Canadians Loved Silmo Paris 2014

SilmoParisBy Paddy Kamen

Creativity and high aesthetic standards were two hallmarks of the 2014 Silmo Paris trade show, according to several of the Canadian buyers and exhibitors who attended.

Marie-Sophie Dion, owner of four optical stores in Quebec known as the Eyewear Bar, is a premium eyewear buyer who appreciates “the serene ambiance of this well-organized show. The halls are spacious and well-lit, so all the booths stand out. It is a real pleasure to walk the show without being jostled and crowded. The Silmo organization has good reason to be proud of their event.”

The selection and quality at this year’s show were second to none, according to Amin Mamdani, founder and owner of Squint Eyewear in Toronto and Oakville. “Silmo is one of the top buying shows for my stores and positions itself well as a must-see venue for premium eyewear. I noticed a strong emphasis on quality and design across the board this year and was especially taken with the Anne et Valentin collection.”

Exhibitor Cendrine Obadia, designer and president of Zig Eyewear, says this year’s Silmo was a real knock out for her. “The booths were much prettier than previous years and the stock was more original. I saw a lot more creativity and beautiful colours.” She notes that sales were strong. “There was so much interest from buyers that we were sometimes overwhelmed at our booth. I also noticed more people from abroad compared to previous years.”

Another happy exhibitor was Mehran Baghaie, head designer and owner of Nanaimo, B.C.-based Spectacle Eyeworks. He says the Silmo organizers do a great job showing off the fashion and design aspects of eyewear. “The presentation was fantastic, there was a good turn out and business was excellent.” Baghaie’s only complaint is that the Silmo dates are too close to Vision Expo West (the Las Vegas show put on every autumn by The Vision Council and Reed Exhibitions). “I find it way too demanding to be at both shows and I wish the organizers of these shows would get together and coordinate the date proximity better.”

One of Silmo’s advantages is that it has a larger international gathering of European producers who are not represented in North America, notes Mel Rapp, president of Rapp Optical. The artisanal, Canadian-made designs from Toronto-based Rapp Optical are increasingly sought out by international high-end retailers. “In fact, we have been turning buyers away for the last few years because we were unable to fabricate more frames,” says Rapp. “This year marks a turning point for our company, as we will be doubling production thanks to investments in new equipment and proprietary processes.”

Silmo Paris organizers say the 2014 gathering launched more than 150 new brands. Companies from all over the world are discovered at Silmo, and as you can see from the comments above, Canadian buyers and exhibitors are more than happy with the creative energy of the show.

Mark your calendars now for the 2015 edition of Silmo Paris, September 25-28, at the Paris Villepinte Exhibition Centre.