LONDON — Belstaff is teaming with Australian eyewear company Imatta on a collection of frames, part of the British brand's expansion into new lifestyle categories.The line will launch for spring, and features 18 styles of sunglasses and the same number of optical shapes. The frames are handmade in Japan, with premium materials such as beta titanium, Japanese acetate, Zeiss lenses and hand-waxed leather supplied by Belstaff.The new collection features three aviator styles, in gold, black metal and silver.Retail prices range from 265 pounds or $325 to 360 pounds or $425. The collaboration with Imatta is for 10 years, and the collection will be sold worldwide via Belstaff stores, department stores, fashion and travel retail and independent optical boutiques.[caption id="attachment_10816222" align="alignnone" width="507"] A style from the new Belstaff eyewear range.[/caption]In an interview, Belstaff's chief executive officer Gavin Haig said eyewear was an obvious category for Belstaff to add given the brand's history in outfitting aviators and motorcycle enthusiasts. Eyewear also represents a clear revenue opportunity.The brand had an eyewear license under its former Italian owners, and most recently did a limited-edition capsule collection with the Japanese eyewear company Native Sons. Haig said that project was so successful, it was clearly the right time to enter the eyewear business.He said Belstaff's collection creative director Delphine Ninous has had a big hand in the design of the new styles.[caption id="attachment_10816225" align="alignnone" width="544"] A style from the new Belstaff eyewear range.[/caption]Imatta was founded by the optician and designer Joshua Matta, and is based in Melbourne. It designs, manufactures and distributes optical and sunglass collections, which are made in artisanal workshops in Japan, Italy and France.The company works with materials including celluloid acetate, titanium, 18-karat gold and gold plating. The lenses are made by the German optical giant Zeiss.Haig said that while Belstaff looked at some of the bigger, obvious eyewear manufacturers, the company preferred to work with a smaller, more bespoke company.Haig said he liked the fact that Joshua Matta is a professional optician, and said he pays attention to craft, quality and detail. Imatta has worked with Victoria Beckham and Cutler & Gross, among other brands.[caption id="attachment_10816223" align="alignnone" width="512"] A style from the new Belstaff eyewear range.[/caption]“We have achieved great success in establishing ourselves as a company known for our product quality and selective distribution," said Matta, chief executive officer of Imatta. "Belstaff will fit perfectly within our portfolio of brands."Haig noted that the launch of eyewear marks the start of Belstaff's brand extensions, which he said will happen "slowly and carefully." Fragrance and watches are in the pipeline, too, although there is no specific timeline for their launch.The brand is also continuing its retail expansion, with a Ginza, Tokyo flagship set to open on April 15, a direct investment on the part of the company.[caption id="attachment_10816227" align="alignnone" width="495"] A style from the new Belstaff eyewear range.[/caption]The frames will be sold in Belstaff stores as of April 30, while Imatta will start supplying wholesale accounts globally as of mid-March. The new collection will be present at eyewear fair Mido in Milan, which runs from Feb 25-27.Save
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