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OPTI LOGO380x110 2017 160604 05

The Vintage Fascination
"Vintage Passion" - this is the name of the new opti area. In hall C1 (!HOT area) you can find classics in the spotlight which transmit a certain zeitgeist since originals are still in high demand. The annual reunion of collectors from Europe, admirers, opticians and designers is accompanied by the daily talks at the opti forum, such as the daily vintage-summit or the daily "design icon meets design rookie" talk. But what does vintage actually mean? Which effects does this trend have on opticians and the industry? And why does retro make people happy? A design expert, a social psychologist and a designer answer these questions.

If you type in the terms "vintage + spectacle" in Google, the search engine displays over 719,000 hits. But what does the term vintage actually mean? Someone who should know is the design icon Robert La Roche: "Vintage means a good year of manufacture. Glasses that deserve this name are originals from the fifties onwards," he explains. "During their time, they provoked discussion and now represent an era. They are assuredly unworn and come from old stock of manufacturers or opticians." The original La Roche frames from 1973 to 1999 have by now achieved cult status because of their shapes, materials and the "attention to detail." Robert La Roche's still well-stocked archive in Vienna is an access point for fans of the originals. He revolutionized the eyeglass industry with his design and the accordingly adapted advertisement. At the opti forum, La Roche will talk with design newcomers about his passion for great eyewear design, which has remained alive until today. On Sunday, 29 January 2017 at 3.20 p.m. he will be a guest of the talk "design icon meets design rookie."

Vintage frames are especially attractive for frame designers of the next generation. Amongst others, the "Pantheon of frames" can be experienced on the area "Vintage Passion" in the opti hall C1 (!HOT area) from 28 to 30 January 2017 thanks to collectors like e.g. Alexander Dosiehn, Gregor Veuilleumier, Sigi Schlögl, Lee Yule and Christian Metzler - for Sandra Battistel, for example, this is an absolute source of inspiration for the draft, design and production process. The native Italian, who has a design office in London and works for different labels, pursues the following philosophy: "A lot of vintage retailers appeal to people who want to recreate an almost exact look from a particular era; I wanted to do away with nostalgia."
In the meantime, the demand for vintage frames is so large that a vintage fake market of alleged eyewear classics is flourishing. Robert La Roche explains how consumers can protect themselves against copies or remakes of the original: "If you buy vintage models nowadays, you should be careful. More and more newly made, cheaply produced glasses are sold as vintage. Opticians and customers can detect this through the frame imprint "CE," for example, which was only introduced in the nineties. Frames with such a labelling are simply a copy."

Besides the negative side effects of the vintage hysteria, people unconditionally love the designs of Browline, Cateye or Panto glasses. As retro seems to make the customers happy, opticians can take an unforgettable souvenir back home: at "Vintage Passion," they can have some photos taken with a variety of frame classics. But why do retro products provoke moments of happiness in people? "People love products from the "good old days" because they evoke old images, stand for old values and attitudes and also activate memories of role models of their own childhood and adolescence," explains the certified psychologist Albert Schnabel from the Ludwig-Maximilian-University (Munich). "It is somehow mystical that adults prefer old over new products in spite of a rational valuation, assessment and evaluation. If these moods are cleverly activated through advertisement or media, we are enthusiastic about these products because they touch us consumers, partly enthrall, captivate us and often unconsciously remind us of images, memories, encounters, feelings and qualities that are positively charged."

Yet, not only eyeglass wearers succumb to the fascination of frame classics, but also designers like Battistel. When she was asked for the reason, she had a simple answer: "I remember my old boss in Italy had a small chest of drawers, in the office, with the most incredible antique glasses and I used to spend a lot of time just looking at the details on some of them. This is how I learned about the finesse of well crafted details. So yes, as an eyewear designer I always loved vintage frames."

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