Fashion, Fun and Function!
Once upon a time, youngsters who needed to wear eyeglasses really didn’t like the idea very much.
There were not a lot of choices; like the first Ford automobiles, frames were available in any colour–as long as it was black! Sometimes the shapes were unflattering, which only added to an already potentially awkward situation, for a child who needed to wear glasses.
Fast forward to the present, and nowadays children who don’t even need eyewear correction long to wear frames. Points of view on fashion, colour, eyewear shapes and how children perceive them have all changed dramatically. The digital age has contributed much to this upheaval; so has children’s awareness of their role models; what their peers are wearing, and their own emerging style sense, that starts budding at a very young age.
A combination of factors has seen children’s eyewear emerge from murky shadows into a desirable, cool item. Advanced technology, amazing colours, lots of fascinating shapes, and safety factors–always a parent pleaser–all contribute to give youngsters' frames a rock star status.
Jayne and Julie Abel, joint Managing Directors at UK-based Eyespace Eyewear noted the new importance of children’s frames:
It’s an exciting time for kids' eyewear, with frames now a fun fashion statement being made by kids with and without prescriptions. There is no longer any stigma attached to wearing glasses, and as the younger generation pioneer social media, they want to show off their eyewear to the online world. It’s all about the number of ‘likes’, and everyone is involved in their frame choices via social media channels such as Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest.
Jayne and Julie also commented on trends for 2014/2015:
Girls in particular are all about accessorizing; bags, shoes, and eyewear, so frames that compliment and reflect high street fashion are essential. Eye-catching bright colours, including gold fluorescents, are here to stay for both boys and girls in Autumn/Winter. Shapes in kids' eyewear remain retro in style, with acetate as the key material for a fashion-forward frame.
Skilled shaping techniques have totally revamped the look of frames for young faces. Babies and toddlers, introduced to frames at their tender ages, have a fine selection from which to choose with Ivko babies, available through UK based Orange Eyewear. Materials are hypoallergenic, with fixed silicon bridges and spring hinges. Little round shapes fit perfectly on small faces, and the colour selection ranges from yummy bonbon tones to bright primaries.
Modern materials and the ability to transform metal, acetate, stainless steel and Titanium into sleek designs, create styling that children can relate to. Vintage and retro frames have captivated the adult market for several years, and the mini-versions of these shapes look super on children and teenagers. The shapes are refined to give the appearance of retro styling without exaggeration, or look overpowering on a child’s face. Oliver Goldsmith, the quintessential British retro frame makers, have taken designs from forty and fifty years ago, and replicated them to fit children’s faces. The results are stunning and allow kids to feel very grown up!
Dunelm Optical also knows that kids are au courant with fashion trends, and designs with a retro ambience are part of their extensive collection for young children through to teenagers. Hints of vintage are apparent in Squaw from Whiz Kids, with the two-tone colouration and temple interest.
Diversity in shape and materials is the focus of the Vulkani collection available at Orange Eyewear. Rectangular and round designs are modified in size to comfortably fit small faces. New on the frame scene is Kickers Eyewear. The name is familiar as the source of funky footwear, and now the iconic fashion brand has launched its first Kids Eyewear Collection.
Mum and Dad might envy these smart fashion shapes and bright contrasting colours. Durability is keynote too, with 180º flexi-hinges that allow the sides to open fully.
As in adult eyewear, the evolution of fabulous colours has truly transformed frames for children. Youngsters respond actively to colour–and when a child wears a frame for the first time, acceptance is easier when a child connects with their personal colour choice. The colour palette is more diversified than ever–soft, sorbet pastels in apricot, lavender, blue, rose and mint green are flattering for babies and toddlers.
For older children colour sophistication is a highlight at Eyespace Eyewear with their Rock Star collection. Kids love the street scene, and two designs from Rock Star unite style, colour and high quality manufacturing processes that mean the frames are rough and tumble ready.
Rock Star’s Lily C1 is a slick metal frame in burgundy and brown with chic striped temples. Boys will feel super cool in Bruno C1–two-tone acetate in black and white.
Sporting heroes inspire kids and being a Formula One Driver captures many children’s imaginations. Boys can look the part of racetrack life with Bench Kids frames in bright, electric colours and racing-inspired textured temples that they will love. With robust engineering, stylish metal fronts and flexible plastic temples, parents will be delighted too. High-octane colours include Neon Orange, Electric Blue and Racing Yellow.
Fashion colours beloved by Mum are translated into children’s designs at Lafont Eyewear. The French frame makers have been creating original kid’s frames in superb colourations for decades. Tortoiseshell acetate and apple green, or tortoiseshell and purple bring eyewear flair to Lafont designs.
Winter sunshine is usually not a primary concern in the British Isles. However, on occasion winter sun is penetrating, and with children’s eyes being extremely vulnerable, it is recommended that sunglasses be worn on the brightest days. Eye surgeon and Zoobug creator Dr. Julie Le has launched a collection—MyZoobug—in response to the awareness that young eyes need sun protection even during wintertime. Oliver Goldsmith and Dunelm also have a distinctive collection of sunglasses that are perfect for year-‘round outdoor activities.
Shopping for eyewear is now as enthusiastically embraced as for clothing! Fashion, cool trends, super colours, and great variety bring pleasure and eye protection to the exciting world of children’s eyewear.
Article written for SPECS network by Joan Grady.