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MILAN — Gucci and Safilo are one step closer to making the planet a better place.

This story first appeared in the May 26, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Besides working to develop a prototype made from an alternative to plastic, in August the two companies will introduce four eyewear styles made from eco-sustainable materials that break new ground in the fashion eyewear sector.

“With Safilo we felt it was time to take the initiative on our shared commitment for increased sustainability within the luxury sector. These eyewear models represent an important step forward in finding new and innovative ways to embrace sustainability in our manufacturing processes,” said Patrizio di Marco, Gucci president and chief executive officer.

The first new material is an acetate containing a much higher percentage of naturally occurring ingredients compared to traditional acetate.

Referencing Gucci’s green-red-green web motif, the acetate is exclusively colored with a flamed motif featuring deep brown mixed with red or green.

“The acetate is the result of an extensive research to increasingly use material components of a natural origin. This initiative, together with the other ones that will come, is part of the long-term path for environmental sustainability that Safilo has decided to follow as part of its strategy,” said Roberto Vedovotto, ceo of the Safilo Group.

At the same time, in a quest to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, the Gucci Eyeweb collection, which targets a younger crowd, will unveil two mask-shaped sunglasses for men and women in a natural material made from castor-oil seeds.

A special nature-friendly packaging to complement the project will be introduced in the first quarter of 2012.

The sunglasses will hit Gucci stores and select optical sales points in October while prescription frames will arrive in late September.

Prices and sales forecasts were not available.

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