After another trade show looking at the latest and greatest eyewear releases, I find myself wondering if frame design has finally liberated itself from the idea of following fashion trends.

It’s a gut feeling I’ve had for a while now, primarily driven by independent eyewear designers and companies being brave enough to remain true to their own ideas and brand DNAs. Instead of following a particular trend or even attempting to start them, designers are simply doing what they want. Looking around Silmo last weekend, it was impossible to identify any widespread trends in colours or shapes because eyewear has become such a melting pot of ideas.

Naturally, there are exceptions and there will always be micro-trends. I would say frames with obvious heft are somewhat in the ascendancy, and there are lots of frames with ‘televisoni’ inward milling on the front of frames. There were plenty of brands entering the sustainability arena – although very few seemed to appreciate that sustainability means more than simply using an eco-friendly material. And is this a design trend or a ideological one? That’s one for another leader column.

What does this mean for practices? Ultimately, it means choice. There is so much good product out there at the moment, it’s almost hard to go wrong. Most brands cover all bases in terms of colours, shapes, volume and style. The real challenge will be deciding what to stock, knowing the taste of your patients and making sure that brand crossover is minimised.

One of the questions Optician often gets asked by practitioners and brands at trade shows is ‘seen anything good?’. Going back between five and 10 years, it was pretty easy to reel off a few different new brands, a cool frame or even a hinge if talking to a fellow frame nerd. It’s much harder to do that these days, but the sector is all the better for it.