SCENE + HEARD: Shows opti 2020 Goes for the Bold By Gwendolyn Plummer Monday, February 10, 2020 1:00 AM MUNICH, Germany—From Jan. 10 to 12, 2020, this city was once again a hub for the eyewear and eye-care industries as opti 2020 took place. This year, opti welcomed 28,000 visitors from 93 countries, who came to explore the 605 exhibitors across the show’s six halls. The show featured both industry veterans and brand new companies and designers—including the opti BOXES, which were home to recently launched up-and-coming brands—and gave a special platform to industry influencers through the Blogger Spectacle program. According to show organizers, almost two thirds of the exhibitors at opti 2020 “achieved deals, bookings or orders at the fair, whilst 92 percent of opti trade visitors gave top marks this year.” In addition, the show’s opti FORUM space, which hosts educational talks and meetings throughout the show, welcomed 2,900 visitors and hosted 33 lectures. Show organizers said the most popular lectures were: “Optics 4.0. – The Opportunities and Risks of Teleoptometry,” “Referral Marketing,” and “Facing the Challenge of MDR – What Do We Need to Do Before it Takes Effect?” Social media was the name of the game at opti 2020, with the Blogger Spectacle celebrating its fourth round. The Blogger Spectacle serves as a sort of “class reunion” for eyewear and lifestyle bloggers around Europe, who meet up in Munich to scope out the newest trends in eyewear. On Saturday, the Blogger Spectacle program culminated with the Blogger Spectacle Award 2020, which recognized the favorite newcomer in the opti BOXES space. This year’s winner was London-based brand Covrt Project Limited, founded by designer Marcello Martino. While accepting his award, Martino told the crowd his goal is to “define a new culture in eyewear” with his streetwear-inspired brand. Bold and full of personality, Covrt Project perfectly embodies what opti was all about this year: going for the bold. Be it in color, material, booth design or visual impact, everyone at opti seemed to be embracing the bold and the beautiful. In fact, the halls of opti 2020 were bursting with color. Minimalism will always be in—but bright and bold is having a moment. It’s versatile, too—from ultra-thin metals in show-stopping reds to thick, heavy acetates in sunrise yellow—opti 2020 proved there’s no shortage of ways to reimagine color in 2020. Examples were everywhere: brands like Vinyl Factory, Gigi Studios and Design Eyewear Group brought the bold to their booth design, utilizing bright colors, expressive lighting, and inspiring knickknacks to show off the brands’ voices and stories, while also offering busy showgoers a moment of entertainment or surprise. This boldness extended into eyewear design as well: Komono showcased its recent collaboration with the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp, an expressive, unique capsule collection designed by four “master students” at the institution. At the same time, Blackfin proved that “bold” doesn’t have to mean “big,” or even “over the top.” At its booth, Blackfin displayed its masterful ability to bring adventurous colors to lightweight metal eyewear—combining both the metal eyewear trend, which really took off at Vision Expo West last September, and this growing trend toward fun, daring design. Hand in hand with these bold design examples was a particular sense of space and location at opti 2020. This season, brands seem to be looking close to home for inspiration—and taking home with them wherever they go, especially when it comes to booth design. Brands like Garrett Leight, Moscot and Savile Row brought their hometowns to Messe Munich: Garret Leight’s breezy Californian booth was decked out with cacti and sunny colors; Moscot’s booth reflected their in-store design and payed homage to early 1900s New York City; and London-based Savile Row designed their booth to look like a classic London storefront, complete with cobblestones and warm, inviting lighting. German brands, which were well represented at opti, also paid homage to their home country—ic! berlin in particular has recently rebranded and redesigned their website to spotlight Berlin’s diverse and inspiring spirit, a sentiment that they echoed at opti. Overall, opti 2020 kicked off the trade show season with a fearless sense of optimism for this coming year. It seems that, if the eyewear industry has their say, 2020 will be a bright, showstopper of a decade—one for embracing the new and the exciting, but always remembering where we came from. Next year, opti will take place from January 8-10, 2021, and will change its location, celebrating its first year in Stuttgart. Going forward, the show will alternate locations each year, setting up shop in Munich on even years and Stuttgart on odd years.