Accessories. Eyewear Remains Bright Spot in Dark Economy

October 13, 2008 • Accessories


At least sunglasses hide your crying eyes! Vintage is back, especially when it comes to eyewear! According to WWD, the recent relaunch of vintage styles including Ray-Ban’s classic Wayfarer style has ignited the eyewear industry with a demographic that spans celebrities to tweens. Better yet, they are more affordable than a designer bag or shoes.

True, designer sunglasses by Bulgari, Chanel and Balenciaga can fetch at least $500 and have proved to be hot sellers in recent years, but lower price points such as with Ray-Ban’s Wayfarers which retail around $140 are a new growth area. What’s old is new again!

“Everybody is going back to the icons,” said Maristella Brentani, Luxottica’s vice president of product. Speaking specifically of the Clubmaster, she added, “That is going to be the new ‘it.’”

Safilo is promoting the U.S. return of Carrera shades, especially the familiar Champion and Safari styles that retail for $150. Oliver Peoples’ candidate is the Sheldrake, a vintage-inspired round sunglasses style priced at $350 retail. Eyewear firm Modo unveiled Swedish brand Tretorn’s first sunglasses collection of some 15 styles for the 25- to 35-year-old urban consumer who is active.

The crumbling economy appears to have given rise to the discreet aesthetic. Logos are continuing to be reduced, if not totally eliminated, and tasteful wood, leather and jewelry touches often take the place of splashy branding. Fendi discarded the logos in favor of stitching down the temples, reminiscent of the brand’s Selleria accessories collection, on sunglasses priced at $500.

“There is still a customer that loves the stronger logo treatments, but the other customer who wants the sophisticated design is speaking with a louder voice,” said Mark Ginsberg, senior vice president of design at Marchon, which holds the eyewear licenses for such brands as Fendi, Coach, Michael Kors, Pucci and Karl Lagerfeld.

Read more "In Dark Economy, Eyewear Remains Bright" here.

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