Every person in this world is unique, everyone is an individual. But when it comes to consumer products, most of the choices out on the market turn out to be standardized products in standard sizes featuring standardized designs. So far, one of the few bastions of truly individualized, customized styles are bespoke suits, where tailors go to lengths in taking the measurements and sizing for each customer to achieve that perfect fit. It’s a tradition several hundred years old, and as relevant as ever in today’s increasingly personalized marketplace. Faced with the growing consumer demand for bespoke products, the eyewear industry is now drawing on the latest in high-tech to usher in a new era of one-of-a-kind eyewear. Enter a world of lasers, facial scans, and 3D-printers – the future is here.
Upcoming eyewear label YOU MAWO is on the cutting edge of the budding customization trend. The brand’s business model is based on eyewear specifically tailored to the anatomical contours of each individual wearer’s face. The advantages are rather obvious: A face is as unique as a fingerprint, so a standardized frame can hardly cover the entire range of variations between wearers. As a starting point, YOU MAWO offers six basic designs in different styles that can be tailored and fitted exactly to the specifications of the wearer for a snug and comfortable fit.
As an inspiration for the brand and its name, the founding team led by Sebastian Zenetti pointed out travel and a sense of adventure. Accordingly, all individual frames are named after famous mountains and the connection between glasses and wearers is symbolic for the connection between humans and planet earth. The company name also reflects a love for nature: YOU MAWO is an acronym for Your Magical World. A touch of magic also sparkles in the choices of colorways, with options including black, grey, brown, red, blackberry, olive, navy, and Bordeaux.
True to the high-tech nature of the operation, the people behind the upcoming label hail from a broad range of different backgrounds, including parametric 3D-design, ophthalmology, additive manufacturing processes (3D-printing), and big data analytics. This mix of different talents is the key to realizing a truly unique and customized eyewear platform, with frames that are individually tailored on one hand, but also on the same consistent level of quality at scale on the other hand.
Choosing the basic model
The six basic designs are the result of an optimization analysis conducted by the YOU MAWO team on facial scans from hundreds of people. These models are designed in different styles that are further adjusted to the individual wearer’s anatomy on the computer before manufacturing the actual, individualized frames.
Customers choose their favorite model in one of eight available colorways at their optical store. On that note, opticians are central to YOU MAWO’s business model, since they not only equip the frames with lenses, but also play an important role in the customization of the frames via an innovative app.
Individualizing the frames
1st step: Facial scan at the optical store
In order to find the perfect fit for the wearer’s individual face, the optician performs a scan using YOU MAWO’s proprietary infrared 3D-scanning app. Controlled via iPad, the camera scans the wearer’s face in a matter of 30 seconds. Powered by constant updates, the app also contains the latest eyewear styles and collections, as well as current news from YOU MAWO.
Once the scan is completed, the optician also feeds the wearer’s choice of basic model, colorway, and additional personal data into the app. The data is then send via the cloud to YOU MAWO, where the customization process continues.
2nd step: Individual customization at YOU MAWO HQ
The customer’s facial scan and preference data collected at the optician’s store is now combined with the basic design in the shape of a 3D-model of the new frame. Drawing on proprietary algorithms, the basic design is adjusted to the anatomical contours of the wearer’s face. This process is also known as parametric 3D manufacturing. In the computer model, experienced opticians are free to customize factors such as:
– Overall size of the frames
– Nose bridge width
– Contact area on nose
– Nose pads angles
– Nose pads size
– Nose pads positioning
– Temples angle
– Temples length
– Temples length
– Basic lenses curvature
The result is a design that still bears the characteristics of the basic model chosen by the wearer, but optimized with individual sizing and design parameters for the ultimate fit.
3rd step: Manufacturing in Germany
Based on the customized digital design, YOU MAWO manufacturers a real-life product at its German workshop. The underlying manufacturing process is a high-tech method known as selective laser sintering, already widely used in the automotive and aerospace industry. In an additive process, the frames are laser-printed layer-by-layer from polyamide powder. The material, polyamide, is frequently used in plastic surgery for the design of bone implants. It’s also perfectly suited for eyewear, which is why YOU MAWO relies on the advanced polymer as the main ingredient for its 3D-printed frames: About 30% lighter than acetate, polyamide is also more robust and resilient than standard frames at a very light weight for a high level of comfort.
In the next step, the surface finish and coloring are added and made permanent by ways of nano-coating, which also adds resistance against dirt and water. The hinges used in all frames are also a proprietary YOU MAWO technology, attached via two bolts allowing for a quick exchange, if needed.
Overall, the production of customized frames requires three weeks before wearers can pick up their bespoke frames at the optician’s. Personalized, unique, and high-tech – welcome to the future of eyewear.