NEW YORK — Cynthia Rowley is gearing up for her latest venture: an eyewear e-commerce business that launches today in partnership with longtime eyewear licensee B. Robinson.
In addition to introducing a full range of optical and sun frames — Rowley Eyewear for women and Mr. Powers for men — the designer will launch stand-alone e-commerce sites dedicated to the category at rowleyeyewear.com and mrpowerseyewear.com.
With a business model similar to sites such as Eyefly and Lookmatic, sunglasses retail for $99 and optical and prescription sun frames for $129. Customers can select four pairs to try on at home for free, and have seven days to decide which ones they want to keep — with free shipping both ways.
“We know we’re following a model that’s out there, but just like any other retail model, or any other online retail model — it works. But this is our version, it has an aesthetic that makes it different,” Rowley told WWD of applying the online retail market for eyewear to her company. “It’s disrupting and sort of reinventing the eyewear business, so it’s really exciting to be part of a movement that’s truly changing the way people shop for this category.”
Rowley has produced eyewear for almost two decades, where product retailed from $175 and $275 and was sold at specialty, optical as well as her own stores. But with this initiative, the price points have come down substantially. According to Peter Arnold, chief executive officer of Cynthia Rowley, the eyewear business going forward will be an entirely direct-to-consumer model. He projected that this could become the most significant accessory category for the company, and the second-largest driver of sales after apparel. Arnold estimated that eyewear will eventually comprise 15 to 20 percent of the overall business.
Rowley will also implement “Rowley Care” — what the designer calls her version of “fashion insurance” — to make replacing lost or broken frames less of an obstacle, as well as encourage consumers to switch up their eyewear they wear with shoes, a handbag or jewelry. Upon one’s first full-price purchase, the company is giving the option to join Rowley Care, where for $50 (or monthly $5 payments), any frames a customer buys during the next 12 months are 50 percent off. In addition, if a customer loses or damages their glasses, they can get another pair half off.
The modern silhouettes have vintage elements — like screws and pins — and come in matte and crystal finishes in various blush tones (for women) and green horn and warm browns (for men). Upon launch, there will be 18 women’s and 13 men’s styles and offerings will change seasonally, in tandem with her ready-to-wear collection.
“The aesthetic [for eyewear] is just like what my brand is known for — being a little bit classic, a little bit sporty and having an adventurous or artistic stretch sometimes. It’s a little bold but still really wearable,” Rowley said.
The lines will also be on view at Rowley’s seven freestanding U.S. doors (with potential plans to roll out eyewear in international doors). All stores will have iPads to purchase the frames from, and in certain locations — like Montauk, N.Y. — nonprescription sunglasses will be available on the spot.
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty