Who Actually Made All Those Brand Name Sunglasses?

With lots of brands of shades available today, you'd think that the market for sunglasses is a healthy and competitive one - but you'd be wrong. Brett Arends of the Wall Street Journal writes:

Do you prefer the "quality" of Ray-Ban to Oakley? Do you think Bulgari is better than Dolce & Gabbana, or Salvatore Ferragamo is better than Prada? Wake up. They're all made by one company, Italian manufacturer Luxottica–one of the biggest consumer companies that consumers have never heard of. Luxottica also makes sunglasses branded Burberry, Chanel, Polo Ralph Lauren, Paul Smith, Stella McCartney, Tiffany, Versace, Vogue, Persol, Miu Miu, Tory Burch and Donna Karan.

"We manufacture about 70% of those brands in our factories in Italy, and the balance in America and China," says Luxottica spokesman Luca Biondolillo. "We do the design, the manufacturing, and the marketing," he adds. The company makes most of those brands under license, working closely with designers at the relevant fashion houses. But it owns several brands itself, including Ray-Ban, Oakley, Oliver Peoples and REVO. [...]

In many cases, the same company is also selling you the glasses. Luxottica also owns LensCrafters, Pearle Vision and Sunglass Hut. This is extreme vertical integration. The eye doctor telling you that you need a new pair of glasses, the sales people helping you choose them and the people who design and make the glasses all work for the same company.

More in Brett's article Are Designer Sunglasses Worth the Price?: Link


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Having laser surgery to get rid of myopia was one of the best decisions I've taken in my life.
First of all, no more expensive glasses and new pairs every less than 2 years (too sporty for glasses to last longer than that...).
Secondly, I love the fact that when I see a cheap pair of sunglasses I can just buy it. Before I couldn't have done that as I could barely afford to have one pair of sunglasses with prescription.
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Have to say I bought my first pair of Raybans last year. Up until then I would go with "gas station" glasses. As long as they had UV protection, and were under 20$ (Canadian), I was pleased. My big concern was loss of the glasses. If they were cheap, a loss was no big whoop. The Raybans just made my eyes sigh. Such clarity of vision and my eyes felt great after a day in the sun. Makes me wonder what I did to my eyes with the cheap shades. Some say that cheap shades are worse than no shades as they prevent squinting, but open your eyes to UV damage. IDK. Very surprised that all shades come from one place, which smacks of a scam on some levels. I dig my 'bans, and probably take more concern over losing them as they were pricier. "On your face, or in the case".

Though such awesomeness should really only cost $20. Why make such crappy shades?

fyi - i think it may be http://glassyeyes.blogspot.com/ as http://www.glasseyes.com/ took me to prosthesis. Though maybe better than some shades. Lol.
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Its not technically a monopoly. Its vertical integration, where they own from the top to the bottom. I'll keep my $15 sunglasses I bought at Walmart in Canada 9 years ago.
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Capitalism is only an efficient system, even in theory, when anti-trust is policed and enforced conscientiously. That hasn't happened in the US since Teddy Roosevelt, and it hasn't happened in most of the rest of the capitalist world -ever-. The last big anti-trust enforcement in the US was the break-up of the AT&T telephone monopoly in the 1980s, which resulted in an immediate drop in calling prices and an explosion in telephone technology and services available to consumers. Lucky it took "only" seventy years of gross inefficiency and wasted resources for that destructive monopoly to finally be broken up....
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