Marchon Eyewear is a VSP Global company and one of the world’s largest manufacturers and distributors of optical and sunglasses. This massive US based company markets products under prestigious licensed brand names including: Calvin Klein, Chloé, Columbia, Diane von Furstenberg, Donna Karan, Karl Lagerfeld, Lacoste, Lanvin, Liu Jo, Longchamp, Marni, MCM, Nautica, Nike, Nine West, Salvatore Ferragamo, and Victoria Beckham. It also has four proprietary brands: Dragon, Flexon Pure, Marchon NYC and Skaga.
With more than 80,000 accounts in over 100 countries, it’s impossible to imagine how much effort goes into the creation, production and distribution of frames that will suit specific markets while holding on to the DNA of each of those precious brands. mivision spoke to Massimiliano Maccanti, the company’s Vice President, Design and Product Development, to find out.
Q. How does Marchon choose brands to work with?
We look to partner with brands with great stories and connection to consumers. We focus on three different pillars – fashion, performance and lifestyle.
Q. How do you combine the defining characteristics of a brand with the key requirements for functionality?
Each season we meet with the creative directors for each of our fashion houses. They share their mood boards, sketches, inspiration from their archives, and they identify what they believe will be the key items or main focus of the collection. They give input as to what they would like to see in the eyewear collection, for example, oversize frames or shields, and then we start sketching. We look at colour trends, the DNA of the brand, the logos. We share our sketches with the fashion house, and we work together to build a collection that marries with the designer’s fashion line for the season.
Q. Can you give me some examples of this process for specific brands?
In the case of the new Donna Karan collection, we were inspired by Donna’s original Seven Easy Pieces collection from 1984 to create the Seven Easy Shapes, all in black and gold, just like her collection.
The Victoria Beckham optical collection is chic and sophisticated, much like the fashion line. There are square, aviator and navigator styles that are fashion-forward yet classic. Victoria Beckham started in sun. Based on customer feedback, we have now worked with her to translate the DNA of the sun collection into optical.
Our use of logos has evolved and changed over time, and is very much driven by the brand and consumer. For example, with Lanvin, the logo will be very prominent on the frame because their consumers are looking for visible logos. In the case of Lanvin, we have been working with Bruno Sialelli (Lanvin Creative Director) since day one. We have been able to help interpret his vision for the collection into eyewear and are excited by the new collection. We have just launched a few styles in sun and the optical collection will debut in 2021.
For Salvatore Ferragamo, we have interpreted the brand’s iconic Gancini motif and Vara bow into the temples. We build the collection with the fashion house so that it links to the runway design. While sun is still the majority of business, we are seeing optical grow faster. This speaks to the consumer desire to see strong design cues in their optical frames.
With Longchamp, we have featured the horse logo and Roseau hinge in a subtle way as a nod to the heritage of the brand.
Q. How many collections do you typically release for each brand across a year?
We typically release two collections each year, for autumn/winter and spring/ summer. They are released in Australia in January, March, July and September.
Q. With so many brands and so many collections released each year, how do you balance brand continuity with the need to release something new and exciting?
This is a very good question! I have to say that I can count on a great team of professionals. Together, from the first sketches, we start to envisage the new trends, while also making sure that we embrace the DNA of each single brand. Each sunglass that we design must be exciting for us first.
Q. Which brands were your star performers in 2020?
Key growth brands in the past year were Nike, Salvatore Ferragamo, Longchamp, Lacoste, Nautica and Columbia. Our newest licenses, Victoria Beckham, Draper James and Donna Karan performed in line with expectations.
Q. What do you find most challenging about creating eyewear for the runway – and what are the thrills?
The process dedicated to the design and creation of the first pieces that will walk on the show is much faster since inputs from the creative designers are provided only after having defined the overall theme and look of the runway. It is quite challenging, however, the thrills come with making it happen and then seeing how beautiful the sunglasses are on the runway.
Q. How do you take designs from the runway and transfer them into collections for consumers?
As a general rule, all of our runway pieces are made available for retail and the details featured on those sunglasses (i.e. temple treatments, logos, etc.) are normally also featured on additional shapes to create a more comprehensive product category.
Q. Sustainability is the current buzzword – what is Marchon doing to enhance sustainability in terms of manufacture of eyewear?
We recently launched the Dragon Upcycled collection which features frames made from recycled water bottles. The fabrication process begins with five plastic bottles, which are manually separated and selected. Next, the recycled waste is washed thoroughly and cut into chips. The chips are pressed into small pellets, then melted down and injected into a frame. Implementing recycled materials into the manufacturing process helps to reduce Dragon’s carbon footprint and preserve our planet, while providing the same lightweight, durable quality that Dragon eyewear is known for. We are very excited to bring this product to market and are seeing a great response from our consumers. We have also incorporated this technology into a collection for Lacoste.
But Marchon is not only focused on Upcycled collections – we recently launched a capsule product for Salvatore Ferragamo with bio-based content, which makes use of natural renewable resources (derived from castor oil) that do not grow at the expense of food crops and do contribute to reduced CO2 emissions.
Q. What do you love most about your job?
Can I say everything? What I love most is when we start to edit our collection and I see all the final prototypes in front of me. I also love the excitement from our sales forces when we present our new collections.
Q. What brand particularly inspires you as a designer and why?
Recently, Lanvin, which we have just launched, and Victoria Beckham. Lanvin because it is a new endeavour for us and with Bruno Sialelli we have done a very cool and unique collection. Victoria Beckham because of the feminine, yet self-confident look we have created, combined with the particular use of the colour combinations.
Contact: Marchon Eyewear (AUS) 02 9697 8080
Tailoring for the Australian Market
“As one of the world’s largest designers, manufacturers and distributors of quality eyewear and sun wear, we want to be the best partner we can be to support our partners’ needs with really great frames that we know patients want,” Mr Saffin told mivision.
“With this in mind, we closely follow consumer demands and shifting trends, and continuously enhance our brand and product offerings to ensure we have a world class portfolio of fashion, lifestyle and performance brands at premium price points. With both frame and lenses assembled in Sydney, we are able to execute with speed to deliver the right brands and products at the right price.”
Mr Saffin said Marchon Eyewear has been working during the COVID-19 pandemic to develop and enhance business to business processes.
“We have focused on further development of our IT integrations during this period. We have updated our B2B integrations to ensure practices have flexibility in regards to managing their stock needs and managing their inventory. Our portals mean that live inventory can be seen 24 hours a day and any inventory needs can be attended to at a time that suits the practice, not when it suits the sales representative or supplier. We have been very consistent. We have continued to invest in inventory and to support our customers in managing their inventory levels. We have been very diligent with our supply chain partners to ensure we could meet practice needs. This has put us in a very strong position, especially given the rebound in business that we have seen coming from our partners.”