A French startup, NetLooks, clinched the 2016 Silmo d'Or award for innovation in the materials and equipment category at the Silmo trade fair in Paris. The company's proprietary software allows opticians to create “à la carte” personalized frames using a 3D image of the customer, who is then offered the option to choose from almost a million possible combinations of shapes, colors, motifs and personalized details. 

Once the frame is virtually created and adapted on the customer's unique features, it's then made to measure in NetLooks' own workshops in France, with accessible prices starting at €179. The service is currently available only in NetLooks' only store, opened last year at a shopping mall in Nancy, in eastern France. The company aims to start expanding the service to the rest of France from the end of 2016, opening other stores and franchises in the country.

In contrast with other customization systems currently on the market, NetLooks uses a tablet for a 360° scan of the user's head. It also offers a 360+ virtual tryout of the personalized frame before it is manufactured in-house with traditional methods. Local students contribute to the development of the materials and the shapes, which are offered to customers in a special variety of acetate.

The software has been developed after two years of research by Pierre Andrieu, a French optician who founded NetLooks two years ago. He wanted to overcome the limitations of store inventories, which force opticians to choose and keep in stock about 1,000 frames on average.