Here are a few pics of our trip to Silmo at the end of September. There was plenty to see at the exhibition halls, a lot to take in. For Bryden Opticians, it was interesting to be there and experience the French culture and attitude to sight and eye wear, as well as spotting new trends and innovative products.
I think the one product that we loved the most for it’s innovation and uniqueness was Herrlicht. Truly stunning handmade wooden frames, surprisingly light but not so surprisingly a bit too expensive for us. The man who crafts each pair of frames was there in a small unassuming stand. We were definitely charmed by the quality of the product and the love and care that goes into his work.
We were also inspired by some of the business people and entrepreneurs who have started their own businesses and are trying to grow even though the economic climate is so shaky.
Silmo 2011 was fun and informative, however it was an eye opener in other ways. We found some aspects of the exhibition a bit silly…such as one stand (unnamed here haha) being closed off with bodyguards at the door and you had to make an appointment to be allowed in to view the products…a little too pretentious for our taste. Needless to say, we didn’t bother making an appointment. All part of the spectacle that is Silmo I suppose!
Later that evening, we were in a cool bar called Schmuck (on rue de conde) and made friends with the barman, Julien. We asked him why there seemed to be about seven opticians on every street in Paris. He explained how the health system was different there, those opticians being mainly only retail outlets and people were encouraged to buy new glasses every year. One big reason is that the French see eyewear as a fashion accessory. Very different to the ‘specky four eyes’ stigma that remains here in Northern Ireland. The people that we saw on the streets, on the trains, in the cafes and restaurants wore very trendy but classic frames and it looked effortlessly stylish.
Overall, the time spent in the beautiful city of Paris was fabulous. We have been before but it was only during this short visit that Paris and the French people seduced us into wanting to return again soon.