Sunglasses are a fashion staple even to the most conservatively-dressed man out there. They’re essential not only for the extra points in style they bring, but also for the protection they provide our eyes. While you may be a simple guy who buys $9.95 shades at H&M (this is great if you lose them a lot), you may also be one of the many who don’t mind shelling out some extra dollars for a pair with better quality and design. Depending on your favorite brand, the price of one pair can cost anywhere from $80 to high triple digits. But what exactly is the difference between the sunglasses sold by your favorite brands? Truthfully, not much. They’re all made by the same company: Luxottica.
Luxottica is an Italian company founded in 1961. They not only manufacture for over 80% of the eyewear brands we know, but they also own a wide range of stores catering to different types of customers. These stores include Lenscrafters, Sears Optical, Target Optical, and even Glasses.com. When you realize the true power of Luxottica as a market leader, 80% doesn’t seem so surprising anymore.
If you think that you’re safe from Luxottica’s grasp just because you don’t shop at these stores, you’re mistaken. Leonardo Del Vecchio’s company also manufactures sunglasses and frames for designer brands like Chanel, Prada, Burberry, Ray-Ban, Persol, Oakley, Ralph Lauren, Giorgio Armani, Versace, and Dolce & Gabbana.
This domination of the eyewear industry has helped Del Vecchio, a former oprhan, amass a current net worth of $21 billion. That’s billion with a b. At almost 80 years old, Del Vecchio is living a life that’s a complete opposite of the life he lived as a child, when he was given by his mother to an orphanage due to her inability to support him financially.
Sunglasses aren’t reserved for the fashion-conscious; they’re for everyone from your average Joe to your runway models. Despite most shades being created by Luxottica, the looks and prestige between each brand that sells them will vary. It’s okay to shell out more for these if you’d like, just don’t be under the impression that a higher price tag corresponds to better quality, because that won’t always be the case. Plus, a well-fitting $80-pair of sunglasses will probably look better anyway than a $200-pair that was just not meant for your facial features. Choose wisely!
(Featured image: Original by Zain Mobeen)