Trends in optics and eyewear at SILMO Paris 2022

Visuel CP Silmo Trends


The 2022 edition of SILMO PARIS reveals the trends to come, which it presents under the general theme of “Perception”. We perceive the physical world in the form of images which portray what is going on around us as reliably as possible. Perception immediately gives rise to an affective reaction – an emotion – which varies according to the nature of what it evokes, but also the nature of the person receiving it. Perception is also stimulation. To quote Walter Gropius, the architect, designer and urban planner who founded Bauhaus – a key European art movement of the interwar period – and who laid the foundation for international style: “Perception is the basis for all creativity; learning to see is the beginning of creativity.” 

The optical and eyewear industry is a field where creativity is key, and where designers, creative minds, and fashion, luxury and sports brands are reinvented with each collection. This creativity is combined with R&D, since a pair of glasses is both a technical and an aesthetic object: a medical device that corrects vision as well as the reflection of design trends. In terms of style, the field has always been very diverse, with models that draw on vintage fashion: the '70s, ‘80s and ‘90s are revisited and well-loved. On the other hand, the future is seeking its path, too, with shapes and combinations of materials that mingle sharp design with ultra-high technology. New looks will certainly emerge through the birth of the Metaverse (an immersive, parallel virtual world of real interactions), and indeed they are already appearing in fashion and accessories, such as the surprising, appealing new “meta real” trainers.

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Before unveiling the major trends of the 2022 edition of SILMO Paris in the next edition of TRENDS by SILMO and on the SILMO NEXT forum next September, we propose a few prominent points here: important markers that provide guidelines for today’s aesthetic.

Streamlined complexity

While glasses designers often reinvent iconic models as a kind of identity marker, the general movement follows an intention to “keep it simple without being simplistic.” Elementary shapes combine lightweight comfort with sophisticated proportions, details and finishes to bring character and distinction to each look. Today’s largely acetate models – as well as those in metal and combinations of the two – clearly make a statement of streamlined complexity.

Ultra-fine, ultra-textured

The glasses industry takes on the world of shapes with great flexibility, but round glasses are still around and making themselves known, while square ones are softening, stretching into subdued geometrics. Whatever the structures and lines, there are two major directions: extreme finesse, for exquisite elegance; or, at the other extreme, the thickness, compactness and strength of a solid block of material (principally acetate) that is sculpted, polished and smoothed, and that is not inhibited by contained dimensions.

Invisible visible

Invisible frames – which had taken a back seat – are regaining appeal, as are frames in clear or coloured crystal plastic, which are very prominent. This trend relates to the near-disappearance of the mask, which had covered the bottom of the face, only showing the eyes to their advantage. In order to allow the eyes to express themselves “unadorned”, some individuals prefer “invisible visible” glasses. Crystal plastic is also cropping up in sunglasses, which can provide plays on contrasting colours between the frames and lenses.

Eco vision

In today’s world, it is impossible to ignore the ecological current running through everyone’s thoughts, spilling into questions of society, politics, and economy. Optical and eyewear companies have been committed to these issues for some time, beginning with eco-responsible entrepreneur newcomers and now extending to historical eyeglasses manufacturers and major brands. Their approaches include two major areas: organic, recycled or upcycled materials (using dormant stocks of acetate, for example); and eco-design, which involves restraint in the means utilized to reduce the industrial impact of glasses. Its virtuous highlight is a circular economic approach, or the art of endless recycling.

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