While not quite optimistic, the eyewear industry is managing to stay upbeat.
Given sunwear’s accessible price points and diverse style offerings, the category remains an easy way for consumers to update their wardrobes for less than the price of designer shoes or handbags. But with a lack of traffic throughout stores and a colder than average winter season, manufacturers are certainly feeling the chill.
For Barton Perreira, a young eyewear firm out of Los Angeles, its biggest challenge is the cost of production in Japan, where the dollar has grown weaker against the yen.
“My cost of goods has gone up 20 to 30 percent over the last six to eight months,” says Bill Barton, chief executive officer at Barton Perreira. “It’s a big concern for me, but we just have to be creative.…Our stores have been incredibly supportive, but they’re feeling it, too.”
Despite the firm’s economic woes, Barton says he is not changing any elements of the line — which retails from $320 to $520 at Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys New York and Neiman Marcus — but is instead cutting corners on the inside rather than on the product itself. It’s even producing limited edition diamond-laden pieces, which retail for up to $15,000, although Barton insists the frames are more for marketing and press purposes.
Marchon Eyewear is another firm that is holding strong against a weak dollar.
“Production is always moving around based on the euro and the yen and dollar fluctuations. It affects our product development and we see those shifts in factories,” says a spokesman for Marchon, which produces eyewear for brands such as Michael Kors, Coach and Fendi.
Alessandro Lanaro, ceo at Modo, which manufactures collections by Fabien Baron, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Derek Lam and its own eponymous label, says, “We are going back to what matters: quality, simple but definitive design, long-lasting products,” says Lanaro. “The era of disposable fashion is gone.”
David Schulte, ceo at Oliver Peoples, says the brand is focused on delivering quality frames based around subtlety and understatement. “We have been a status symbol to the customers who know us, have grown with us over the years and who have appreciated our consistency with our vision,” he says.
Michael Hansen, vice president and general manager at Ilori, a luxury eyewear chain, agrees that consumers are looking for something more “elusive and exclusive.” Hansen acknowledges the importance of offering limited edition pieces and says that 10 percent of Ilori’s styles are exclusive to the store, up from 5 percent last year.
Safilo also is emphasizing its limited edition styles that continue to fare well at its Solstice Sunglass Boutiques. “There is no doubt the consumer is more price sensitive and looking for value,” says Mark Ugenti, Safilo USA’s senior vice president of sales. “However, the consumer is still willing to pay for quality and unique designs.”
Top trends for this year include colored frames and oval-shaped styles.
Pierre Fay, executive vice president for Luxottica Wholesale North America, says his top sellers include Ray-Ban Clubmasters and Wayfarers, particularly in bright colors.
“Eyewear is still an important entry price point in fashion, so that’s why the category is holding well compared to other accessories,” says Fay.
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews