MIDO: a look inside the 2024 edition
As the MIDO eyewear show prepares for its 2024 edition, 20/20 Europe gets the inside scoop into what is to come from president Giovanni Vitaloni. As sustainability continues to take centre stage, we discuss the CSE Award, anticipated trends, networking opportunities and MIDO’s broader contributions to the growth and development of the eyewear industry.
Q: Is there a specific theme or focus for MIDO 2024, and how does this theme align with current trends in the eyewear industry?
A: An international event such as MIDO, the leader in the eyewear sector, must always be one step ahead and offer its visitors, opticians, buyers, distributors and journalists – not only the novelties of the present, but also anticipate the times and know how to read and interpret future developments. Of course, the trend of all industries goes in the direction of a great attention to the environment and it is with the focus of sustainability in mind that MIDO has chosen to be not only an essential exhibition for all professionals, but also an opportunity for exchange reflection and comparison on the future, of fashion, technology, production, and its link with the eyewear sector.
It is precisely at MIDO 2024 that the Certified Sustainable Eyewear certification programme will be presented, which makes it possible to certify the sustainable process behind each individual design and product. It is a tool designed for all companies that care about ethics and transparency in their products and supply chain.
Q: How diverse is the range of exhibitors at MIDO 2024, and are there any notable newcomers or industry leaders participating?
A: Only at MIDO you can find the entire supply chain: it is the only trade show in the world able to gather the whole sector: from lenses to machinery, from frames to cases, from materials to technologies, from furniture to components. The range can only be diverse! And yes, we have new entries, some big players that missed one or two of the last editions that will be with us again and we don’t have to forget a comeback of exhibitors from the Far East, who were not able to attend in the past years.
Q: What trends or new developments in eyewear design and technology are anticipated to be unveiled at the fair?
A: Mido, the most international eyewear exhibition, has consistently ridden, and often anticipated, the wave of new trends, and of course, advanced technology and AI have played a major role in the recent years’ developments. As a matter of fact, MIDO has launched its new worldwide communication campaign: “SPHERES: THE EYEWEAR UNIVERSE”. It is the first trade show campaign to be developed with a technology that is a combination of human creativity and Artificial Intelligence. Advanced technologies are in our lives and they are a huge trend: augmented reality, virtual reality, metaverse, NFT, blockchain and, for some time now, artificial intelligence. Also eyewear has been affected, of course.
I would not be surprised if, walking in the next MIDO’s pavilions, if I came across smart glasses, which incorporate technology to overlay digital information onto the wearer’s field of view, enhancing the experience and providing useful data without using hands; 3D-printed eyewear, which allows for more personalized and customizable eyewear designs, offering consumers unique options to fit their individual styles and facial features; virtual Try-On, online shopping for eyewear was becoming more interactive during covid months, and with the adoption of this tool, easier; wearable health tech, which integrates sensors and monitors capabilities into glasses frames to track various health metrics, such as heart rate, blood pressure, and activity levels, providing wearers with valuable health insights and lightweight and high-tech materials. Advancements in materials science resulted in the development of lightweight and durable materials for eyewear. These materials, such as memory metals and high-tech plastics, offered improved comfort and flexibility for wearers.
Q: Is the early February slot now a fixture for the MIDO fair for future years? Why is this the “perfect timing”?
A: The choice of May was an exception in 2022, due to the need to adapt to the post Covid situation, but MIDO takes place in February for many years now. Dates for the next 8 years were fixed in 2018, until 2026: Feb 3-5 in 2024, Feb 8-10 in 2025, Feb 7-9 in 2026. We consider the beginning of February the best time to present the new collections to buyers and opticians with respect to seasonality. Companies confirm this every year, visitors too.
Q: Can you share information about the international participation at MIDO 2024, and how the event caters to a global audience?
A: In 2024 we expect more than 1,100 exhibitors, most of them international. If we compare 2023 data, of the more than 1,000 exhibitors representing the entire supply chain – from machinery to lenses, along with frame manufacturers, and from the industry’s top name brands to young independent designers – 72% were international and 28% from Italy. Among the overseas exhibitors, 51% were from Europe, 42% from Asia and 7% from the rest of the world. Attendance in 2023 peaked at 35,000 industry professionals; 80% of them from Europe and 20% from the rest of the world. That was a 60% increase over 2022 visitor numbers. Also on the rise, Italian visitors made up 53% of the total. For 2024, we hope to overcome these numbers. The data, both for visitors and participation by industry professionals, confirmed the unmistakable global reach of the show.
