WWD.com/accessories-news/eyewear/mary-j-blige-launching-eyewear-3172464/

Mary J. Blige is extending her brand with a sunglass collection that is set to go on sale at Nordstrom and Bergdorf Goodman in October.

This story first appeared in the July 8, 2010 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The singer, who launched a co-branded T-shirt line with Catherine Malandrino in February and a fragrance called My Life with Carol’s Daughter in April, said: “Eyewear and perfume are different, but you have to put the same amount of work in. You have to be creative, come up with ideas and be inspired — just like with a song.”

The line is called Melodies by MJB. It will initially consist of four styles: an aviator shape (Incognito), classic oversize (Red Carpet and MJ’s) and a geometric-retro style with side cutouts (Showtime). They will each be available in four to six colors, depending on the style, and will retail from $165 to $225 at Bergdorf Goodman and Nordstrom. Blige said two more styles will be added later in the year.

The collection is being made by the activewear brand Orange 21. The connection with Blige developed when Jimmy Iovine, chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M Records, her label, recommended the manufacturer. “He knew we would have a very hands-on approach,” said Stone Douglass, chief executive officer of Orange 21, which is also launching a Margaritaville eyewear line with Jimmy Buffet for fall.

The line is a collaboration among Interscope, Orange 21 and Melodies by MJB.

The singer said sunglasses bestow “a certain mysterious look…like a Bond girl. People were always saying, ‘You should do an eyewear line.’ So I said, ‘Let’s do it.’”

Blige worked for six months with David Barton of Orange 21 to develop the collection. “I want women to be able to hide behind their glasses,” but also “be fashion-forward and comfortable,” she said. “I didn’t make any Grandma glasses.”