Recently, two of the biggest players in the eyewear industry, Luxottica and Essilor, announced a merger. Luxottica is the largest frame maker in the world and Essilor is globally the largest lens maker. To make things even more interesting, Luxottica also owns Eyemed, an optical insurance company and Essilor owns many of the insurance labs in the US. This means that one company will now control the vast majority of the eyewear market through the ownership of the insurance, frame, and lens aspects of the business.
What this means for you, the customer, is it’s now more important than ever to support independent frame makers because these are just a few of the brands that will be outside the control of this and other conglomerates like this to come. Luxottica owns popular brands like Rayban, Oakley, Oliver Peoples, Persol, Alain Mikli and produces a vast majority of "designer label" brands like Chanel, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Tory Burch and Burberry, to name a few. Reference our infographic to see exactly how intertwined and convoluted these brands and companies are. With majority of the market, from insurance to eyeexam, to frame selection, to lens creation, being controlled by one parent company, this could lead to lower quality products and fewer choices for the consumer. This could also leave consumers with fewer retail optical choices other than Luxottica's own retail stores like Lenscrafters, Pearle Vision, and Sunglass Hut to name few.
It is for this very reason that Risi Optique has made a commitment to only carrying independent eyewear brands as well as only working with independent optical labs. Brands such as Anne et Valentin, Barton Perreira, Bevel, Blake Kuwahara, Matsuda, Mykita, SALT, and Shamballa Eyewear are committed to the highest quality and beautiful craftsmanship of their unique eyewear.
If you would like to find out more about the behind the scenes happenings of the eyewear industry, we encourage you to read these articles.