Q: What networking opportunities are available for industry professionals attending MIDO 2024, and how does the event facilitate collaboration and partnerships?
A: Networking opportunities at such events are crucial for industry professionals to build connections, explore collaborations, and stay updated on the latest trends and technologies. They are the fundamentals of a tradeshow and MIDO mixes many factors to facilitate collaboration and partnerships. I am thinking about the squares in the pavilions, real points of aggregation, and a solid hub for networking. People can compare in the area created for the MIDO events, OTTICLUB, participating in conferences, workshops, seminars to gain valuable insights from industry experts. In addition, the digital platform will be available for all exhibitors and registered visitors starting from January. They can join a business matchmaking program that will connect attendees based on their interests, facilitating targeted meeting and collaboration.
Q: Could you elaborate on the specific initiatives or programs MIDO has implemented to encourage sustainable practices and innovation among its exhibitors and participants?
A: In terms of environmental protection, MIDO intends to further improve the sustainability of its set-up, favouring eco-friendly and recyclable materials, further reducing the use of paper, and cutting down on food waste. Great attention is also paid to initiatives aimed at reducing the environmental impact related to mobility by promoting the use of public transport. For example, there are free connections to and from Milano Malpensa Airport and to and from the city centre and free trains from the main Italian cities for opticians who choose to reach MIDO by public transport. In addition, MIDO is dedicating two awards to promote sustainability: the Certified Sustainable Eyewear (CSE) Award, to which all MIDO exhibitors can apply within December 15 by nominating a sunglass, frame or case, and the Stand Up For Green award, which recognizes the most sustainable stand and for which entries will close on January 15. All the info on our brand new website, mido.com. With the Code of Conduct, moreover, MIDO sanctions principles of loyalty, transparency, fairness and respect in its relations with collaborators and in the management of the organization, placing particular emphasis on the importance of safeguarding natural resources, optimizing energy resources and improving internal processes.
Q: Can you share the inspiration behind launching the Certified Sustainable Eyewear (CSE) Award? How do you believe the CSE Award contributes to driving positive change within the eyewear industry in terms of sustainability?
A: The CSE process can now be an important tool for environmentally conscious companies to show transparently what processes are behind their respective products and how sustainable they are. Is the supply chain clean? What is the carbon footprint of a product? These are the kinds of questions we first asked with our 2023 Award. And now, after a year of further development, it has become a real sustainability program that will be introduced at MIDO 2024, reinforced by the awards. With these awards, we want to create an attractive incentive to work on ecological and social sustainability. After all, anyone who wants to apply for the CSE Award MUST optimize and document their activities in ecological terms. All MIDO exhibitors can apply to participate in the Certified Sustainable Eyewear (CSE) Award, created by MIDO in partnership with ANFAO and Certottica, that assesses sustainability in the eyewear industry at an international level, by completing the online form available in the dedicated ‘awards’ section of the website https://www.mido.com/en/. Recycled materials, reduced consumption in the production and distribution processes, maximization of the supply chain, elimination of waste, degree of recyclability, use of renewable resources and any certifications already achieved, are some of the criteria the jury will use to determine the winners of the award’s 2nd edition. Winners will be announced during MIDO, February 3 – 5 at Fiera Milano Rho. The award is divided into six categories: CSE Award Sunglasses Europe, CSE Award Sunglasses Rest of the World, CSE Award Frames Europe, CSE Award Frames Rest of the World, CSE Award Cases Europe and CSE Award Cases Rest of the World.
Q: In your view, how does MIDO contribute to the growth and development of the eyewear industry, and what impact do you anticipate from this year’s edition?
A: MIDO is essential to the growth of the sector: it is the place to be, it’s where things happen. It provides a platform for eyewear manufacturers and designers to showcase their latest products, innovations, and technologies. This exposure helps the industry stay at the forefront of fashion trends and technological advancements. It brings together professionals from various sectors, including manufacturers, designers, retailers, and distributors. The networking opportunities at such events facilitate collaboration, partnerships, and the exchange of ideas. This can lead to the development of new products and business ventures. It offers panel discussions where experts share insights into market trends, consumer behaviour, and emerging technologies. Professionals attending MIDO can gain valuable knowledge that can influence strategic decision-making. It is an international event that attracts participants and exhibitors from around the world. This global exposure allows businesses to expand their reach, enter new markets, and establish international collaborations and it is the most “communicated” eyewear tradeshow in the world. The continuous relationship with the press, combined with strong digital communication, has enabled MIDO to stand out in the industry, giving great visibility to its exhibitors and increasing the curiosity of buyers and specialized operators who visit the fair each year.