Gloria Nicola

NEW YORK—20/20 Magazine’s Gloria Nicola, senior editor for frames, sunwear and accessories for 27 years, will be retiring from the magazine, effective Oct. 31.

Nicola’s work has included covering thousands of new products, viewing almost as many new eyewear and sunwear collections, securing products and accessories for the magazine’s fashion shoots, writing features and interviewing dozens of eyewear, accessory and fashion designers over the years. She has represented 20/20 at innumerable U.S. and international trade shows.

Nicola joined Jobson initially as a frames editor for both 20/20 and its sister publication, Vision Monday, in 1987. About a year later, she focused her time on 20/20 and in 1990 was named senior editor. Nicola initially covered all new products coming into the market, from contact lenses to accessories, displays and lenses. Her role evolved to a focus on frames, sunwear and accessories and, in the early ’90s, she started to complement her coverage within the U.S. with trips to Mido and Silmo.

Nicola, who grew up in Rhinelander, Wis., received her B.A. in English and then her Master’s in English Literature from the University of Wisconsin She taught English in high school and then in a junior college for four years before moving east to N.J. She eventually moved into the book publishing arena, working for Random House and Ballentine Books for several years and then at publisher Ziff Davis for 12 years on its hotel and travel directories.

Said James Spina, VP/editor-in-chief of 20/20 Magazine, “There is no way to actually measure the impact and contribution senior editor Gloria Nicola has had on 20/20 as a magazine in her dedicated tenure here. It’s a voice of leadership, knowledge and creativity that permeates all of Jobson Optical.”

Added Marc Ferrara, CEO, of Jobson’s Information Services Division, “Gloria is truly an icon in our industry. Her contributions to 20/20 and the Jobson Optical Group over the past nearly three decades are legend and immeasurable. We will miss her dearly.”

Nicola told VM, “I will miss so many people and all the creativity I’ve had the opportunity to see and work with.” Her immediate plans are to take some time to travel with her husband, Frank Nicola. ■

Gloria’s Recollections: Color, Originality, ‘Fascinating People’

One of the most important changes in the industry were the arrival of fashion designer names, which started to arrive first, via imports and then later in major licenses, particularly in the ‘80s. The truly effective ones took on the message of the brand. For example, the first Giorgio Armani collection was retro, metal, and helped usher in unisex, but it also reflected the signature of the designer; Calvin Klein from Marchon was modern and minimal and reflected the simplicity of his designs, and had a great impact on the men’s market.

Alain Mikli certainly has been one of the major influences on the industry, which wouldn’t be where it is today without his ideas. He went ahead and pushed new concepts even though people told him he was crazy, like the rectangle or the customized zyls or the color red, when he first started it. Christian Roth, of course, is another who took chances, and has tried to push in another direction; he was one of the first to use titanium and take on new shapes, like the wrap and shields.

Gloria Nicola, who retires from 20/20 Magazine this month,
is known throughout the industry for her love of colors and
design and she’s always embraced bold, big frames. On her
many trips to scout trends at Vision Expos and the
international Mido and Silmo exhibitions, Nicola would
gravitate toward interesting shapes and bold color. Her
many fashion designer and ‘Artist of the Frame’ interviews
for the magazine always conveyed the creator’s philosophy
and inspirations, which in turn helped thousands of ECPs and
optical retailers over the years better explain eyewear to
their customers.

The first person I met in the industry was Gai Gherardi of l.a. eyeworks. And they have always been a favorite of mine from the beginning. They did small shapes and really embraced color; they did things no one else did, always a fun and ‘wow’ element to what they do.

I remember seeing the Silhouette Titan Minimal Art for the first time at Mido. They were titanium, in colors, and the no-screw hinge, transforming rimless, too. It made a huge impact on the industry.

I’m a big fan of color. Colors in Optics’ plastics really brought in major change. Lafont, its frames, their show booths and presentation—always a major impact and influence in plastic. Folks who really tell a story with color.

Today, several lines do a great job. Among them: Kenmark, who’s done an excellent job with Penguin, taking an old classic and reinventing it. A newer company, Ogi, is going a great job with their design. The shapes, mix of colors and materials, just works, it’s wearable. When we get product in, there’s always something to choose.

I’ve loved doing our interviews. Betsey Johnson was one of my favorites, in her studio and with her dog running around, so fun. Our Artist of the Frame series has been wonderful. The first one was with Blake Kurahawa for eyeota…and creativity continues as his new line shows.

I love to travel and the trips to Mido and Silmo have been great. I remember the old Village at Silmo, the one at the top of the escalator, which was perfect, including that whole walkway to the booths where you could see a selection of ideas. The international show booths’ presentations—and the stores in Paris and Milan—paid so much attention to detail, setting them apart. I’ve always been drawn to the people and companies that take chances, push the boundaries, go outside the box.