PARIS — After introducing footwear and leather goods in 2016, SMCP Group — bolstered by its new owner, China’s Shandong Ruyi Group — is stepping into the eyewear arena. The company has signed a six-year licensing agreement with Mondottica for optical frames and sunglasses for its Sandro and Maje brands.The first six collections — including men’s and women’s frames for Sandro, and women’s frames for Maje — will launch in the fall. A selection of frames will be unveiled at the Mido eyewear fair in Milan later this month, with the full collection to be presented at Silmo in Paris in October.Michael Jardine, founder and chief executive officer of Mondottica, described Sandro and Maje as the "ideal" brands with which to collaborate. “They are extremely successful and iconic in the French market, and count among the fastest-growing fashion brands in the world,” he stated.The eyewear lines will be positioned in the accessible luxury segment, in line with SMCP Group’s ambition to become leaders in the sector.Speaking at the WWD CEO Summit in October, Daniel Lalonde, president and ceo of SMCP, characterized accessible luxury as “a sweet spot” and said research by the Boston Consulting Group indicates that market is “purported to grow faster than the luxury and mass markets over the next five years.” Citing “a pretty ambitious growth plan,” the company has been doubling in size every three years, with a projected $800 million in sales in 2016, Lalonde said, describing the shared vision of the group’s brands as “spreading Parisian chic across the world.”Focused on retail, SMCP, which also owns Claudie Pierlot, has around 1,200 stores, with about 125 openings a year, and operates concessions in top department stores around the world.As reported, Chinese textile concern Shandong Ruyi Group bought a majority stake in SMCP in early October, with SMCP’s founders and management and KKR retaining a minority interest in the group. Shandong Ruyi Group said it intends to maintain the DNA of SMCP’s brands and the design and creative teams in the Paris headquarters.Parisians Evelyne Chétrite and Judith Milgrom founded Sandro and Maje in 1984 and 1998, respectively.Hong Kong-based Mondottica’s stable of eyewear licenses includes Ted Baker, Yohji Yamamoto, Converse and Cacharel.
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