Statement of intent

If you went to Mido last weekend, or Opti in Munich last month, you may have come across an eyewear brand named Polette. Instead of using the events to show off new collections, Polette decided to make a political statement.

Simply put, the statement was ‘fuck the optical industry,’ spraypainted on the white boards of its shell scheme stand, which contained nothing more than a bed and some frames strewn all over the floor.

Polette isn’t a new brand. It was founded in 2011 as an online eyewear retailer, which like so many other online eyewear retailers, made the move into bricks and mortar. The company has ‘connected showrooms’ in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Mexico, China and even one right here in the UK. Products aren’t sold in the stores.

So what’s Polette’s beef with the optical industry? Price was the biggest bone of contention in the early days, after the founders, Pauline Cousseau and Pierre Wizman, discovered the ‘true’ cost of manufacturing glasses in China. Sustainability has been

another area where Polette has, quite rightly, highlighted some of the optical industry’s shortcomings. It has also transcended the industry to work with charities to raise awareness and funds for charities that fight against female genital mutilation. Truth be told, I quite like Polette’s intent.

Sadly, the rallying cry against the optical industry has fallen quite short, in my view. I don’t doubt it’ll care not about what I think, but making statements like ‘glasses are just glasses’ and ‘fuck the optical industry’ at a trade show smacks of not being able to read the room.

I fully appreciate that I’m doing the PR for Polette by bringing the issue to people’s attention, but attitudes such as this carry a very real risk of wrongly cultivating suspicion and mistrust around eye health matters, which cannot be collateral damage in an argument over cost.



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Optician is the weekly, paid-for information source for optometrists, dispensing opticians and the optical industr y. For 132 years Optician has been the independent voice for eye care professionals, students and business owners offering breaking news, analysis and education. In print and online, Optician provides an array of clinical, business and technology ar ticles, comprehensive CPD coverage along

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9 Februar y 2024 OPTICIAN 3