opti BOX AWARD 2023: Eyewear Considered Holistically
The opti BOX AWARD for young innovative labels from the frames sector was premièred in May and will be held again in January. The opti BOX AWARD will be hosted on-site at the trade fair together with partner eyebizz on Saturday 14 January 2023. This is the date when the trade visitors will find out who is to be the worthy successor of Leinz Eyewear. The criteria according to which the international panel of judges will make their decision are “Innovation”, “Design & Function” and “Sustainability”.
The start-ups are all sustainable, using natural materials, modern manufacturing processes, short supply chain,s and local production. Their design is functional – timeless, individual, patented and soon to be premièred. And when it comes to “Innovation”, the candidates for the opti BOX Award 2023 are all equally impressive. It will not be easy for the opti BOX AWARD’s international jury to make its decision on 14 January 2023, the second day of the opti trade fair. This time, Dr. Jürgen Bräunlein, editor-in-chief and representative of the award partner eyebizz, and opti Exhibition Director Bettina Reiter will be assisted on the panel of judges by French eyewear blogger Anne-Sophie Lapettite (AnSoStyle): “I am very proud to support and highlight creativity and innovation within our industry,” said Lapetitte, who has nearly 100,000 follows on Instagram alone. More support comes from optician and ambassador of her trade Sabrina Oberlander (BRILLEN.werke) from Swabia. “For me, craftsmanship means passion.
Combined with innovation and design, we lay the foundation for a successful and happy future. I am very happy to be part of the opti BOX AWARD jury.” As you can see, there will be a great deal of expertise not only among the start-ups competing at the second opti BOX AWARD, but also on the panel of expert judges.
A great deal of expertise among judges and start-ups
“Your spectacles are like you!” Ultimately the design of the spectacles and the personality of the wearer must fit together. This is also the original concept behind the O-CCX-Eyewear collection. How do I see myself? How do I want others to see me? The spectacles designed by this innovative start-up from Lower Saxony are seen as the answer to these questions and as well nominated for the German Design Award 2023. They are not only unique, bespoke items but also reflect the personality of the wearer. Each pair of O-CCX spectacles represents a virtue and is perfectly adapted to the wearer using a 3D printer after first taking measurements with a high-tech 3D scanner. These spectacles are produced in a completely environmentally-friendly manner using naturally renewable materials and are available in an almost unlimited range of colors. Peter Meyer, founder of O-CCX-Eyewear, said: “Innovative design always develops in combination with innovative technology and is never an end in itself.”
Like O-CCX, RAYDIANT will also be at opti for the second time. According to the Cologne-based start-up, spectacles are for anyone who consciously likes to enjoy life and who wants more of and always the best. The label was created in 2019 and has since become well-known internationally. It “wants to create products that will still have value tomorrow,” explained RAYDIANT CEO Carmelo di Termini. “It’s a kind of magic”: The design with an easy spectacles clip system has Italian roots, while the ultra-light but durable frames are produced as bespoke items in Germany using 3D printing in the production process. Each frame weighs less than 20 grams, which is around a third less than the average.
“It’s a kind of magic.”
From Cologne we head to Leipzig. This is where the next opti BOX AWARD candidate is based. And where innovation meets design, original Saxon comfort meets modernity, culture meets hipster. Leipzig Eyewear aims to optimize, rethink and bring initiative to sustainability and innovative design. All the frames by the young label are made from polyamide and stainless steel. They are produced and designed locally, in a factory, all under one roof. The polyamide frames are produced by way of a special sintering process using a 3D printer without creating any excess waste. Short distances, fast delivery times and consistently high quality is the promise.
Twin sisters Carolin and Andrea have also made a promise. With their eyewear collection called 5Loops their aim is to closely link their expertise as opticians with their commitment to sustainability. This idea came to them during their travels round the world. Using only natural materials, creating as little waste as possible and being committed to recycling on the one hand and focusing on the social aspect of cooperation and care for those in need on the other. Understanding the idea of spectacles made from a holistic approach is something that will be shown to the industry for the first time at opti 2023. The fact that the first day of the trade fair falls on Friday 13th is the best omen in this case, as on this day the two start-up founders from Munich and Shanghai will also be celebrating their joint 48th birthday.
