Dr John Wilson and Dr Euan McGinty headed to Paris at the end of September to visit the Silmo 2013 exhibition. Silmo is one of the eye events in the calendar each year and is a real destination event, alongside Mido in Milan and Vision Expo East in New York. It was a big commitment to decide to take the time out of our diary to go and not something that John or Euan decided to do lightly, so, was it worth it?
While it might sound glamorous to say that we head to these shows, unfortunately the truth is quite different. Travelling east to Europe invariably involves an overnight flight and our routing was even more frustrating as we had to first travel west for a couple of hours to connect via the big TO! We were on our way, though!
|On our way to Paris!|
The morning that we arrived, we quickly cleared through French customs and immigration and headed directly to the show from the plane, there really is no time to lose. Thankfully we had decided to keep our appointments to the minimum for the very first day, using the time to get our bearings and get adjust for the time zone.
In saying that we were looking at a range of beautiful hand crafted Japanese frames within forty minutes of arriving! Choosing the eyewear ranges that we stock is a bit of a strange blend of business sense, science in manufacture, the art of the frame design and I guess it would only be right to say je ne sais quoi! These frames weren’t for us.
|Jason & Karen Kirk|
We continued to explore the exhibition halls, looking at frame collections, examining instrument and
technology developments and immersing ourselves in an atmosphere which is definitely an eye geek’s heaven. With great delight on the first day we also met with Jason and Karen Kirk who have moved on from twenty years of Kirk Originals to create Kirk & Kirk. This definitely looks to be an exciting development by these eyewear innovators and something we are going to be keeping a very keen eye on.
With day one done, we were both flagging and it was time to find our hotel! We both felt that the first day had been a great way to start our visit, we had discovered some exhibitors that we knew we wanted to re-visit and were excited for our upcoming appointments.
Tonight’s dinner was in an Indian restaurant!
Day two started bright and early, well set up by a lovely French breakfast we ventured on to the Paris light rail system and navigated our way to the show. Our first appointment was not until 11 am, so with a couple of hours to spare we set about exploring an area of the halls that we didn’t get to the day before. It may sound strange but with almost a thousand exhibitors in 80,000 square metres of floor space, this is quite the show.
|Bernhard – Rolf Eyewear|
The appointed hour came and we met with Bernhard from Rolf Eyewear. We are incredibly excited to be working with Rolf Eyewear. They are the masters of eyewear made from natural products and there is quite simply nothing that comes close to their frames. We had ordered frames from Rolf when we met with them in March in New York (honestly, it only sounds glamorous!) and as of yet we had not received a single item from them. So why were we meeting with them?
The initial frames we are stocking are made completely from wood, including the spring joint! Manufacturing the frames is a lengthy process and this was something we were aware of from the outset. So we had arranged our meeting with a view to finding out what was also available, what was in development and also to look at ordering stock for the following six months. We were not disappointed! Rolf has mastered the art of eyewear in materials not just including wood, but also stone and buffalo horn. While there may be other buffalo horn and wooden frame ranges available (one of our other favourites is Drift Eyewear) there simply is nothing like Rolf Eyewear’s take on it. You’ll be amazed when you see them!
That took us through to beyond mid-day on the second day, so that’s a perfect place to stop. Find out more in Part 2!