Chunky, Bold, Athleisure Sunglasses Define Spring 2022 Eyewear at Mido – WWD

MILAN — Despite the swirling challenges facing the global economy with the pandemic still circulating, the Russian-Ukrainian war, inflation and continued supply chain snafus, the eyewear industry appears poised to seize new opportunities. potential new market opportunities.

The industry came together at the three-day Mido trade show, which closed on May 2 and attracted 22,000 visitors. That was about a third of the tally in 2019, the last time the show was held IRL. The edition presented the spring collections of 660 exhibitors, half the number of 2019.

The show usually takes place in late February or early March and executives lamented that this year’s delay provided fewer business opportunities as sales campaigns were nearly over by the time buyers headed to the Rho show grounds. -Milano. Nonetheless, they touted the opportunity to network and Safilo CEO Angelo Trocchia stressed how important and symbolic it was to be back IRL at the fairgrounds.

Italian eyewear exports soared 42.7% in the first nine months of 2021 to €2.9 billion, a 0.4% gain from 2019, suggesting the industry is on track for a full recovery.

A drop in eyesight spurred by pandemic-induced remote working benefited optical frames, which saw the largest gains with exports jumping 48.5% from 2020, according to preliminary figures provided by Anfao. , the Italian association of eyewear manufacturers.

Marchon’s chief marketing officer and senior vice president of brands, Thomas Burkhardt, said 2021 was the best-performing year in company history with growth “driven by a very strong recovery in the automotive market.” optical. Especially in the United States and Western Europe, people’s vision care needs have increased throughout the pandemic.

Trocchia noted how dynamic Europe, Latin America and the Middle East were and supported the group’s performance last year and in the first quarter of 2022. “Despite the challenges still posed by the coronavirus pandemic, COVID-19 and conflict-related inflation in Ukraine, we remain confident that the resilience of the eyewear industry and the effectiveness of our group’s strategy will support sales and margin growth throughout 2022.” he declared.

The industry’s low overall exposure to the Russian and Ukrainian markets has certainly helped it dodge the war-related economic fallout, with companies such as Marchon and Marcolin suspending operations in Russia.

Marcolin CEO Fabrizio Curci said Russia only accounts for 2% of its revenue, but he hopes the war will be resolved and trade relations between the country and Western countries will resume. De Rigo executive vice president Maurizio Dessolis had little hope of the market returning to the spotlight given the ongoing economic sanctions.

Overall confidence about the outlook was partially affected by supply chain issues in the industry, with companies avoiding fallout by boosting efficiency. Although the delays and the increase in transport costs slightly hurt the bottom line, the sector is showing resilience. “Even if the markets recover, we are not in a position to seize this opportunity as well as possible,” Dessolis said.

In 2021, eyewear specialist based in Longarone, Italy, De Rigo, achieved a turnover of 421.6 million euros, up 21.9% compared to 2020, driven by a solid performance in the Americas, particularly in the United States where the launch of the Gap eyewear collection later this year should inject more energy.

Blumarine sunglasses for spring 2022.
Courtesy of De Rigo

“If you’re looking at going to stable markets, that’s not the case today, but if you’re precise and efficient enough, you feel a lot less pressure [on business]”, echoed Curci.

The executive touted the company’s performance in 2021 with revenue up 34% from 2020 to 455.6 million euros and adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization amounting to 11 % of net sales. The executive attributed the acceleration to the company’s strong Made in Italy supply chain and key investments in management and technology capabilities.

“When you spend a lot of time controlling your entire manufacturing pipeline, it helps you dodge variables that might emerge,” Curci said, pointing to how Marcolin has, for example, increased its inventory of raw materials.

GCDS sunglasses for spring 2022.

GCDS sunglasses for spring 2022.
Courtesy of Marcolin

This is the recipe that has helped Moscot prepare for any disruption caused by the pandemic. “The pandemic has really been an opportunity to analyze our business” and strengthen our operations, said design director Zack Moscot. “We have invested in our product and our inventory and we are now able to deliver and press gas and we don’t face some of the challenges that many competitors face in terms of supply, we are in a very good position to serve our customers,” he suggested.

The family business did not participate in the Mido show this season because it is not looking to increase the number of wholesale accounts. On a trip across Europe in search of new outlets, Moscot told WWD that his goal was to “keep the brand in a very tight, strategic and selective place” by investing in new outlets. direct sales, particularly in Europe.

Marchon is closely monitoring developments in China’s lockdowns and their potential impact on long-term productivity. “It’s a daily basis of contact with our colleagues in the field; we have teams in Asia directly in contact with our suppliers there to make sure we have visibility,” he said.

