Looks from Gap.

MILAN — Gap Inc. has signed its first licensing agreement for the design, production and distribution of optical frames and sunglasses with Italian manufacturer De Rigo.

The multiyear licensing deal entails a distribution agreement of Gap-branded eyeglasses for men, women and kids in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Brazil via De Rigo’s retail and wholesale network and at select Gap stores.

The first collection under the deal is to bow in 2022.

Gap had up to now occasionally offered eyewear collections developed and produced in-house, but the new deal is meant to strengthen that business in sync with the San Francisco-based specialty retailer’s push toward new merchandise territory.

As reported last year, parent company Gap Inc. unveiled a multiyear deal with IMG to extend the offerings of its brands to new products and categories and attract more consumers to the company’s labels, while also opening up new channels of distribution, including wholesaling.

“Partnering with licensees such as De Rigo gives us the opportunity to amplify our strong, globally relevant brand and extend its reach to customers around the world,” commented Adrienne Gernand, senior vice president of Gap Inc. strategic alliances and licensing, franchise, global real estate, store development.

“With a fashion-oriented product offering at an affordable price that appeals across the board to consumers of different ages, Gap fits perfectly into our portfolio and represents an important step for De Rigo in its development plan in the Americas,” noted Michele Aracri, managing director of De Rigo Vision.

The tie-up with the Italian manufacturer comes a few weeks after Italian retailer OVS revealed a franchising deal with Gap Inc. to carry Gap products for women, men, children and babies on its website and a selection of Gap Kids products in dedicated corners — all the while the American group is retrenching in Europe, as reported.

Founded in 1978 in Longarone, Italy, De Rigo serves as licensing partners for a number of international fashion brands including Blumarine, Carolina Herrera, Furla, Fila, Philipp Plein and Nina Ricci, among others.

The deal with Gap signals the firm’s focus on the U.S. market as executive vice president Maurizio Dessolis detailed in a recent interview with WWD.

To this end, De Rigo recently tied-up with luggage brand Tumi, with a focus on the U.S. and Asia, and added Diff to its roster of partners, developing a distribution deal with the U.S.-based direct-to-consumer sunglasses brand aimed at facilitating its foray into wholesale distribution.

In 2016, De Rigo acquired the distributor Rem — now renamed De Rigo Rem and based in Los Angeles — to boost its wholesale presence in the U.S.

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