THE FRENCH CONNECTION

As if Tiger hadn’t spent enough time these last few weeks in and out of the cat hotel, I once again coaxed him into the carrier case with some of his treats and dropped him off again like the terrible cat dad I am. This time I was picking up Nareece and we headed to Manchester airport to get ourselves to SILMO, the eyewear show held in Paris. It’s one of those trade fairs we like to attend to see whats happening right now in the eyewear world and see what the possibilities are for the future. It ensures that we only stock the very best for you because if it isn’t at these shows then it probably doesn’t exist. 

We landed in a rain cloud at Charles De Gaulle and stood for what seemed like an age waiting for our bags to come round on the conveyor-belt before realising that there were actually other flights from Manchester to Paris. We turned round to see our bags on their own merrily doing the rounds on the one behind us. 

We holed up in this rather basic “hotel” where you have to pay extra if you want a towel. There comes a time in life when you know you’re worth these luxuries. I went all in and we got a towel each! While it’s a shame not to see all the famous Parisian landmarks, the good thing about being here was that it was on the CDG campus and there was a free shuttle every day to and from the Expo via the airport. 

We had a few appointments booked with various people but in between them we had chance to just have a look at all the weird and wonderful spectacle frames being displayed. There were companies from all over the world and it was good to catch up with the ones we’d met before at other shows. Every now and again if there was something I thought could be interesting I did a FaceBook Live stream so I could share it with you on our FaceBook page. There were also a lot of different pictures of the show that we put up on Instagram too for you to see what we were looking at. 

We caught up with François the Spanish windsurfer who started a revolution in dragging plastic out of the sea and turning it into sunglasses. We met him about 2 years ago in Milan and took Sea2See on as a range and its going 

very well. The new styles are even better this year so we took quite a few of them. It’s amazing how he’s managed to forge links with all the fishermen and also persuade them not to just dump their old nets in the sea but to exchange them for free sunglasses instead! It’s always good to do business with a fellow wind junkie too. 

Next was our appointment with Vinylize. They’re the guys from Budapest who make glasses out of vinyl records. Again, there were a lot of new styles and we topped up our collection with them. They’re all handmade using old school 5 barrel hinges with proper rivets like in the good old days! They are still doing limited editions of AC/DC records so if that strikes a chord come and see them in the flesh at the boutique. 

I was excited to see what Lindberg had to offer this time and I wasn’t disappointed. You can’t just wander onto the stand with these folk… it always feels very exclusive when they let us past the “armed guards” on the door. Obviously Nareece being the Lindberg queen did most of the choosing on this season’s collection. There are some great pieces and she picked for Halifax, Lindley and the boutique in the Piece Hall and it is definitely going  to be worth a visit to see them. This year as an add-on they had a special “walk through Henrik Lindberg’s head experience” (I filmed it for FB). It was very entertaining and made me think of him as the Willy Wonka of the eyewear world! He was there serving drinks to clients at the Lindberg bar. 

It’s always a pleasure to see Bruno from Theo and not just because it was our last official appointment of the day meaning that we could take him up on his kind offer of a couple of cold beers. They always try and up their game each year with frame design and colour and it was again evident this time in Paris. After some persuasion he agreed to let me do another Facebook Live with him and he talked us through the new collection so you can view this on our page. We picked the pieces to add to our collection and stayed for a chat before leaving around 8ish. They are long days of eyewear sensory overload but I feel it’s absolutely necessary if we are offering you the very best in every category of what we do. 

As you’d expect, it costs us a lot more to stock the best quality collections and I’m really aware that if you do then you also pay more too. We won’t compromise on only dealing with the best and we’d like as many of you as possible to enjoy eyewear the way we do it. We would like to help if we can by offering an easy payments interest free option so that the glasses you deserve become affordable and you can enjoy quality eyewear from the moment you need it. Talk to us if you feel this would be useful to you.