29 Oct 2008
Fashionable Frames(HKTDC Optical,2009)
Sunglasses & Sports Glasses
High on the shopping list of fashion-conscious trendsetters is eyewear that protects against harmful rays and also adds a certain pizzazz to their appearance
Stylish dressers and fashionistas all over the world take the same approach to sunglasses and sports glasses as they do to their outfits - mixing and matching to suit the occasion.
As befits a leading Asian and international fashion centre, Hong Kong has developed a wealth of expertise over the years in matching the right glasses to the correct occasion.
Among the numerous leading eyewear manufacturers and innovative designers working in the local industry is EyeConcept Ltd, which specialises in branding, distribution and retail of different optical products.
Using raw materials like Grilamid TR55 LX and plastic fronts combined with titanium or beta titanium components the company produces several stylish ranges - including the latest trends from Japan.
One of its hottest collections is aimed at stylish youngsters who want the very latest fashions the minute they appear, says Brand Manager Michelle Ng. "We buy acetate and metal for our frames from Italy," she explains. "We have found that Italy has the best quality, and that's what our customers want."
Ms Ng stresses that EyeConcept is "very careful" when it comes to sizing. "We have model heads for different ethnic groups to make sure the eyeglasses fit perfectly without being either too tight or risk the discomfort of slipping down while worn - or even falling off."
Another keenly sought-after line from EyeConcept is produced for women aged 45 years and above; women who know what suits them and are determined to have the best. "This brand is owned by Hans Stepper and called, appropriately enough, Steppers eyewear," Ms Ng says, adding that the company motto is 'Eyewear Fashion that Fits'. "This is an up-market brand that is especially popular in Germany and the US."
Other stylish brands manufactured by EyeConcept include Fiorucci, Pantone Universe and OOPZ. "A wide selection of colours and fun details make OOPZ the perfect match for everyday fashion," Ms Ng adds.
Exporting all over the world, Asia Optical Mfy Ltd produces an extensive range of optical products including sunglasses, handmade acetate frames, metal frames, children's frames, reading glasses, folding eyewear, industrial safety glasses and injection-moulded frames.
General Manager Gordon Lee stresses the fact that Asia Optical is vertically integrated. "Unlike other optical companies and trading houses who operate solely on an outward sub-contracting basis, we have full control over the sampling, production, R&D and cost management," he claims. "This ensures we are able to offer buyers the best service and fulfil their every need."
Most of the company's materials and machinery are imported from Italy, Germany, Japan and the US, Mr Lee adds. "All the production procedures are carried out by well-trained workers and closely monitored by experienced supervisors," he explains. "We have QC inspections after each stage of production, plus a final QC inspection before packaging."
Buyers can select from Asia Optical's 1,000 different styles prepared by the firm's in-house designers or provide their own OEM models. "Prototypes can be finished within 20 days and the first shipment will be delivered within 60 days after the sample approval," Mr Lee promises.
Among Asia Optical's most popular products is model 23187, high-fashion sunglasses with a 3D, laser-etched bamboo pattern. "Wood patterns are also big sellers along with other multicoloured glasses, which are perfect for casual occasions," Mr Lee maintains.
Asia Optical sells more acetate sunglasses than injection sunglasses. "The difference is not in the density of the material but in the depth of colour - it is much brighter than ordinary plastic and more attractive for fashionable frames," Mr Lee explains. "Of course it's also more expensive."
The company's sun lenses come ready-ground and polished and PC-polarized, and CR-39 and acrylic options can be supplied. "All of them are 100% protected up to UV400nm and anti-reflective coating can also be done on request," Mr Lee adds.
Asia Optical exports all of its products, including its Pocket Reader glasses that come in a set with slim, colourful cases that have a clip to hold them safely in a top pocket. "People in Europe and the US like reading glasses rather than all-purpose models - they feel they can still be trendy without looking old," Mr Lee says.
Focusing on a different market, Winntics Optical Industry Co Ltd produces distinctive eyewear for the men's, women's and unisex markets in three key categories - hand-made, metal and injection moulded.
All the company's products such as the cellulose acetate hand-made sunglasses model 3127 are finely finished, claims Manager Cecilia Wong. "Our R&D division pays close attention to upcoming trends in different parts of the world and we encourage our designers to be innovative and develop new models that keep pace with the seasons," she says.
Given this commitment to fashion and quality, it's clear that Hong Kong sunglasses and sports glasses manufacturers should be the first and only choice when it comes to fashionable frames.
TEXT BY MAGGIE BEALE