Leading up to O=Mega2019, we were told this was going to be Australia’s biggest eyewear event ever. And they weren’t wrong. From opening on the Friday, there was a real buzz of excitement that has been missing from the Australian Industry for quite a while. With a record breaking number of exhibitors as well as attendees, feedback amongst both groups was extremely positive.
This is the first time that the Australian Board of Optometry and ODMA have teamed up to create a joint weekend, where Optometrists could attend lectures and get their CPD points, as well as attend the trade show which was all held in the new area of the Melbourne convention centre. It was great to see so many more Optometrists and store owners in attendance than at past shows.
A standout for me was the new exhibitors; so many faces we haven’t seen before – or at least in a very long time. Amongst these were Fritz Frames, Ryan Adda, AM Eyewear, Aaron’s Eyewear, Eye Candy Optics, Raen and Quay Australia just to name a few. The larger wholesalers were all there too putting on a show with their beautifully laid out stands including Eyes Right Optical, Matrix, De Rigo, Frames Etc, Mimo, Maui Jim and Hoya.
The stand at LBJ Optical was an absolute stunner, and it wasn’t a surprise to anyone when they won the award for best small to medium stand. With an antique green and gold plush lounge setup, their collections were presented in a way that just oozed sophistication and glamour. The taxidermy animals sure were a talking point for most people who attended over the three days.
Exciting new brands were launched, with two highly anticipated sunglass ranges being a focus. Van Staveren launched their range COVE, which is a women’s fashion sunglass range retailing at $199.00. All models are prescription-ready, but come standard with polarised lenses which has before now been a massive gap in our ranges. Also to launch over the weekend was the Avanti Sunglass range. This is an entirely new venture for the Mod Style company and they had very positive feedback.
There were lectures, masterclasses, window dressing shows and meet and greet times happening all weekend, which meant everyone was kept extremely busy. Most feet are now still recovering! I only had the chance to attend one lecture, which was the Optical Dispenser Forum on the Saturday morning. It was extremely positive to see a full room, with more seating needing to be added. Overall the mood was a little wary, but positive. The entire industry is pushing for more training options and memberships to the Australian Dispensing Opticians Association from all angles, which is an extremely positive step for all of us Dispensers out here. More on this topic will be available soon.
The Eyewear on display was absolutely stunning. Australia is putting its own stamp on European trends and creating products that appeal to the quirky, unique, the colourful and the bold in more ways than we have ever seen before. Major trends were pastel colours, Crystal acetates, Mirrored sunglass lenses, intricate metal work and hexagonal shapes. Even though the show was smaller than our European and American counter-parts, Omega packed a whole lot of punch into the variety of brands and products featured. There were international designers to meet and discuss products including Esteemed American Eyewear Designer Gai Gherardi at Pro-Optics, and Denis Bellone, the Creative Director of Morel Eyewear who held VIP Masterclasses at the Eyes Right Optical stand. Many companies had some beautiful and limited edition collections on show, including a Sunglass Shield from Porsche eyewear and clear / rainbow Perspex collection from Silhouette at Mimo Eyewear, which won the design for Best frame design. Attendees were excited about the new colours and shapes coming through that feel to have been missing from our shores for far too long. Customers are starting to embrace their unique personalities more than ever before, and Eyewear is seen as fun purchase, rather than a chore for many end consumers.
Feedback from exhibitors was also very positive, with some saying they had the most productive Australian show ever – after only one day! There were a lot of new relationships built, new accounts opened and old friends caught up with over a few champagnes after a long 3 days.
Here’s to hoping that we can keep this energy going and breathe some more life into our Industry. There is a lot of passion still out there, which has been partly hidden by frustration for too long. If O=MEGA19 was anything to go by, we are re-starting our engines and getting ready to fire. Independents are making a stand to be exactly that – Independent with service, frame ranges and their ability to customise their customers’ experience. With all we have on offer in Australian Optics, there is a lot to look forward to in the future.
The only down side, is that we now have to wait another 2 years for the next show!
The Eyewear Girl x