Designers at Olympic Eyewear in Salt Lake City, Utah are always thinking two or three steps ahead. They have to. They are working on designs that will not be released for at least several months. They have to anticipate what will be hot in the future so that they produce sunglasses people will want.
It turns out there are many different things that influence eyewear trends. Whether you are talking designer sunglasses or prescription frames, trends are changing all the time. If you follow the fashion news, you know that trends tend to cycle with the seasons. Eyewear retailers know this all too well. They are already seeing summer styles wane while autumn styles pick up steam.
So what actually influences eyewear trends? Here are the top five factors:
1. Eyewear Designers
Though the industry might never admit it, eyewear designers actually drive trends. They need to keep designing new models in order to earn a living, right? So any designer worth his or her salt will always be working on something new. That something new will be released whether there is a demand for it or not. In that sense, designers also create a demand where none previously existed.
2. The Fashion Industry
Though eyewear is considered part of the fashion industry, the broader industry itself also helps to influence eyewear trends. If industry gurus say a particular trend will be in style next spring, designers will start working on their spring line with that in mind.
Also remember that what appears on the runway doesn’t necessarily make it to retail stores for weeks or months. So eyewear designers pay attention to all of the best fashion shows. What they see on the runway influences what they design on paper.
3. Celebrity Choices
It’s not uncommon for eyewear designers to depend on celebrities to push their new styles. And why not? It is an amazingly effective strategy. Those of us not successful enough to be celebrities have a habit of latching on to whatever our favorites do. If a popular model or singer sports a brand-new pair of sunglasses that aren’t ready for the retail market, that celebrity might actually create a market.
You see this phenomenon all the time. Think of any famous supermodel who always seems to land in the news. The minute she shows up wearing a brand-new pair of sunglasses no one has ever seen before, all of her fans want to know what they are and where they can be purchased.
4. Pop Culture
Pop culture influences a lot of what we do as Americans. It certainly influences eyewear trends. Everything from films to TV programs and popular music influences what people think about their sunglasses. From John Lennon’s circular frames to the oversized rectangles worn by Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator, we take our cues from the pop culture we are exposed to.
Finally, economics can drive eyewear trends simply by forcing producers to pay attention to what customers can afford. In times of economic downturn, new eyewear designs tend to be a lot more reserved. Prices also tend to be lower. The opposite is also true. As the economy strengthens, prescription frames and sunglasses alike start looking bolder and costing more.
As you can see, there are many things that influence eyewear trends. Designers always have to be a step or two ahead to identify what is coming. Get it right and they stand to sell a lot of sunglasses to a lot of happy customers. Get it wrong and there could be plenty of inventory left over.