INTERVIEWS

Patrick Hoet: “2013 models dictated by modernism”

The Belgian designer: "retro inspiration has had its day"

Patrick Hoet is certainly one of the most charismatic personalities in the eyewear sector. Most of all, he doesn't mince his words. For example, when you ask him what can be expected from this edition of Mido and from 2013 in general, he replies: "Our expectations for this show are very low. The local market is focused on "brands" and we make frames in the category "design". Furthermore, we have the impression that overseas customers are reluctant to make the trip. The economic climate is one reason for that, but, since nowadays shows are taking place in nearly every outskirt of the globe, it gets less appealing to get here. Personally, I think that the old location was much better. Let's face it: this location makes it difficult to combine business and pleasure. The city of Milan is very attractive for overseas buyers. This is too far from the city center". Concerning 2013, he added: "I'm confident that 2013 will be a good year for us. The western market will start to get over a mental/economic crisis and for the design section of the business the eastern market will grow."

 

As regards new products presented on this occasion, "we'll introduce two new declinations of successful models in the Hoet collection. Remember the Hoet collection is not a fashion collection. Some of our oldest models have been in distribution for seven years, but are still bestsellers. In my daughter's Cabrio sunglass collection we bring a few technical innovative models."

 

Is there a common denominator for eyewear in 2013?
"Fluctuation in the optical market is spread over more than one year. I think that the market gets bored with "retro". Consequently "modernism" will get more attractive."

 

It seems that in order to capture particular segments of the market, large companies increasingly aim for big numbers through acquisitions and smaller companies target specialization. Do you think this trend will be consolidated in the future?
"No doubt about your first statement, leaving the smaller companies with no other option than aiming for new niches."

 

Which word, then, describes your company?
"Hard to pick one word, but I guess "ambitious" is correct."

 

Apart from Mido, what other important appointments do you have this year?
"If you mean shows, we'll be at Silmo and at IOFT. Otherwise, I am confident that, after 4 years of development, we hope to launch a complete new concept this year and, no, I cannot yet tell you what this will be, sorry."