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Freaky Friday – The Future of Licensing business in Optical Frames


Eyewear is big business. Market sources estimate that the global market, which includes frames, contact lenses and sunglasses, is worth $90 billion and will reach $140 billion by 2020.

In 2012, Exane BNP Paribas estimated that frames and sunglasses represented 40 percent of the eyewear market. Within that segment it estimates that premium frames and sunglasses, the sort produced by fashion labels, represent 35 percent. Applying those estimates to today’s market values the premium fashion segment at just below $13 billion.

The business of optical frames is purely technical. The choice here is to sell sunglasses in one’s own store, or sign a license contract to have an expert do the manufacturing, and selling optical frames in the most prestigious opticians worldwide. The only brand that manufactures and distributes optical frames is Cartier.

We tell you about 5 licensees who specialize in the eyewear licensing segment and making our frame to future the best:

  1. Luxottica

This Italian company is much more than a licensee. They are considered as the dominant player in the optical frames industry. They own a range of companies under them like Persol and Ray-Ban, the latter of which is the biggest brand in the market. It holds the licenses to produce eyewear for global fashion brands such as Chanel, Armani, Prada and Michael Kors and manages the distribution of its products through 200,000 wholesale doors.

  1. Safilo

Safilo, they are the second most dominant group .They hold licensees for Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Hugo Boss, BottegaVeneta, Diesel, Dior, Armani, Gucci, Marc Jacobs, Max Mara, Valentino, and Yves Saint Laurent. It employs more than 150 designers, adding more than 3,000 new models to the market a year, sold through a network of 90,000 wholesale doors. The company reported €1.17 billion (about $1.33 billion) in revenue in 2014 and annual growth of about five percent.

  1. De Rigo

In 1978, the De Rigo brothers founded Charme Lunettes in Limana, Belluno, a small artisan company with 30 workers, which manufactured sunglasses, frames and components for corrective lenses on behalf of third parties. De Rigo holds licenses for Lanvin, Loewe and Carolina Herrera.

  1. L’Amy

The Lamy family was one of the families involved in developing the craftsmanship implicated in eyewear manufacture. It is thanks to Louis Félix LAMY, born in Les Rousses (Jura) back in 1779, that this company was set up in 1810. In 1963, the name of the business Auguste LAMY & Fils was shortened and an apostrophe was added to make L’AMY its new name. Lamy is today one of the best French eyewear company. Today, the L’AMY Group has a whole portfolio of complementary brands like Bally, Balmain, Kenzo, Rochas, Chloé, Chevignon and Vespa.

  1. Marchon

Marchon Eyewear is a United States-based manufacturer and distributor of eyewear and sunglasses. Founded in 1983, the company’s portfolio includes several licensed brands in addition to its own house brands. They are licensees for Fendi, Karl Lagerfeld, Pucci, Jil Sander, and Calvin Klein.

Building collaboration between an eyewear manufacturer and its license partners keeps the eyewear true to the brand and adds a fashion edge to products. The licensing model gives large and well-established, as well as emerging fashion and lifestyle brands, a viable extension into a large and growing marketplace.

Looking into the future, we feel designer eyewear or licensed eyewear will never disappear. It is way too strong and it will remain the same for the upcoming years too!


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