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New York / Vision East Expo Day 3

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New York / Vision East Expo Day 3

The day started bright and clear, but cold.  We shouldn’t really complain, though, as we’d escaped the snow storm which had battered Nova Scotia over the last 24 hours so we were fortunate to be in New York.

This day was going to be a very special day – TD Tom Davies’s Creative Lab.  We were invited to spend a whole day with Tom and his team to have further training in the creation, design and modification of spectacle frames.  We have carried the TD Tom Davies range since we opened and already felt very comfortable and confident with our abilities to bespoke the measurements for specific requirements and create unique colour combinations as one-off eyeglasses for our patients.  It is always good, however, to refresh our knowledge and we wondered what else the day would bring.

A short stroll from our hotel brought us to the very cool Ink 48 hotel, one of New York’s fine boutique hotels.  In we went and straight up the elevator to the penthouse floor.  While this may seem lavish, the cost was a fraction compared to exhibiting at the main show and many of the frame companies we work with choose this option as it helps protect their concepts and designs from the prying eyes of those who would simply wish to copy them.

The Creative Lab awaits

As we come out of the elevator, at the end of the corridor an open door and sign beckons – this is kind of exciting, I have to say!

Wow!  We walk in to the suite and are greeted with 180° views of the Manhattan skyline and out over the Hudson River.  We meet with Tom and Nathan, it’s great to quickly catch up with them since we last met in Paris.  While we chat regularly by phone and e-mail, there’s nothing better than meeting face to face to really catch up.
One of the limited edition pieces
To start the day we review the collection of frames that Tom has with him.  This represents not only his full collection, but also some limited edition pieces and also some prototypes which are current works in progress. 
We were looking to choose five or more frames that we liked or inspired us to then work on.  This particular blue on blue titanium/acetate limited edition model definitely caught my eye.
Lots of choices
With the pieces chosen, the next thing was to download all of the CAD files from Tom’s database.  With the CAD printed off we were then set to work.  Tom gave an introduction to designing and modifying frames from the drawings.

This is a very different experience to modifying a frame for a particular patient, here you are given a complete free reign – you can change a thickness here, an angle there, even modify the position of different components on the frame.  Whatever you can imagine can be achieved, of course, whether it will work or not is another matter!

CAD with modifications

It’s almost overwhelming to begin with.  Perhaps inside every eye geek is an inner feeling that they could be an eyewear designer.  Now we were having a chance to try our hands at it, it’s almost like being a kid in a candy store and being told you can pick anything … everything!  Where to start!?

With a few swoops of a pencil, though, we started to get in to a groove.  I like how the frame is here, but I’d change the frame there.  I like the bridge from this frame, so I’ll use it on that one.  All the time Tom, Nathan and Josh were coming around; checking how we were getting on, making gentle suggestions; explaining what would and wouldn’t work.  We also started comparing each other’s designs and it is amazing the variety of different options that you can come up with you start to look at this.

The setting was inspirational as well, with so many beautiful frames laid on every available surface we were never short of different designs to look at.  Even gazing around the skyline, though, you start to notice different elements from the architecture around and the colours of the city.  Could they be incorporated?  Why not.

When we were happy, Tom would review each individual design and if it was acceptable, it was photographed for e-mailing to his CAD designers to get new drawings made up.  All of this before lunch!  Amazing!

In the afternoon we worked with Tom on the next level of customisation available with the TD Tom Davies range – Couture.  With the Bespoke service we can make an adjustment of up to +/- 5mm on any measurement, with Couture we take it even further.  This opens up the possibility to complete re-design a frame for a customer.  To take the concepts of the morning’s work of modifying CAD’s and actually applying them for real.  By taking this next step we can be assured of an absolutely perfect fit when creating unique eyeglasses.  We take additional measurements of head dimensions and use a fitting set of frames to be sure that the nosebridge will fit perfectly.

Just as with the morning’s exercise we will receive a CAD before production and have a software tool to use in office to modify the design as much as necessary while working with the design on picture.  This level of service ensures that at Ocean we are offering the very best eyewear options, bar none, so we are incredibly excited to be incorporating it into our office.

Buffalo Horn Plate

We also spent some time looking at the development of Tom’s line of natural buffalo horn frames.  Buffalo horn is not a new material for eyewear, but there is definitely a growing interest in it.  Like many natural materials it is slightly unpredictable in its nature and has certain nuances or quirks which you have to respect when working with it and wearing it.

For all of these drawbacks, it is an incredible material – light, strong, comfortable and with wonderful colours.  Tom also has a wonderful take on it.  As with all his eyewear, the horn frames can be made to order, starting with the customer choosing the very two plates of horn which the frame will be cut out of – unbelievable!

It is amazing how the day passed, soon it was evening and our training day was over.  We had taken in so much information during the day and really covered so much ground, all of us were enthused with new ideas and a thoughts about how to share these with Ocean Optometry.  There’s really not much more to add, the sun set, a few drinks were poured and we were reassured that by working with TD Tom Davies we were working in a relationship of mutual respect and friendship.


A few more thoughts from the day are best captured by pictures:

The finished CAD from Dr McG’s design – looking forward to seeing him in this one!
The sun shining over the Hudson River
Prototypes and limited editions

The inspiring skyline

A special thanks to TD Tom Davies, Tom himself and Nathan for creating such an informative, enjoyable and fun day!

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