WMido - Milano Eyewear Show - February 3-5 - 2024

Waiting for MIDO 2023: we meet Giovanni Vitaloni.

January 30 2023

MIDO, the largest international eyewear show, will return to Fieramilano Rho next weekend. This year will offer an edition that is more than ever focused on internationalism and sustainability, during which all industry stakeholders can firstly strike up business agreements and do some networking, but also have exclusive previews from the entire industry. The role of the Milan event, however, stretches beyond the purely commercial aspect because MIDO represents for everyone an unmissable opportunity for discussion, reflection, education, exchange and sharing of ideas, designed and aimed at opticians from all over the world.

Looking forward to meeting in person at the event from Saturday, Feb. 4 to Monday, Feb. 6, we conclude our series of interviews with the president of MIDO: Giovanni Vitaloni.

This year, MIDO is back at the original halls of Fiera Milano Rho, with the addition of Hall 6: could you take us on a “tour” of the fair?

Exactly, this year we have added another hall to respond to the high demand from exhibitors: it is an important message for a strongly international event such as MIDO, which confirms the presence of company leaders in the sector, the debut of up-and-coming young talents, and the return of Asian brands.

The event will again take up its “traditional” position on the east side in buildings 1 and 3, 2 and 4, 6 and 10. There are 8 exhibition areas: the Fashion District, which will host the most prestigious fashion brands and house-brands that have made a lasting mark in eyewear history; the Design area, dedicated to creative talents and visionaries, devoted to the most incredible experimentation; Lenses, for ophthalmic lenses; Design Tech, where extreme attention to detail of the product combines with fluidity of forms and the very latest innovations in terms of materials; the FAiR East, which will welcome back the Asian exhibitors; Tech, a global exhibition space dedicated to equipment/machinery, raw materials and parts; Academy, reserved to companies which focus on designers and their creativity, selected by a special committee of experts in a dedicated area with a fresh and non-conformist atmosphere. Finally, there is Start Up, an area that welcomes new players within an eco-sustainable set-up created with environment-friendly materials. Another space will be dedicated to new up-and-coming brands, promoted by MIDO and Agenzia Ice (Italian Trade Agency), which will present the showcases of start-ups selected by the Agency.

If you had to position MIDO on the supply chain, where would you locate it? What is its role in the international arena?

MIDO represents the eyewear industry: the sector, supply chain, companies, and opticians. For over 50 years, it has offered an invaluable opportunity to compare ideas, projects, predictions for the future, and strike business deals. It maximises business opportunities, offering prestige and a boost to product sectors.

Also on an international scale, it plays a vital role: we have worked to attract exhibitors and opticians, buyers, ophthalmologists, journalists, influencers, students and stakeholders from all over the world, thanks also to the assistance of the Agenzia ICE.

The Covid-19 pandemic taught us how important personal relationships and face-to-face meetings are: from this perspective, MIDO is essential for business. The fact that the dates are again in February this year means that buyers and opticians can wind up business and launch new business partnerships promptly, in alignment with seasonal deadlines.

What will be the key words of this edition?

MIDO 2023 sets out (with the claim of the new communication campaign, FRAMES) to underline the virtues and values that have always marked this event: innovation and tradition, aesthetic beauty and transformation, internationalism and memorability, amazement, and pragmatism. It’s a truly intercultural and inclusive event, based on fusion and colours. Not only this, but these concepts are also flanked by two keywords: sustainability and support for female empowerment.

Sustainability: the recycling of materials, reduction of consumption in the production and distribution cycles, the enhancement of the supply chain, elimination of waste, the level of recyclability, and the use of renewable energy sources are all vital goals for us. To this end, we are working on various fronts: at MIDO 2023 the CSE Award (Certified Sustainable Eyewear) will be presented, assessing the sustainability of the eyewear industry on an international level. We will also see the second edition of Stand Up for Green, the award given to the most eco-friendly stand in terms of environmental impact and use of materials.

Women’s empowerment: with the project Empowering Optical Women Leadership, we wish to support women in the eyewear industry on their path to leadership, both in Italy and abroad. Today, the sector features a strong female presence (60%) but it is still lagging behind in terms of women in management roles (women managers 22%).

Which MIDO appointments are not-to-be-missed?

As we were saying earlier, Saturday 4 February, at 10.30, there will be the presentation of Empowering Optical Women Leadership: the discussion will also focus on the Observatory of gender balance in leadership regarding the eyewear industry, summarising the guidelines for a pilot training project on women’s empowerment and promotion of an inclusive workplace culture. But MIDO 2023 will also have a packed calendar of meetings, appointments, workshops, and seminars aimed at professionals, taking place at the OTTICLUB, in Hall 3.

The new initiatives include the series of “HOW TO” meetings, involving talks on routine activity related to the everyday work of optical centres: practical content on issues such as style consultancy, renovation of stores, marketing and communication, events as a means of communication, etc.

Another innovation comes in the shape of the Book@MIDO appointments: the presentation of six books that illustrate different professional fields in the eyewear industry.

I must remind you also that on Sunday 5th at 2pm in the Fashion District square, you can attend the ceremony for the most important MIDO awards: we are talking about the BeStore Award, which rewards the optical centres that stand out for their design, shopping experience and customer service; the Stand Up for Green eco-award; and, for the first time, the CSE Award. Then, there are also lots of other unmissable surprises, but we’ll not tell you too much... you can discover them all at the fair!

Will there be new companies participating?

Absolutely! They come from all over the world and we are delighted to welcome them and provide the stage for their debut. There will also be leading companies coming back and the return of the Asian companies. For us, this is a really important message: we will have exhibitors from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, India, Malaysia and Thailand, not to mention the established and constant presence of exhibitors from Europe - France, Germany, and Spain in particular - the USA and the UK.

MIDO is not only a physical fair, it also reaches its stakeholders on a digital level: which tools will you be using this year?

One of the distinctive features of the Milan eyewear show is the dialogue with the public, a relationship that we are committed to building and consolidating throughout the entire year. And to do so, our presence online is fundamental; on the MIDO website as well as the social networks of Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube, which we follow and update constantly.

The App is already available, designed to monitor all updates on the event in real time, and to guide visitors around the fair.

Finally, again for 2023 we wish to allow visitors and exhibitors to be at the heart of MIDO’s social communication, the protagonists of an event created and curated specially for them: thus, the digital platform remains active, a virtual community designed to respond to the needs of professionals during the pandemic and now the site of interaction, events and updates on the global eyewear industry.

What is your message to hesitant visitors? Why should they attend MIDO?

Because MIDO is the eyewear world.

All those who visit the fair each year know that this is the only place where they can find representation of every stage of the supply chain: producers of lenses and machinery/equipment, from large-scale international producers of frames to start-ups and independent designers. Also, it’s an event that offers continual and unusual surprises, unmissable shows.

Thus, MIDO is not only an essential opportunity for meetings, exchange of ideas and learning, but also a unique chance to see up-close the industry evolution, creative experimentation, and innovation. To experience those unique vibes that can only be perceived at MIDO. To “see” the future, with your own eyes.

Describing it is impossible, it has to be experienced. We look forward to seeing you!
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WMido – World Weekly Wonder – is the editorial project of MIDO, the world's leading international Optics, Optometry, Ophthalmology exhibition. WMido is designed to give timely, comprehensive eyewear-related news, with a keen eye on the parallel worlds of fashion and design. The latest news, in-depth reports, interviews, and comments so that readers will not miss out on anything and can stay connected with the business world and the market.