Neri Oxman, an unconventional architect
Izipizi, Changing the Way we See Eyeglasses
A French project that has overturned the system between colored frames, vintage style, and accessible prices
Until just a few years ago, a trip to Paris was the perfect opportunity to head to Colette or Merci to pick up the iconic, low-cost Izipizi (at the time known as See Concept) glasses that were sold exclusively there. That, along with the infamous Uniqlo coats until the Japanese retailers opened their latest shop in Milan.
It was a story that began in 2010, when three partners Xavier Aguera, Charles Brun, and Quentin Couturier (high school classmates in Lyon) decided to reimagine the business model for low-cost reading glasses you can find in your local pharmacy or grocery store. They realized it would take just three things: design, quality, and distribution.
Colored frames and a soft touch finish did the rest. After the first collection presented at Maison&Objet back in January 2012, sales shot through the roof. It was just a year after that when the friends and business partners decided to expand the See Concept collection with sunglasses thanks to a select-choice of resellers like Colette, Merci, Le Bon Marché in Paris, Selfridges and Harrods in London, Bloomingdales and the MoMA Design Store in New York, and Isetn in Tokyo.
Where was Italy in all this? In reality, See Concept, and then Izipizi, have always been sold in Milan by Moroni Gomma, who distributes them in all of Italy. So while the trip to Paris wasn’t called for, after all, it was still a good excuse to see the city.
After a few years, the start-up was able to turn the market for luxury glasses inside out, which has long been dominated by the big brands. With products thought of for every moment of life, the See Concept - Izipizi glasses offer frames that are adapted to all face shapes, that are comfortable, and that boast a vintage style with accessible prices. At this point, they’re almost an item to collect in different colors.
With a great product and following, the company looked to rebrand with Izipizi and a direct-to-customer distribution strategy, strengthening their bond with the customer. The first boutique was quick to follow, opening in September of 2017 (46, rue Vieille-du-Temple, nel 4° arrondissement).
The low-cost glasses of Izipizi are featured in six collections, including a children’s frame and a Screen model that fights against the harms of blue light. The innovative lens protects the eyes from the effects of excessive exposure to tablets and other digital devices. Meanwhile, each season sees the addition of limited edition collections. Spring/summer 2018 is focused on Rock Garden, inspired by the natural and mineral beauty of the desert, in 3 forms #C #D #E, and available in the soft shades of Rose Granite, Blue Slate, Gray Marble, and White Silver.
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