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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


When you think about the ridiculous prices they charge for a piece of plastic, it makes perfect sense. Competition is virtually non-existant. I assume the same goes for the frames used for prescription glasses.
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And this is what people get for their obsession with "brands". I see this all over the internet - links on delicious.com telling you "7 Ways To Get Your Brand Noticed On Facebook", links on popurls.com about "The 10 Brands That Might Not Be Here In A Year." Please, please tell me why someone would care about the label on something more than the quality and price of the product. To be honest I've been confused by this since primary school, when kids turned up on casual-clothes day dressed head to toe in Reebok.
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glassyeyes.com all the way. i think it might have even been a neatorama article years ago. cheap, online, reviewed. i have like 15 some odd pairs of awesome glasses now from that site [which is just a blog that links to and reviews sites that sell glasses with lenses online] and have been very happy with all of them.
only problem is you cant try them on, but after a quick trip to any eyeglasses hut in the mall, you can get a good gist of what you want and even get frame dimensions for exact replication.
good times.
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I always spend as little as possible on sunglasses, I lose them too often. As long as they block UVA/UVB and are polarized (polarized is AWESOME), I don't give a damn about anything else.
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I wont wear anything that has the brand name emblazoned on it for all to see. I am not a billboard or a commercial.
Unless the company pays me for doing their advertising...
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I will say this -- I work with frames nearly daily (I cut the lenses for glasses) and expensive name brand frames ARE better quality. Also note that I don't make money on them (ie, I get paid the same if it's a cheap frame or expensive frame I'm cutting lenses for).

So it may be that the same company makes them all, but, for example, a screw and the paint on a screw in a Ray Ban frame will be MUCH better than a screw in a ... "house brand" frame from Luxottica. The metal in the screw head on cheap frames feels softer, the paint is often over the screw (thus "sealing" the screw in -- a problem when I have to take the screw out to insert the lens).

So... while this may be true (and, well, obviously it is), more expensive "quality" name brand frames _typically are_ better quality.

Having said that, once the lens is in the frame it DOES make little difference, I suppose....
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Markoff is right. Get your glasses through www.glassyeyes.com; I've gotten great-looking, long-lasting glasses through them for as little as $8 plus shipping.

EIGHT DOLLARS.
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Sunglasses all made in the same place, a lot of clothing brands come from the same place as cheap ones, your starbucks coffee is the same company as Seattle's best. Skinny cow icecream cookies, are from Nestles... the list goes on...

WHY hasn't anyone made a website yet, where you can type in a product you're curious about, and it tells you who REALLY owns it?
I hate to death, these sneaky big corps and all their tentacles.
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I sell and thus own work safety glasses. They have a brand name (Bollé), they respect safety norms (light, UV and infrared blocking on one thing but also things like melted metal projections!) and they look cool. Retail price? 10 to 20 Euros. With good margins. That's the real cost of sunglasses.
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Bought my daughter a great looking pair of glasses from Zenni. They cost $8 for frames and lens and $5 for shipping. They look better than the $200 pair purchased at a "deal" at Costco.
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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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Its not technically a monopoly. Its vertical integration, where they own from the top to the bottom. I'll keep my $15 sunglasses I bought at Walmart in Canada 9 years ago.
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Have to say I bought my first pair of Raybans last year. Up until then I would go with "gas station" glasses. As long as they had UV protection, and were under 20$ (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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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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