For June, designers are twisting skinny matte metals into shades and offering a variety of silhouettes -- from ovals to ellipticals to rectangles.
"Although the fashion people have seen wire frames for some time now, it's a look that's hitting mainstream America," said David Lopez, vice president and divisional merchandise manager at Neiman Marcus. "The whole idea of wire frames is really hot for us."
The 27-unit chain mailed a sunglasses catalog to 100,000 customers this spring featuring mostly wire frames from makers such as Giorgio Armani, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, DKNY and Ellen Tracy, among others.
Lopez expects sunglasses to achieve about a 30 percent sales increase in the fiscal year ending July 31.
At the International Apparel Mart, sales representatives also are forecasting sunny sunshade business this market.
Bill Guice, owner of the Tableaux accessories showroom, said the wire frame business has increased steadily over the past three years.
"The appeal has to do with the contemporary/retro feel," said Guice. "It's also a lighter, easier look."
He said brushed aluminum and antique metal frames are most popular and that plastic accents are offering newness. Hot shapes are ovals, rounds, rectangles and ellipticals.
Guice sells sunshades from Generation 2 and DMO.
"Wire frames are hot because the market has been saturated with plastic for so long," said Sheri Pinkowitz, owner of multiline accessories firm Xcessories at the mart here. "The burnished and antique metal tones also go well with the trends in ready-to-wear."
She reps shades from Renaissance Eyewear, licensee for labels such as Mary McFadden, Oscar de la Renta, Marilyn Monroe, Reebok and Blumarine.
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