Salvatore Ferragamo sunglasses for spring 2022.

Salvatore Ferragamo sunglasses for spring 2022.
Courtesy of Marchon

At the same time, the uneven handling of the pandemic in Asian countries is shaking consumer confidence in the region, especially in China.

“Asia remains a challenge…now we are starting to see a recovery in consumer confidence in Japan and [South] Korea, which was lagging behind, and those are very important markets for us, but obviously what’s happening in China affects everybody,” Burkhardt said.

Curci echoed that sentiment and described the performance in the region as “oscillating”. In 2020, the eyewear maker acquired the joint venture it set up in 2020 with the Ginko Group for China operations and Curci said it benefits from operating directly.

Historically less exposed to the market than its competitors given its primary reliance on sunglasses, Dessolis said China saw buoyant activity and a rebound in the first half of 2021 but then stagnated. Elsewhere in the region, “De Rigo’s exposure to travel retail, which was severely impacted, weighed on performance in South Korea,” the executive said.

Spring collections revolved around bold, often chunky silhouettes, with jeweled sunglasses, colorful acetate and oversized frames nodding to a post-pandemic desire for statement accessories. From candy pink heart-shaped frames by Moschino and Jimmy Choo frames with pearls to masks by Philipp Plein with rhinestone-encrusted logos on the temples, sunglasses have provided looks to get noticed.

Brands that would traditionally adopt more understated styles, including Salvatore Ferragamo and Max Mara, have played with oversized proportions framed by thick acetate. De Rigo recently launched an exclusive brand, Yalea, offering boxy styles in multiple colors and patterns, while Victoria Beckham kept it unfussy with sleek oversized black numbers.

Men seem to embrace athletic and performance-oriented styles, as lens maker Zeiss is suggesting entering the eyewear business, Marchon and Polaroid applying its polarized lenses to outdoor frames.

The Carrera and Ducati eyewear collection for spring 2022.

The Carrera and Ducati eyewear collection for spring 2022.
Courtesy of Safilo

In the same vein, the automotive industry obtains its share of visibility thanks to alliances with eyewear manufacturers. For example, Marcolin’s proprietary Web Eyewear brand, which recently underwent a complete overhaul, launched a three-year collaboration with Alfa Romeo Formula 1 Team Orlen, while the BMW-licensed automotive brand unveiled sunglasses with Vi/ON lenses, particularly suitable for driving. . At Safilo Group, house brand Carrera has teamed up with Ducati for a collection that includes a 300-piece limited-edition frame made from titanium and carbon.

At Italia Independent, licensed brand CR7 offered mirrored-lens frames with rubberized detailing, in tune with soccer champion Cristiano Ronaldo’s active lifestyle. The company’s new leadership under recently appointed Creative Director Matteo Pontello is reflected in the streamlined proposition of its brand portfolio.

For the Italia Independent main line, velvet returned front and center, deployed in a darker, more understated palette for cat-eye shapes with contrasting colored lenses, while at Laps, Pontello worked a Fresh color palette of watermelon red and baby blue, a nod to the dandy style of company founder Lapo Elkann. “I fell in love with the business and my goal is to build and revive the brand by injecting freshness, energy and a contemporary touch to bring it back to its glory.”

Italia Independent sunglasses for spring 2022.

Italia Independent sunglasses for spring 2022.
Gianfranco Roselli/Courtesy of Italia Independent

Sustainability has remained a pervasive trend, with eyewear manufacturers investing heavily in the development and adoption of environmentally friendly materials.

Under the new “Eyes of Tomorrow” consumer umbrella, Marchon continued its CSR efforts and unveiled the use of Eastman’s Tritan Renew material, a recycled co-polyester, for its frames and lenses. from 2023, while Timberland’s Earthkeepers collection was made from 35 percent bio-based plastics and Gant’s eyewear made from 85 percent r-PET plastics signaled Marcolin’s green trend.

MILAN, ITALY - MAY 01: A general view of MIDO 2022 - Milano Eyewear Show on May 01, 2022 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images for Mido)

At the heart of the Mido 2022 show.
Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images for Mido

Likewise, Safilo has upped the ante on the use of eco-friendly materials, with bio-based acetate frames appearing in the Boss collection; cotton cellulose eco-acetate for Tommy Jeans sunglasses and eco-polyamide containing 40% biobased plastics derived from castor oil and other renewable sources at Polaroid. Levi’s introduced frames made of Hexetate, a patented acrylic resin.

The next edition of Mido will take place from February 4 to 6.

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