‘Milan’ is the top fashion buzzword for 2015, according to the Global Language Monitor. So it’s fitting that Milan is also home to the annual Mido eyewear exhibition, which ranks high among the world’s pre-eminent optical shows.
The 45th annual Mido, which ran from February 28 to March 2, drew record attendance of more than 49,000 visitors, 56 per cent of them — including some 300 Canadians — from outside Italy. The 8.7 per cent increase over 2014’s numbers is “extraordinary, especially considering the economic uncertainty that still affects some countries,” according to show organizers.
Mido President Cirillo Marcolin said the new communication campaign, new logo, pavilions located closer to the subway, and the revamped and more streamlined layout all made for a considerably larger exhibition space and more exhibitors (150 new companies).
Added Vice President Giovanni Vitaloni: “Attendees took advantage of the more visitor friendly layout to visit all the theme areas: Fashion District, Lenses and the FAiR East Pavilion (the exclusive showcase for Asian manufacturers).”
One major highlight was the new LabAcademy theme area within Mido Design Lab, which was reserved for exciting young designers who were first-time Mido participants.
“It’s an incubator of ideas, reserved for a careful selection of emerging creative talents and fresh, original brands that experiment with new outside the box concepts.”
Otticlub, a multi-function area for seminars, conferences, courses and educational meetings, attracted keen audiences, “which is another sign of the dynamic atmosphere pervading the industry,” added Marcolin.
The show also saw the debut of Bestore, an international award for the store that ensured its customers the best shopping experience in terms of creativity, innovation and ambience. The inaugural honours were awarded to the Leidmann store of Munich. The Bestand award for the most attractive and communicative stand, went to Italy’s Blackfin (see designer story on page 22 of this issue).
Mido’s importance has been recognized by Italy’s Ministry of Economic Development, which includes the exhibition in its special Made in Italy promotion program. The ministry organized a special event to which international buyers and journalists were invited.
Among them was Richard Stortini, president of Montreal-based Prisme Optical Group, one of four Canadian companies that exhibited at Mido. “We used the opportunity to meet with eyewear manufacturers,” he notes. “Mido is a great place to get together with our suppliers, see new products and make purchases.”
WestGroupe President Michael Suliteanu liked the exhibition’s move to a new pavilion. “Our booth was busy and we made a lot of new contacts compared to previous years.”
Mido is a key show for WestGroupe in terms of building its international distribution network, said Suliteanu. “Our brands continue to grow and we’ve added an international export sales manager based in Italy. That should further strengthen our international growth, particularly in Europe.”
In terms of trends, Beverly Suliteanu, WestGroupe’s vice-president of marketing and product development, noticed the continued strength of the retro or vintage look. “Acetate was still strong, but in a more refined and thinner profile,” she said. “We also saw more metal and a wide array of finishes and colours. Round and P3 were definitely the key shapes in Europe.”
Plans are already under way for next year’s Mido, which will be held from February 27 to 29, 2016, said Marcolin.