10 Times The Thames – 100% Optical

Nuria & Miguel walk through entrance tunnel at 100% Optical 2024

The end of February brought more than an extra day to the calendar. It brought the 10th edition of 100% Optical, the U.K.’s premier optical event that has grown into a full-fledged international event. While I haven’t had the honor of participating with 100% since the beginning, I have been attending every show this decade, starting with the pre-COVID show in January 2020.

I have seen 100% Optical grow and mature into a sizeable event that rivals a number of the international optical events I have attended over the last decade. I even saw many other international visitors at this year’s event, a testament to the reputation 100% Optical has garnered over the past decade. This year almost 12,000 optical professionals passed through the entrance tunnel of 100% Optical, a solid gain of 10% from their best show ever.

inside 100% Optical 2024

100% Optical has grown into an exhibition of eyewear from companies large and small. One of the things I like best about 100% Optical is their focus on independent optical companies and they had plenty this year with such international brands as Studio Optyx, Kaleos, Roger, Blackfin, Sea2See, Etnia, Gigi Studios, Frost, Bevel, Faniel, Nina Mur, Salt, Morel, joining British brands like Kirk & Kirk, Caron, Wolf, and Bird eyewear.

Wolf Eyewear stand at 100% Optical 2024

I was lucky enough to be one of the judges for the highly competitive Love Eyewear Awards and while this photo shows myself and TEF founder, Maarten Wiedema dressing up as British judges, the fifteen eyewear icons and influencers from around the world had lots to choose from to help make the final decisions this year for everything from best frames to best stores.

Daniel Feldman & Maarten Weidema
Daniel Feldman 7 Maarten Weidema wearing judges wigs

That’s not to say that 100% Optical is just eyewear. 100% Optical has always included a full schedule of education for both optometrists and opticians across 11 different stages. Once again, I had the honor of presenting a seminar on optical retailing early Sunday morning, the 25th of February.

This year 100% Optical added an entire new section called 100% Ophthalmology that featured the latest in exam equipment from around the world. 100% Ophthalmology also featured top-quality education for Ophthalmologists throughout the 3-day exhibition.

Main Stage at 100% Optical 2024

Of course, the pièce de resistance (France is, after all, only 20 miles from the coast of England) is the Catwalk Fashion Show. When the music starts, the rest of the show stops to pay attention, partially because the music is so loud but more to the point, the Catwalk Fashion Show is so well done, featuring eyewear from every exhibitor who wishes to participate. On the big screen TVs on either side of the stage, the eyewear brands and models are exhibited while the dancers model the eyewear in well-choreographed shows that captivate and entertain, taking place several times a day throughout the 3 days of 100% Optical.

Best of all, 100% Optical takes place in London, England, where there is no shortage of things to do, places to go, food to eat, and sights to see. I had to make only a 15-minute tube ride to some of the best Dim Sum I’ve ever had and two nights later enjoyed what was without a doubt the best Indian cuisine I’ve ever enjoyed.

George Bernard Shaw once noted that Britain and the U.S. are “two nations separated by a common language. While there is the occasional word or two that have very different meanings on either side of the Atlantic, if you are looking to dip your toes into an international optical trade show where the language is not a stumbling block, then 100% Optical is well worth your time.

Join The Optical Journal for the 2025 edition of 100% Optical, taking place March 1-3 at Excel London.

 

 

 

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