible – if the frame doesn’t sit on the cheek, it’s a winner.
If you’re like me and you’re of Western European descent, it’s likely that you’re not totally aware of the sheer joy that a person of Asian descent feels when they discover such a thing as an Asian fit frame. As one writer I came across described the first Asian fit frame she found, “they’re the first glasses I’ve ever owned that don’t slide down my face at the first hint of humidity, don’t have the too-tight arms that give me a pressure headache, and don’t get jostled around by my cheeks whenever I smile”.5 It’s hard to deny there’s an
argument to stock Asian fit frames.
The first Asian fit frames to come onto the market were conservative and limited patients’ options. Today, like the designers behind Covry, there are many frame brands around dedicated to designing great looking frames to fit Asian face shapes in a variety of colours, shapes and materials. De Rigo, for instance, has a team of Asian designers based in its Hong Kong office that collaborates with other designers in China, Korea and Germany, ensuring the optimum balance of style and fit is achieved. Rodenstock alters the pantoscopic tilt of its glasses for the Asian market, and has a wider temple design and formed or adjustable bridge to ensure a comfortable fit. Bonastar stresses the advantages of its nose pad designs, which help ensure the frame wont slip, so that the wearer will always be viewing through the optical centre of the lenses.
A PRACTICE BUILDING OPPORTUNITY
If you’re practising in an area with a growing Asian demographic and you’re not already stocking – and showcasing – frames with an Asian fit, it’s time to get on board. Despite the increasing availability of these frames in recent years, there is still an enormous lack of awareness within the community.
Talk to your patients about the way Asian fit frames have been customised, highlight the difference in comfort and the visual advantages these frames will deliver. Encourage your Asian patients to try your purpose designed frames and in doing so, to experience the difference for themselves. If there’s one thing for sure, fitting these frames will win the loyalty of your Asian patients and encourage them to promote your practice to friends and family through word of mouth.
Along with diverse traditions, different ethnic groups come with inherently different physical distinctions
Asian Fit Frames A Growing Market
In New Zealand, people of Asian descent make up 11.8 per cent of the population1 and interestingly, 30 per cent were aged 20–34 years compared to 18.7 per cent of the total population.2 In Australia, 10.3 per cent of the population was born in a country classified as ‘Asian’ by the 2016 ABS3… totally irrelevant is the fact that there are as many Chinese living in Australia as there are New Zealand-born residents.3
Lift Your Sales with Asian Fit Eyewear
Silk is the next generation screwless eyewear from ic! Berlin. Finer, more streamlined, the silk hinge measures just 3.5mm across and uses a patented forked hook to secure the temple to the front.
Contact: Eyemakers (AUS) 02 9960 7766
Luxottica offers our customers Asian Fit frames across all portfolios including Luxury, Fashion and Lifestyle. Brands include: Burberry, Bvlgari, Dolce & Gabbana, Emporio Armani, Coach, Oliver Peoples, Prada, Ray-Ban, Tiffany and Versace.
Contact: Luxottica Account Manager
Entourage has been designed by Von Arkel collection to meet the specific needs of its Asian and Oceanic markets. A subtle alloy of metal and acetate offers comfort and style to this timeless Swiss made brand.
Contact: MYM Group, www.mymgroup.com.au
Paul Hueman Eyewear (featured), Mars Fashion Air and Ultem collections are designed for flatter faces with a shallower nose bridge and higher cheekbones. Bonastar also has nose pad designs to suit Asian faces, making it easy for Asian customers to find a perfectly fitting frame that won’t slip, enabling the wearer to look through the optical centre of the lenses.
Contact: Bonastar (AUS) 02 9310 1688
A dedicated team of Asian designers based in De Rigo’s Hong Kong office helps to ensure the Asian fit models and mid fit models specifically designed for every De Rigo brand will suit Asian features. The Hong Kong designers are assisted by designers from De Rigo Japan and De Rigo China as well as the company’s distribution partners in Korea, ensuring a diversity of styles to suit all markets.
Contact: De Rigo (AUS) 02 9428 1500
The collections ‘nine 3rd’ and ‘nine origin’ from Nine Eyewear both come with interchangeable and flexible nose pad arms in different lengths to fit any nose shape.
Contact: Nine Eyewear, www.nine-eyewear
Depending on the frame design each frame within Rodenstock’s Asian fit collection has an adjusted antoscopic tilt, a wider temple design and a formed or adjustable bridge. Rodenstock spectacles are not only adjusted optimally to the eyes, but also to unique facial features so they fit perfectly.
Contact: Rodenstock (AUS) 02 9748 0988
Lightweight Hugo Boss frames are made from titanium and designed in line with current minimal style trends with thin temples, adjustable end tips and nose pads to guarantee the perfect fit. Available in three colours.
Contact: Safilo (AUS) 02 9540 0500
Sunshades’ classic luxury men’s optical frame, featuring gold hard wire, is designed to sit in correct position on the wearer’s nose and face. Strategic positioned nose pads provides the wearer with a better fit and a higher level of comfort.
Contact: Sunshades (AUS) 02 8303 7300