February 24, 2022
Barbara De Rigo, Chief Marketing Officer
Launched last October, De Rigo’s new house brand is all for and about women. Bringing together 40 years of savoir-faire, Yalea’s designs are shying away from fashion trends to cater to every personality. As the brand prepares the launch of its second and third collections in 2022, Chief Marketing Officer Barbara De Rigo talks about the idea for Yalea’s conception, the behind-the-scenes of the creative process and her vision for the future of the line.
Q: What prompted the launch of Yalea? How does the brand respond to the increasingly competitive landscape of the optical market?
A: For some years we had been pondering the idea of launching a female brand but internally there were different opinions because women tend to be more sensitive to brands than men. In recent years, however, the market has evolved and we have noticed that women are taking a different approach to eyewear. From various market research it has emerged that, rather than brand names, people (both men and women) firstly prioritise design, fit, comfort and lightness. We are also aware that we are living in a new era with an increasingly evolved consumer who is also looking for values in a brand. The pandemic has increased this need, substantially changing the style of consumption. In this sense even the conception of a new eyewear collection such as Yalea can contribute to communicating a new vision of freedom of expression and independence. Yalea is a brand that speaks to women, to their hearts and minds.
Q: Tell us about the inspiration behind the brand’s concept. Why was it important to include a 100% female house brand to De Rigo’s portfolio?
A: What inspired us in the case of Yalea was the female world in general. Our aim was to create a timeless product that goes beyond the fashions and trends of the moment. We wanted an elegant product that could last in time. Every model is dedicated to women who in their lives have been able to give back something important to the world, distinguishing themselves for their life choices, commitment and the goals they have achieved. A tribute to women of different backgrounds, cultures, ages and eras who are not necessarily famous. This is why Yalea stands out from the other De Rigo house brands - (Police, Lozza and Sting) which are predominantly for a male consumer - and completes our offer.
\\ Ella sunglasses by Yalea Eyewear
Q: What is the roll out of this collection? How has it been received and which are your strongest markets thus far?
A: Yalea will have two main releases per year, the first one has been presented to the market in the 3Q of 2021. So far feedback has been extremely positive, customers really appreciate the design, the great quality/price ratio but also the values and the storytelling behind the brand. The brand is distributed at a global level but the key markets at the moment are Iberia, Italy, France, Germany, USA and Brazil.
Q: Give us an insight into the creative process behind the brand. What have been the most exciting parts of developing the aesthetic of the new line?
A: The Yalea collection has been developed to emphasise the natural beauty of every woman, and to be inclusive. These concepts guided the entire creative process. We designed easy-to-sell front shapes that fit different face shapes and different sizes in order to cover the needs of different women, including the ones with a small face (we created a special petite capsule for them). For sure a very exciting part has been represented by the development of colour options. We wanted to have a joyful, elegant and feminine collection and we really enjoy playing with different kinds of acetate, patterns, metal and coloured enamels.
Q: Yalea’s styles stand out for their timeless contemporary design. How did the decision to stay away from seasonal fashion trends come about?
A: Yalea goes beyond fashion and wants to inspire strength and confidence, combining aesthetic and ethical values with which each and every woman can identify. Consistent with our values, the shapes in the collection are intended to frame the face and enhance it, making every woman feel beautiful and entirely comfortable in her glasses, without hiding her features. The beauty of a woman is both internal and external and the eyewear should enhance it, regardless of fashion trends.
Q: Cindy Crawford and Bianca Balti are the faces behind the launch of Yalea. How do these iconic models embody the values of the brand?
A: The two women chosen to endorse the Yalea brand - Cindy Crawford and Bianca Balti - further echo this ethos. Two internationally renowned models - differing in age and style - but both expressions of harmony between exterior and interior beauty. Two women committed to promoting a conscious, independent and attentive take on femininity, in keeping with the values that characterise Yalea.
Q: Which are the key features of the optical frames and sunglasses, both in terms of colour and materials? Are there any particular models you would highlight?
A: Yalea’s collection is easy-to-wear and synonymous with outstanding quality: meticulous attention to details, materials and production techniques. The collection, which features an elegant and timeless design, stands out for the sophisticated combinations of different acetates and the masterly use of coloured enamels that personalise the metal frames. The colour palette chosen and the joyful and elegant chromatic combinations suggest a renewed sense of femininity, in which the nude tones are illuminated by coral-hued notes to symbolise the strength, passion and vitality of women.
The square-shaped Amalia sunglasses by Yalea Eyewear
Even the logo expresses essentiality and elegance through the choice of a clean and sober font, with a touch of originality provided by the inversion of the letter ‘Y’. Within the collection there are also some petite styles, designed for women with smaller faces.
Q: What can you tell us about upcoming additions to the collection? Are there any new releases lined up for 2022?
A: Yalea’s second collection will be presented in January 2022 and the third one in the 3Q of 2022. We will continue to present both sunglasses and prescription frames.
Q: What is your vision and aspirations for the brand? How do you see Yalea evolving in the next few five years, both in terms of design and market expansion?
A: Our vision is to become the eyewear brand of choice in the female mid-segment. A brand that embraces and transcends fashion, to inspire strength and confidence in women, to make them feel good - elegant and spontaneous at all times. Our mission is to create an eyewear collection with an excellent quality-price ratio and design that is simultaneously timeless yet immersed in the present.