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Special Issue
WWD A issue 10/18/2010

Eying new horizons, fledgling fashion lifestyle brand KBL Eyewear is making inroads into Europe, with a European subsidiary set to open near Stuttgart, Germany, in January.

This story first appeared in the October 18, 2010 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.


The new venture for the New York-based brand is to meet “strong demand” from European retailers, said Adam Mendelsohn, who co-founded the company in 2009 with fellow fashion and eyewear industry veterans Kara Mendelsohn, his wife, and Dave Barton.


Mendelsohn said the brand’s point of differentiation is to produce fun, ontrend designs with a production quality similar to high-end fashion eyewear lines, at easy prices.


KBL is distributed in around 120 stores, including Dover Street Market in London, Saks Fifth Avenue in New York and Le Bon Marché in Paris.


“KBL is a small, independent company that is obsessed with color, quality and design,” Mendelsohn said. “The fact that we offer these things at an accessible price point is what makes us relevant. We really want to make a splash at that price point.”


Retailing from around $135 to $185, KBL’s retro-inspired line of sunglasses boasts adjustable frames, milled construction using handmade Italian acetate and Japan-sourced metal alloy, and hand-filled enamel details. The brand has collaborated with Leroy & Perry on two sunglass styles, priced $150 at retail, due to ship in November. Both frames are sold with an organic cotton fleece sweatshirt-inspired drawstring pouch made from waste fabric.


An optical line has also been introduced for spring, comprising eight styles in six neutral colors, including taupe, pearl, bone and blush, with matte black and matte vintage tortoise Italian handmade acetate. The suggested retail price is $195.

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