Barton Perreira eyewear.

Marcolin is diving into the specialty eyewear market. The Italian eyewear production and licensing firm has signed a distribution deal with Los Angeles-based brand Barton Perreira.

The agreement will see Marcolin manage Barton Perreira’s wholesale and distribution operations in select markets including Southern Europe; the Middle East; Eastern Europe including Russia; Asia with the exception of Japan; South America, and Mexico. Barton Perreira will remain in charge of its distribution within select European countries, the U.S., Canada and Japan.

The deal represent’s Marcolin’s first distribution agreement. The company has only previously embarked on licensing contracts that see it manage the design, distribution and marketing for fashion labels’ eyewear operations.

Barton Perreira chief executive officer and cofounder Bill Barton and Marcolin ceo Massimo Renon think their agreement can double Barton Perreira’s sales within three years.

“Our growth has been really consistent over the past 11 years, we focus so much on the product and quality and craftsmanship,” said Barton, who helped found the label. “Particularly to get into Asia and South America where brand names are an important part of what goes on there, that is what’s so exciting to have a partner like Marcolin. Our strength is obviously in Western Europe and the U.S., we can focus on that and our exclusive relationships to nurture expansion while Marcolin takes the brand to the rest of the world.”

Renon said the firm has “always admired the Barton Perreira quality and the brand’s ability to make timeless and elegant product.”

He added of the company’s strategy for the brand: “The fact that we will start distribution only to top customers worldwide, this will give Marcolin the possibility to exploit the luxury market in a way that we haven’t done before. This is our first distribution agreement, we have license agreements and one in-house brand. This is a new venture that shows how Marcolin wants to be a pioneer in approach within the industry.”

This is the second recent high-profile deal of its kind within the eyewear industry — demonstrating new strengths of the specialty eyewear market. In March 2018, WWD reported that growth in the specialty eyewear category is outpacing that of behemoth companies like Safilo by multidouble digits. In September, Marchon announced a distribution agreement with Cutler and Gross.

Later that month, Marchon ceo Nicola Zotta told WWD that the company is actively seeking opportunities in the specialty eyewear space, noting: “Consumers are interested in authentic specialty brands and we don’t think this is something that will stop anytime soon; our intention is to strengthen our offering in that space.”

When prodded on the specialty market, Renon said: ”This is a new trend direction that Marcolin wants to take in the future, which is to try and follow the trends and follow the market and consumer need instead of continuing with the same business model. We want to be a pioneer.”

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