MILAN — Italia Independent is launching a collection of eyeglasses under the new Eyeye moniker, in a nod to fast fashion.

This story first appeared in the December 9, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“Eyewear has not really become an accessory yet,” contended Italia Independent cofounder and chief executive officer Andrea Tessitore, noting that Eyeye aims to do for eyewear what Swatch did for watches.

“We are bringing color, innovation and distinctiveness with a revolutionary, yet easy, fun product at a competitive price,” he added, pointing to retail prices that start at 78 euros, or $95.80 at current exchange.

In an exclusive interview, Tessitore said the project stems from a specific “need of the moment,” as the eyewear sector has evolved and “become very competitive.” International companies are resetting their strategies, with Kering, for example, bringing its eyewear production in-house. While the mother-brand Italia Independent will continue to develop innovative treatments and premium items, Tessitore said the company has “created a new family of products at entry price level to generate important volumes.” His belief is that “the time-to-market issue has never really been resolved before,” addressing the timing needed by eyewear in acetate and metal.

Lapo Elkann, chairman and cofounder of Italia Independent, said the group “continues to invest in research and innovation, relentlessly,” adding that Eyeye “establishes different rules and transforms eyewear into a product that can be experienced in great freedom, as has been the case for years in fashion. It suits everyone, has no limits or barriers and is easily comprehensible, on the whole.”

Tessitore said Eyeye was two years in the making. A staunch supporter of Made in Italy production, he said Eyeye glasses are made in China because “Italia Independent produces in Italy where the know-how is objective and undisputed, where there is added value to protect and when it is impossible to produce elsewhere.” The creativity is Italian, he said, but the company is looking at “enormous volumes with very good quality” and competitiveness. “The polyamide base is produced in China in a clear and transparent way, with a standard high-resolution digital printing.” Offered in 400 color variables, it is the “printing that makes the difference,” explained Tessitore, comparing the base to “a blackboard that can be decorated at will. The sky is the limit,” as there will be new patterns on an almost monthly basis.

“We are able to create uniqueness and distinction at the right price and we differentiate and give dignity to this new product with its own, strong name that has the aspiration of its own brand,” added the executive. Eyeye will have its own dedicated logo and the letters I-I will be placed vertically, compared with the horizontal graphics of Italia Independent. There will also be a dedicated ad campaign with a Pop mood, said Tessitore.

Eyeye will be immediately available in Italia Independent units and selected specialty stores in Italy and abroad. In January, the line will be rolled out to its international wholesale accounts and online at italiaindependent.com. In stores, the glasses will be packaged in clear Plexiglas boxes that can be displayed in Lego-like constructions.

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