Mumbai: Rajnikant in his latest Tamil flick ‘Sivaji´ sports a stylish pair of sunglasses, Amitabh Bacchchan plays a bespectacled 64-year-old super chef in ‘Cheeni Kum´, and the majority cast of ‘Metro’ - Irfaan Khan, Kangana Ranaut and Konkona Sen Sharma sport zero power spectacles, that seem to lend substance to the character they are playing.
“Seventy-five per cent people do not follow the optical store salesman’s suggestion on their choice of eyewear any more. They are influenced by movies, magazines, newspapers and catalogues. Market trends keep fluctuating and things are quite different from what they used to be a few years ago when a single trend could well dominate for seasons at end,” says Tarun Sachdeva, of Eye Essentials, which deals in vision correcting aids, spectacle frames and eye accessories.
With an increasing number of actors, celebrities and socialites sporting glasses on screen, the common man is following suit and becoming choosy about the frames and quality of glasses he wears. From a necessity item it has become a preferred option.
Multicoloured and broad sized frames are the latest trend with sunglasses and frames available for anywhere between Rs 1,000 and Rs 60,000,” says Lalit Kalra, Director, Dayal Opticals.
With increasing brand consciousness people are aware of the varieties of frames and sunglasses available. “They have fixed ideas about the type of look they want to sport and to that extent their eyewear plays a big role,” says Manoj Soni, Laurence and Mayo, Connaught Place.
According to Soni, “Earlier people might have been vaguely aware of some sunglass brands but nowadays due to huge advertisments in the media there is a growing awareness in the market about the wide variety of choice available to them.”
He says, “While customers may demand specific brands for frames, awareness about lenses is still inadequate.” Vogue Prada, Versace, Bovigare, Gucci are the most popular brands. The latest trend is that of titanium metal because it is flexible and strong and almost impossible to break,” he says.
A pair by Cartier worn by Big B in a recent film has been estimated to cost Rs1.5 lakh. However most designer lenses are made of polycarbonate material and the popular selling brands include Essilor and Kodak.
There is no Indian manufacturer for frames and sunglasses in the designer segment and most of the leading brands are imported from European countries. Basically designers set the trend in the market and good designs are copied by the Chinese and Korean companies.
Women who want to sport branded eyewear, usually opt for Dior, YSL, Max Marra and Gucci while men generally prefer Hugo Boss, Armani and Mont Blanc.
Along with bigger brands, cheaper varieties mostly made in China are also available in the market. “For example in Jaipur cheap sunglasses sell for as low as Rs 35, but these can cause damage to the retina” says Prageet Nadar, Director C NJ Lifestyle, and supplier of sun glasses in Delhi.
In spectacle lenses Essilor has always been a leading player with brands like Roden Stok Zeiss, Nikon, Seiko, Corning and Hoya gradually inching up on the popularity charts. Among frames a Japanese brand Sharmant is quite popular. In the sports line wear, Oakley, Puma, Reebok and Adidas all bring out frames. in price ranges above Rs 6,000. Speedo and Carerra are names that cater to the middle range segment. Benetton will soon enter the market targetting the young brigade.
Clearly, eyewear is the next big thing on fashion street.