If you read the last Behind the Seens, or follow our Seen Instagram, you’re probably already aware that last month, me (Seen Head Honcho, Tareq) and Erika (Seen eyewear stylist and dispensing optician) headed to Paris for SILMO, Europe’s largest optical tradeshow.
Optical trade shows are massively enjoyable but they are tiring. If you think it’s tough choosing between the hundreds of styles we have in our shop, imagine having to choose between a few hundred thousand!
"Whether mojito fuelled or adorned in gloves, we had to make a call on the styles we saw..."
We spent each day at SILMO going to lots of meetings with lots of different suppliers, some we knew very well already, some we were getting to know and deciding if the brand would work at Seen.
No, that's not a trendy Parisian cocktail bar. It's Orgreen's Mojito laden SILMO stand!
The meetings ranged from social to serious. For example, our meeting with BK and the guys from Orgreen was mainly based around how many mojitos they could ply us with. Others, like our meeting with Lindberg, were a little more professional and we even had to wear gloves!
At each meeting we viewed the new collection of styles and decided if we liked them and if we thought the brand was moving in the right direction. It’s not easy to release new collections of eyewear and we have massive respect for the designers who manage to keep creating smash hits. However, they don’t always nail it and, whether mojito fuelled or adorned in gloves, we had to make a call on the styles we saw.
We thought these Jacques Marie Mage cases were toadally awesome...
As normal, lots of brands really stood out for us. Some because their collection was well designed and perfect for Seen. Others because their ideas were downright hopping mad...
Jacques Marie Mage launched a new limited edition glasses case. Inspired by the community and scientific effort to reduce the number of non-native Cane Toads in north-eastern Australia, the limited edition case is made from taxidermy toad skins. Yes, you did just read that right.
Against the grain... some of the wood samples Gabe use to create their sublime wooden frames.
One of the new brands we discovered at SILMO who we’re really excited about is Gabe. Hailing from Austria, their glasses aren’t made of metal or acetate but wood. Combined with some well thought through designs, it makes for really special frames and we can’t wait to bring them to Manchester.
(From left to right) Larry Leight, Tareq, Garret Leight, Erika, and Mr Leight's UK agent, Will
We were over the moon to be one of the lucky few at the Mr Leight launch event, a collaboration between two Mr Leights- Garrett and his dad Larry (the genius founder of Oliver Peoples). There are only going to be 5 stockists in the UK and 100 worldwide and yes, Seen of course will be one of those but we’ll save that story for another day.
And of course, Erika managed to grab selfies with some of the biggest stars in the optical industry. Who did you meet again Erika?
"I finally met Larry Leight, which was a big one for me. The guy is an amazing talent and knows so much about the industry. So very human too, like very down to earth and you could talk to him about anything.
"The other one is Henrik Orgreen, who is also a very nice guy and extremely knowledgeable.
"Jerome Mage who isn’t a big talker but that’s ok, he doesn’t have to be. He suits that chilled out, sophisticated appearance."
All in all we had a great time at SILMO. It’s hugely inspiring to hang out and chat with the finest minds in the optical industry. It’s fair to say the whole Seen team is enthused about what we’ve got going on at Seen after Erika and I came back with our stories and tasty new stock.
As well as some exciting new brands on their way (keep your eyes peeled for news on those), we're now jam-packed with new stuff from Seen favourites like Theo, Anne et Valentin, Thom Browne, Dita, and GLCO, so there's no better time to swing by the Seen store and see what’s new.