By  on February 1, 2008

MILAN — Raf Simons is channeling his vision into Jil Sander's new eyewear collection. The fashion brand has signed a licensing agreement with Marchon Eyewear Inc. for the production and distribution of men's and women's eyewear. The first sunwear collection will launch at retail next January, followed by prescription frames in April 2009. "Jil Sander is a brand that has the aesthetic competence to create a total look and I am looking forward to completing my vision for Jil Sander," said Simons. Simons, who is just starting to lay the basis for the future collections, knows exactly what he wants the frames to represent. "I believe in an innovative product with a strong message because if it's true that eyewear is a competitive market, there's still room to do something new, especially in terms of design," he said. "I want to build a strong, conceptual and art-driven eyewear [line] that puts the accent on strong colors and shapes and is in line with the clear aesthetic of the ready-to-wear."Jil Sander chief executive officer Gian Giacomo Ferraris said eyewear is the next strategic step to grow the business. "After the successful reorganization of the Jil Sander Group, our focus is on developing new business directions and luxury accessories to enhance the lifestyle of the Jil Sander world," said Ferraris. Marchon president and ceo Al Berg said of the new license: "The Jil Sander brand is very interesting, as it is clean and pure, yet distinctive and assertive. This design philosophy will make the eyewear collection extremely appealing and enduring to men and women. "After 18 years of working with Fendi, and with this year's introduction of Pucci, Karl Lagerfeld and now Jil Sander, this further strengthens our significant, expanding European portfolio," continued Berg.Opening price points for Jil Sander eyewear will be at $250. Marchon projects to have 600 points of sale in the first year, but declined to divulge sales projections.

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