Asian Fit or Miss

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Classes are in full swing and I’m taking “Joining the Design Dialogue” to up my writing chops. Our first assignment is to write a 250 word product profile with the target audience being us (the design community). I only recently discovered the idea of Asian Fit Eyewear a few months back (read about my revelation here), so I decided to do a more in-depth examination of Oakley’s Asian Fit Eyewear.
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A common way to buy eyewear is to go for what fits and for what looks good. But, there is an entire population of people who can never find what fits. If you’re an Asian living in the United States, chances are you’ve had trouble finding the perfect eyewear. Change has arrived with Oakley “Asian Fit” sunglasses and goggles.

Most eyewear in the United States is created for people with high bridges; Asian faces are notable for low bridges and high cheekbones. On an Asian face, glasses often slide down the nose, rest on the cheeks, and squeeze the sides. Just as running shoes are fit for narrow, medium, and wide widths, Oakley sunglasses are now engineered for high and low bridges.

The “Asian Fit” bears a narrow and deep bridge with flexible nose pads to create more room for adjustment. Instead of strait stems on each side of the head, they bow out for a more comfortable fit. The most notable adjustment is to the frame. By removing the sharp curvature, Oakley has built a flatter profile to prevent the frames from digging into cheeks and temples.

The term “Asian Fit” raises an eyebrow because it’s a race-based label. Does the future of eyewear include terms like European and Asian Fit? Or will they switch to High and Low Bridge fit? The industry will have to market and engineer eyewear designs while paying close attention to sensitive cultural issues in order to succeed.

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Sources:
http://www.oakley.com/asian_fit
http://www.wmagazine.com/accessories/2008/06/sunglasses?currentPage=1
http://www.roadrunnersports.com/rrs/content/content.jsp?contentId=200066

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