Sunglasses go hi-def with easy-swap lenses

Changing the way we see the world is a top innovation driver for next season’s eyewear, as brands focus on lenses and how consumers swap them out.
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Throughout the next month, SNEWS will recap its coverage of Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2013 with select stories from the O.R. Daily we published at the show July 31 – Aug. 3. It’s an opportunity for you to catch up on stories you might have missed in O.R.D., and for us to update and upload the articles to our searchable archives.

Changing the way we see the world is a top innovation driver for next season’s eyewear, as brands focus on lenses and how consumers swap them out.

Smith Optics unveils its ChromaPop color-optimizing lenses designed to increase color clarity and improve function in low light.

“It eliminates color confusion for the brain, so your brain’s recognizing true color faster,” said Cassie Abel, communications manager at Smith Optics. “You’ve got high definition in the greens — so you’re actually seeing individual blades of grass — and reds and pinks and oranges, and you’re seeing them in their true colors, not in a dulled-down version through your sunglasses.”

The lenses, available in six models (MSRPs $219-$259) are as clear as glass, Abel said, but with plastic’s lightweight and impact-resistant benefits, an upgrade to Smith’s current premium lens, which was made with Techlite glass. The lens, which will be made with the polarization at the front, also shows potential for prescription sunglass wearers, who often see the true color of a lens diminished as the layers are shaved away to match a prescription.

Tifosi Optics, Inc. introduces a new lens collection. The Clarion (MSRPs $70-$80) focuses on consistent color to eliminate lens distortion, while sharpening contrast by filtering more blue light. Lenses are available in interchangeable blue, purple and red colors.

Eyewear companies are taking a closer look at the mechanisms for swapping out lenses, responding to customer complaints ranging from confusion to a concern about breaking the frames for existing systems.

“It’s not simple, and we go back to have simple,” said Gregory Niver, brand manager for Optic Nerve It’s debuting an interchangeable lens technology called Sideswipe, initially in two styles — one for the bike/run market (MSRP $109) and a polarized version aimed at the outdoor snow and fishing market (MSRP $129). “It’s a little lever that you can swipe over to the side and the lens releases,” Niver said. “As opposed to trying to rip the lens out, you’re moving a lever.”

Eyewear_OpticNerve_Elixer

Switch Vision launches a magnetic interchange lens system that uses rare earth magnets to hold lenses in place, but allows for easy switching between polarized lenses for bright light and non-polarized, rose-tinted lenses for low light (MSRPs $139-$149).

Smith’s Pivlock lenses are swapped using a hinge at the temple. The brand is adding a fully rimmed glass to the Pivlock family — the Pivlock Overdrive (MSRP $259).

Eyewear_Smith_Overdrive

Showgoers will see brands responding to an increasing number of female sunglass consumers. After finding its No. 1 sellers at key accounts to be the female styles, but with 80 percent of its line devoted to male or unisex styles, Optic Nerve expands from four to 10 styles for women. Of the four new frames Kaenon adds for next summer, two are for women, the classic Maya (MSRP $229) and the sporty Madison (MSRP $229). Julbo adds two female-specific models — in addition to new youth-focused eyewear and the Tensing Flight (MSRP $170), made specifically with base jumpers and paragliders in mind.

Eyewear_Kaenon_Maya
Eyewear_Julbo_TensingFlight

--Elizabeth Miller

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