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Just Who is Luxottica? And Why we Do Not Sell Licensed Merchandise at Wink

Oliver Peoples, Prada, Oakley, Chanel, Anne Klein, Brooks Brothers, Bulgari, Burberry, Chaps, Coach, Dolce & Gabbana, DKNY, Paul Smith, Polo, Ralph Lauren, Versace, Persol, Ray-Ban and Tiffany & Company.  Recognize these names?  Well chances are if you’ve shopped for eyewear at Target, Pearl Vision, Sears or your Optometrist’s office you’ve seen these brands of eyewear.  But did anyone tell you that they are all designed and manufactured by one company?  They are all mass produced in the same factories in China and Italy by a very secretive company called Luxottica.

Luxottica not only churns out all of these brands of eyewear at millions of frames a year, they also own the stores that sell them.  Lenscrafters, Optical Shop of Aspen, Sunglass Hut, Pearl, Target and Sears Opticals are also owned by Luxottica.  Also, if you have EyeMed insurance, that is also a Luxottica “brand” that funnels consumers to it’s own optical shops.  Why is this a bad thing?  Well, primarily it is because these practices actually limit choice under the guise of more options.  But also, it’s because the consumer doesn’t get to know that the brand Coach has nothing to do with Coach eyewear, except that when Luxottica puts the name Coach on a frame, the price doubles or even triples!

We want everyone to understand that truly handmade frames are still available from small independent frame designers that are not mass produced.  They are made with love and dedication by true artists and designers that do not license their names.  They don’t sell clothes, belts or handbags.  They concentrate on the art of eyewear.

At Wink, you may not recognize the names of Mykita, Anne et Valentin, Alain Mikli, Bevel, Orgreen, Theo, Starck, Barton Parreira, or Salt, but in the eyewear world these are the visionaries.  These are the designers that Luxottica copies and steals their designs from, and labels them under Oliver Peoples or Tiffany & Co.

Disclosure: We’ve edited this video for time and added commentary to the bottom.  The original 60 minutes episode aired on Sunday October 7th, 2012 and the full, unedited version (all 13 minutes of it) is available on the 60 minutes channel on YouTube.