Why are Sunglasses and Prescription Frames so Expensive?
Why are Sunglasses and Prescription Frames so Damn Expensive?
Virtually all major sunglass brands and retailers are owned by a single company: Luxottica. And no one is doing anything to prevent this near-monopolistic, $100-billion industry titan from shamelessly abusing its market power. If you wear designer glasses, there’s a very good chance you’re wearing Luxottica frames.
Luxottica is Everywhere
Its owned and licensed brands include Armani, Brooks Brothers, Burberry, Chanel, Coach, DKNY, Dolce & Gabbana, Michael Kors, Oakley, Oliver Peoples, Persol, Polo Ralph Lauren, Ray-Ban, Tiffany, Valentino, Vogue and Versace.
Italy’s Luxottica also runs EyeMed Vision Care, LensCrafters, Pearle Vision, Sears Optical, Sunglass Hut and Target Optical.
And Luxottica is even bigger after merging last fall with France’s Essilor, the world’s leading maker of prescription eyeglass lenses and contact lenses. Do you have Transitions lenses in your frames? You’re an Essilor customer. The combined entity is called EssilorLuxottica.
CBS News did a pretty in-depth piece that does a great job exposing this practice.
Do I have alternatives to Luxottica?
An awesome Redditor u/bamgrinus created a pretty comprehensive list of independent sunglass and RX eyewear manufacturers. The full list is available here. I reproduced my top 11 favorites below: It's my blog, so WUDN goes right at the top. 🙂
WUDN Handcrafted Wood Sunglasses
Boise, Idaho based supplier with online ordering available worldwide. Every pair plants one tree.
Based in California, available through several online resellers with international shipping available.
Kirk and Kirk
London based maker, with thick, colorful frames. Also allows customization of animal medallions that appear at the temple on certain models. Online ordering worldwide.
Based in LA, specializing in bold, colorful frames with adventurous patterns. Offers direct online sales in the US only.
Premium brand from Germany focusing on minimalist designs. Direct online ordering available in the US and Europe.
US-based online-only, specializing in inexpensive frames/prescription combos, international shipping available.
A Selection of Wooden Sunglasses from an Independent Maker
Why WUDN Loves Aviator Sunglasses
Protect your eyes with real wooden style made famous by aviators since 1937
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