An epochal shift is underway, according to the Italian company

Author: Clodagh Norton

Feature Story
July 27, 2020

Stefano Scauzillo, the owner of Essedue Sunglasses and Italian factory Essequadro Srl tells 20/20 EUROPE about their evolving focus on responsible, sustainable approaches in product development and production.

Q: What will be the focus of the Essedue collection next season?

A: Essedue's FW '20 collection will be completely Limited Edition, and it will be a collection with new models. The concept that we will inaugurate will respond to the new mission of the Essequadro company, based on an eco-friendly, green-living approach.
Our eco-friendly planning has been underway in the last year with a new project we call ‘Oscar’: Essequadro has made a major investment together with the National University Research Centre for the production of cellulose acetate from cigarette ends. The aim is to eliminate a residue from the planet that is not biodegradable. In 2021 we will be able to have some of our styles made in this material in a completely unique recycled capsule. In the new collection, we have begun to express this new mission we have as a company. The Essedue Limited Edition will be a numbered collection, limited stock, as a company choice to contain waste through a limited number of timeless glasses. This means the frames will also be keenly priced at the same level as the current main line models.

Q: Will the latest Essedue campaign take the same creative and eye-catching path as previous campaigns? Tell us if you can about the launch for the new season?

A: We started from a thought by Sartre: "Hell is other people".  Other people are – on the contrary - an essential element of our being and of the consciousness we have of ourselves. It is in front of others we can see more or less faithfully the image of our own face. It is in their eyes that we can share fears and joys. From the union of our eyes with those of other people we build our social being. We had thought about this in recent months, and now Covid has confirmed it. After days of loneliness, today we need the eyes and affection of others to give meaning to life. We must reflect on those who love us and those who look at us with affection; everyone gives us back in his or her own way something of our image and, so everyone contributes to making us think what we think of ourselves, becoming what we really are. Essedue's SS20 campaign was born from that: the mirror is a metaphor for reflection. The faces are reflected in others, where two people merge into one. It is in this game of mirrors that glasses assume an essential projection, like faithful companions of our face at all times.

Q: What do you have in the planning in terms of special use of materials, colours and details?

A: We will use 9mm cellulose acetate, worked with heat before milling in order to maintain consistency and malleability for processing. The milling will involve three-dimensional machining. Colours include black and havana, with an urban, elegant and minimal style.

Q: What were the immediate challenges with the lockdown in Italy during for your company and manufacturing facility? What were the main adjustments that you had to make at your factory in Irpinia?

A: We have had major repercussions, but we have never stopped our machines. A few of our workers have continued activities. We have worked on the new collections to be completely prepared and to give clients a sense of security and continuity, to relaunch for Silmo. We have also developed our new mission. We believe we have developed a mature and responsible attitude in terms of sensitivity to environmental concerns and sustainability.

Q: I understand the situation has resulted in an increase in your production in the factory. Please explain this effect and how you are moving forward with an increase in output?

A: In February and March we had many requests from companies in difficulty with production in China. Today we still have a lot of requests for eyewear production coming in. While we are very focused on our own collections right now, we expect the recovery to get underway in September. The industry in Italy is starting to return to some kind of normality, but it will take some time. The crisis will certainly change things a lot, and ophthalmic frames will be our main production focus, as they can be used as protective devices, even with plano lenses.

Q: Do you expect this increase to continue in the months ahead given the global disruption to manufacture elsewhere in the world?

A: There may well be many companies with production in the Far East who wish to return their manufacture to Italy. We are ready. However, we expect this shift to occur gradually in the coming months, once the lockdown is over.

Q: As a family business, you continue to create frames with a combination of traditional techniques and modern technology, is that correct?

A: The frames express a balance between dimensions, sizes, colours and styles. These elements must be balanced and well defined. Even if you want a daring style, it is always necessary that there is a balance in the sizing, dimensions and colours. We try to make classic frames contemporary: frames that are part of the evolution of eyewear history, with an innovative focus.

Q: How do you perceive the Italian eyewear market? What do you most look forward to in the weeks and months to come?

A: Crisis in Ancient Greek means “to separate”. We have a negative meaning of it, but it also has another more positive meaning: “rebirth and improvement”. I think that the market will be divided and reshaped by the epochal economic crisis; and buying patterns will change: more and more optical frames will be designed and produced specifically for protection. Rebirth will also play a part. In the FW '20 collection, we will launch 16 new models, six sunglasses and 10 optical designs and we will prioritize a responsible eco friendly attitude in what we do.

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