As popular as sunglasses are, they have undergone very few iterations since their invention.
When the first pairs were made, in the 12th century by the Chinese, they were not that different from the styles we wear today. They had frames (primitive but sturdy), lenses (albeit rough slabs of smoky quartz, rather than technical glass), and mixed fashion and function.
Aside from a few new materials, shapes and details, in fact, the brands that make sunglasses called it and, according to Canadian-Chinese entrepreneur Doris Ngie, a revamp was long overdue.
After more than a decade in the industry (first as general manager of her family business, clothing distributors GL Group, then, as co-founder of the luxury fashion platform), she has spear AMAVII, luxury sunglasses designers solving the problems, in 2018.
“I saw a real need in the market because I have always struggled to find comfortable glasses because of my large face,” she says. “I was frustrated that eyewear brands were one-size-fits-all, even though the clothes had a range of sizes, and I knew that with my experience I could fix that.”
After countless prototypes, Ngie opted for three sizes – standard, oversized, and petite – which would be available in each of the brand’s styles.
Plus, she refused to settle for less than aerospace titanium and 18k gold when making her frames, knowing her sunglasses had to stand out in a crowded luxury market.
“Aerospace titanium frames are expensive – they’re the strongest, lightest metal, making them the best material for eyewear,” she says.
Still, the investment paid off. In less than two years, celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez, Khloe Kardashian, Hailey Bieber, Alessandra Ambrosio, Jamie Chung, Kylie Jenner and Gigi Hadid have all been photographed wearing AMAVII sunglasses, sending a plethora of millennial customers. and from generation Z to the brand’s digital doors. .
“The brand quickly became a Hollywood favorite – quite organically, through giveaways – and celebrities naturally just loved the product, which is a real testament to the quality,” she says.
When Hailey Bieber wore a pair of coral and gold sunglasses on a 2019 outing, the style sold out in all three cuts almost immediately. Then, last March, Gigi Hadid wore her pair of 18k gold Benjamins to almost every Fashion Week event, forever changing AMAVII’s fortunes.
“This is the time when we were the fastest growing,” says Ngie, “because that’s when people started to notice us, following our social media and our mailing list. “
As you might expect, the style Hadid wore has worn out, forcing AMAVII to restock three times during the pandemic, and continues to be AMAVII’s bestseller.
In fact, after wearing the sunglasses more than thirty times before the pandemic, their popularity helped AMAVII grow by 500% in a single year (a year in which most people isolated themselves indoors. , in addition !).
While the global pandemic has certainly affected AMAVII, forcing them to work with new channel partners and change their manufacturing processes, Ngie feels like they’ve been incredibly responsive to the needs of their customers and employees.
“The universe will never give you a challenge that you cannot solve,” she says. “As a CEO, you have to accept that there are going to be stressful good days and bad. Problem solving is a natural part of the job description. I have learned to be grateful for the process.
“Think ‘I have to do this’, not ‘I have to do this’.”