Eyewear Trends 2024: Innovation and Sustainability at MIDO Fair

One of the world’s largest international trade shows for the eyewear industry, MIDO will be held in Milan from 3 until 5 February 2024, offering professionals the chance to reflect on the future of the optical industry, discover new brands and identify new trends. EYESEEmag met with MIDO President Giovanni Vitaloni to talk about fashion, technology and all things ethics and get an idea of what we can expect at this year’s event.

General view of a trade show with visitors resting on wavy floor installations under green and black ceiling decor.

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Over the past few months, we have noticed artificial intelligence creeping into the eyewear industry more and more. How can it make everyday life easier for people who wear glasses?

Advanced technologies are not just for experts, they’re part of everyday life now. We notice them in the online purchasing experience which is becoming increasingly interactive, with virtual try-on tools.

We also have 3D-printed glasses which allow manufacturers to create personalised frames. They offer consumers unique options which adapt to their style and facial features. We can also talk about smart glasses which incorporate technology allowing digital information to be superimposed onto the wearer’s field of vision, or virtual Try-On glasses whose frames incorporate captors and monitors.
They measure elements such as heart rate, blood pressure and activity levels, providing the wearer with precious information about their health. Finally, progress has also been made regarding high-tech materials; lightweight, sustainable components such as memory foam metals and plastics have been developed. This means suppler frames that are more comfortable to wear.


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Can this technology help consumers to make their purchases? And if so, with what type of tools?

AI can be used to collect and analyse customer data. This helps opticians gain a better understanding of customer preferences, and in turn to offer each one a personalised experience.

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are another revolution, allowing people shopping for glasses to interact with products and services in an immersive, virtual way.

To finish, I would say that AI is revolutionising how we research and develop new products. We are discovering new materials, developing more effective lenses and improving the quality of frames.

You are very committed to taking a sustainable and ethical approach to eyewear. How can consumers tell the difference between an authentic sustainable brand and greenwashing?

It can be difficult because brand marketing campaigns are often misleading, to make them appear more eco-friendly than they really are.

Consumers like to make reasoned decisions and are extremely demanding, especially the younger generation. This obviously extends to the glasses they choose.

At MIDO 2024, we’ll attribute the Certified Sustainable Eyewear award. Only manufacturers that can explain the sustainable process behind their designs and developments will be awarded this label. Our goal is to help consumers make sustainable choices by providing them with information on how, when and where each pair of glasses is made.

This label is extremely relevant and an important tool for sustainable brands, allowing them to be transparent regarding their manufacturing methods. We’re convinced that it can help our industry to progress.


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In the run-up to and during the MIDO event, how do you help sustainable brands stand out and talk about their commitments?

During the event, we work with MIDO TV, a free tool which showcases exhibitors through interviews or reports, which they can then share on other media.

Exhibitors and visitors are also invited to apply for our awards granted to ethical brands. We have six awards, including Certified Sustainable Eyewear (CSE) and Stand Up For Green, attributed to the most sustainable stand. Through these rewards, we want to encourage industry players to improve their environmental and social sustainability.

Anyone who wishes to apply for the CSE award will need to optimise and document their actions taken to protect the environment, and all MIDO exhibitors are encouraged to use more attractive, eco-friendly stands.

The rewards are also an excellent opportunity for all participants to familiarise themselves with brands, stands, trends and all things eyewear related!


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When we’re talking about ethics, it is also important to talk about equality, fair representation of men and women, something which is not always the case in the eyewear industry. How does MIDO help women to make a name for themselves? What do you do to give them a voice during the event?

Sustainability also has a social aspect. MIDO has been working on being inclusive for some time, through the ANFAO’s (Italian association of eyewear manufacturers) project Empowering Optical Women Leadership, which helps support and guide women in the eyewear industry.

An observatory on gender equality in management positions was also organised in order to take stock of the current situation, identify difficulties and establish guidelines for the training project designed to promote female career development.

The initial results will be shared at MIDO 2024 and a conference will be dedicated to the topic. The ANFAO, in collaboration with our eyewear show, also organised a series of classes to promote inclusiveness in December 2023 and January 2024.

We’re convinced that these actions will have a positive impact on the eyewear manufacturing process, and help create a virtuous circle in the industry.


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Let’s talk about future glasses trends. What frames will be making an appearance at MIDO and why will consumers want them?

As always, MIDO will give us an insight into upcoming trends. Technology is becoming more and more important with smart devices which adapt to outdoor conditions. Consumers are increasingly interested in personalised products, whether that means bespoke, limited edition or numbered glasses.

You can expect to see styles for more sophisticated consumers who believe in gender fluid fashion and embrace the quiet luxury trend, true designer objects and high-performance sports glasses. Sustainable and recyclable materials are also at the top of the trend list alongside bold, oversized frames, high-tech options and 3D-printed glasses, all in a wide range of colours and shapes.

Finally, on the side of Italian manufacturers, foreign buyers increasingly appreciate and seek out locally made products with an attention to the smallest details, which is seen as added value.


Written by Charlotte Médot
Rewritten in english by Joy McCain