The Frame Purchasing and Product Development team plays a very important role when it comes to the frames you see in our stores and the collections created exclusively for New Look. We sat down with Vice-President, Michael Tovey, who shared what he looks for when purchasing eyewear, his predictions for upcoming trends in the industry and what he believes a pair of glasses should always have.
What is your role as Vice-President of Frames and Product Development at New Look?
I wear a lot of hats at New Look- one of my key responsibilities is working with my team to review the collections from dozens of brands every year to select the styles and colours we believe will resonate with our clients. We consider ourselves curators - out of thousands of options, we hand-pick the ones that meet our needs. My team and I also create exclusive New Look collections like Avenue x Julien Couture, Caché & Madison, working with a small group of trusted experts to develop our own unique products.
What led you to work in the eyewear industry?
I started my career with Ray-Ban during my university days in merchandising and sales and I fell in love with the industry.
What are you looking for when purchasing eyewear?
We start by looking for quality – frames that not only look good but also retain their quality while being worn every day. From a style perspective, we need to make sure we have frames to flatter the faces of everybody from kids to seniors. We also keep a close eye on how frames are produced – sustainable manufacturing processes and the use of eco-responsible materials are very important to us. Within our stores we have hundreds of frames to choose from, ranging from classic styles to the hottest designer brands. We want everybody who comes into New Look to find the perfect frame for their features – something that will last for years and become a reflection of their own style.
What are your predictions for the upcoming biggest trends in the fashion eyewear industry?
Frames that are bold in shape or style, and unique in colour are definitely an ongoing trend. People want to stand out and express themselves – online and in person. We are also seeing a trend towards developing a wardrobe of frames – nothing keeps things fresh or changes your look faster than putting on a different pair of frames.
Another big trend is a renewed focus on details - even the smallest touch like interesting rivets or metal detailing on an acetate frame can have a huge impact. Frames that mix materials in interesting ways or have unique treatments on the temples are also trends to watch out for. We have incorporated interesting detail and materials in all of our newest exclusive collections – Caché, Madison and Avenue x Julien Couture. With Caché we have taken classic shapes and added interesting twists. The designs for Madison are unique shapes incorporating special details for a fresh and distinct look. And our newest collection, Avenue x Julien Couture - designed this year in partnership with local eyewear designer Julien Couture - combines iconic vintage shapes with exciting details and fresh materials. I can't think of another collection at this price point that delivers as much quality and individual style.
New Look is certified eco-responsible by the Council of Sustainable Industries. What does that mean for you and what eco-responsible actions/elements have you incorporated in your daily activities & decisions?
Sustainability has become part of how we do business and it’s always a consideration in our selection process. We work closely with our suppliers to find better ways to produce, package and ship frames. We put a priority on materials like cellulose acetate which are both beautiful and made with a lot less impact on the environment than other plastics. I'm really proud that we have brought more ecological collections like Sea2See, which is crafted from recycled ocean waste. Even in our designer collections we carefully look for sustainable options. In collections like Chloe, we have selected many frames that are made from recycled and "eco" elements and we are the exclusive supplier in Quebec of Stella McCartney frames - a stunning collection that also has sustainability as one of its core missions.
How would you describe the eyewear assortment at New Look?
Something for everyone. We want to make sure we have the perfect frame for anybody who walks into one of our stores and with our evolving technologies, like our 3D scanning app, we digitize our frame offerings, helping people quickly get to the style, shape and colour that fits their unique face (bridge designs that sit well on narrow skinny noses and others that fit wide flat ones, for example). For those who truly want to make their glasses as unique as possible, we also offer custom eyewear, tailor-made for you, by you.
The burning question, how many pairs of glasses do you own?
I would say too many - but for my team it's important that we wear the products we sell. I think of us as the first line of defence to ensure our products are not only beautiful but also very practical and durable. Picking some of the key frames from every season and wearing them daily helps us ensure that our frames stand up to being worn daily, and that we have covered every possible angle in terms of comfort and fit. My own personal collection is also a great archive that I am able to reference when we are doing product development and looking at new collections.
Describe New Look in three words…
From a frame perspective - fashion, fit and precision. We focus on having the most fashionable assortment, our in-store and lab teams make sure they fit perfectly, and we have a great team and industry leading tools that ensure complete precision in everything we do.
A pair of glasses should be more like a symphony on your face than a single instrument - it should have a bold shape and exciting colours that grabs your immediate attention, supported by great details that make the frame interesting to wear day in and day out.
The start of a new season definitely calls for a new look! Browse our new collection or book an appointment to try our virtual appointments and find your next perfectly fitted pair of glasses with the help of an optician.