Environmental protection and social commitment also play a big role in the manufacture of frames by Poplar Shade. Founder of the Italian label, Ian Devercelli, commented: “This is not just eyewear, but a 360 degree project that makes a small but important contribution in the industry.” Poplar Shade is fair, he said, without detriment to profitability and quality and creates luxury that ultimately benefits everyone. A tree is planted in Guatemala for every pair of frames produced and the customer is even able to locate that tree later on using a specific code. Poplar Shade also donates one percent of the value of each pair of spectacles to a charitable organisation. All models are produced in limited batches that are numbered by hand and are made from biodegradable or natural materials like bio-acetate, bio-nylon and buffalo horn that are sourced exclusively from local suppliers in northern Italy.
And while we’re on the topic of Italy: Although the timeless high-quality sunglasses by James Ay are made in Denmark, the material from which they are made comes exclusively from Italy. Mazzucchelli M49 is completely plant-based, a mix of cellulose acetate and natural plasticizer, 100 percent biodegradable. James Ay is otherwise rather poetic, stating that the sun will light up the heart and free the spirit of anyone wearing sunglasses. This young label from Europe’s cultural city of Aarhus regards itself as a homage to the inventor of sunglasses, James Ayschough, who was first known in 18th century London for his microscope and colored his first spectacle lenses blue and green. James Ay has something else in common with this prominent role model, namely the objective of continuous further development. Founder Torben Holt. “Are we already perfect? Not by a long way. But we never stop working on it.”
“What constitutes us and our team is something that cannot be defined by our spectacles alone.” That is also the opinion of Martin Schröder of the eponymous German label. It is love that goes into the collection, he said. The handmade acetate Made in Germany frames personify quality and the finest manufacturing, exclusive design and sustainability. The story of Martin Schröder starts more than 100 years before it was founded in 2022: back in 1919, with an opticians shop in Leipzig. Acetate frames were being made there according to customer requirements from as early as the 1960s. “By opticians for opticians” is still the motto today. The spectacles should not squeeze or aggravate the nose but flatter it. This is why, among other things, we use high-quality, movement-regulated hinges.
The hinge is also a keyword at YQU. The patented 2-in-1 spectacles by YQU are the first to have a “reversible” frame. A unique hinge enables the arms of the spectacles to be turned up to 360 degrees – whether they are prescription spectacles or sunglasses, whatever the occasion, outfit or mood. The people behind YQU are siblings Terry and Tim Ruckaberle and Anna, Tim’s wife. Tim was also the one to invent the 2-in-1 spectacles. It was on a warm spring day when the dedicated spectacles wearer noticed a pair of sunglasses that were black on the outside and white on the inside. The reversible spectacles came from the idea that the white inside should also be more visible. YQU is based in Swabian Böblingen, the spectacles are produced in cooperation with partner Edelweyes in Austria, with a focus on individuality, quality, service and sustainability.
Not in spring, but in autumn, the story of LARS began. “Glasses are much more than just an accessory. They protect our eyes. They enable us to see without restriction. Form follows function.” Co-founders Silvia and Simon are guided by the design theses of the influential modernist industrial designer Dieter Rams. Reducing to the essential, that’s what it’s all about. “One front, two brackets, four pins. That’s it.” The target group is people for whom consumption is more than a quick satisfaction of needs and who value quality over quantity. Every LARS frame is 100 percent made in Switzerland. By the time they reach the customer, they have travelled an average of only 300 km: The frames are developed and designed in Bern and produced in Appenzell. 3D printing is used in four production steps to save resources and protect the environment.
The opti BOX AWARD will be presented on Saturday 14 January 2023 as part of opti 2023 (13 to 15 January, Trade Fair Center Messe München). The award ceremony will be held live at 2.30pm in the opti BOX Café in Hall C2. The winning start-up will receive a credit note worth €1,000 for exhibition booth hire at opti 2023 and 2024 as well as marketing and PR support worth a four digit sum from partners eyebizz and Ebner Media Group. Young labels looking to participate in the opti BOX AWARD at short notice should contact Lidia Ricco by telephone on +49 89 189 149 154. All labels registered can be found at www.opti.de/en/messe/opti-box-award/ and in the opti Exhibition Directory.
While waiting for opti live in January, trade visitors can access informative presentations by the opti FORUM XT. The next webinar will be held at 7.30pm on 28 November 2022 and is called “Positionierung: Zeige, wofür Du stehst, und der Umsatz stimmt” (positioning: show what you stand for and the sales will add up). Free registration is as always possible online , just as tickets for opti 2023 are available online.