Interview of the Month
January 03, 2018

British eyewear company launches licensed collections with Land Rover.

British eyewear company, Eyespace, have formed a licensing partnership with global motoring manufacturer, Land Rover. In line with the award-winning frame supplier’s focus on Great British Design, the new partnership sees Eyespace develop, produce and distribute the first ever ranges of sunglasses and optical styles for the motoring giant – an Interbrand “World’s Top 100” company – under the ‘Range Rover’ and ‘Land Rover’ labels. 20/20 Europe asked Managing Director Jayne Abel about the new partnership ahead of the launches at OPTI and 100% Optical.

Q: You announced a new partnership with Land Rover in October 2017. Comment on this first licensing partnership.

A: The move into licensed eyewear, and specifically the collaboration with Land Rover, has been primarily driven by a gap in the market that we identified for a strong male brand centred around style, innovation, quality and most importantly, lifestyle. The Land Rover ethos transitions exceptionally well into the design of eyewear and the customer demographic is remarkably far-reaching, so this highly-structured product range had to tick all the boxes for technical ability, fashion and quality, with well thought-out sizing and exceptionally well-balanced eyeshapes. With an exceptionally strong emphasis on style, design and innovation combined with an inherent desire to be an ambassador for British industry, there are very strong parallels between Eyespace and Land Rover, so the decision to partner with them was one of the easiest we have made as a company.

Q: When and where will the collection launch and what events are planned for the launch?

A: The international preview of Land Rover prescription sunglasses will be at Opti Munich (Stand C3.235), with the debut of the optical frame collection following in London at 100% Optical.

Q: What is the main direction in terms of style, design and innovation?

A: Land Rover is centred around adventure and the great outdoors; as a lifestyle brand they famously deliver ‘above and beyond’. They have an enviable presence in the UK, as the 11th most valuable British brand overall and as our country’s biggest vehicle exporter, so it has been vital that the essence of the cars and the company mantra are translated seamlessly into the eyewear products. Our design teams have immersed themselves in the technical finesse of the vehicle design, closely following the shape and form of the cars’ unique lines and multi-layered micro-branding that subtly says “Land Rover”.
Globally they have successfully infiltrated a lifestyle ethos, sponsoring international events (Rugby World Cup, Americas Cup, Invictus Games) and their marketing innovations reach consumers directly through celebrity ambassadorships (Ben Ainsley, Bear Grylls, Jonny Wilkinson) and high-profile endorsements from the James Bond movies, Victoria and David Beckham and the Royal Family. Reflecting this, the Land Rover sunglass range of 20 pieces is fully polarised and incorporate new OBEX™ technology in some models featuring high-fashion mirrored, polarised lenses with a saltwater-safe, hydrophobic and oleophobic coating.

Q: Will there be two lines for both Land Rover and Range Rover - detail the collections and whether you will include ophthalmic and sun. Will the collection be available in opticians exclusively?

A: We have had a very strong response to the launch, with high pre-sales for the sunglasses, along with unprecedented interest in the optical launch, both in the UK and from across the world. Later this year will see the much-anticipated launch of Range Rover sunglasses and eyewear, one of the most luxurious technical eyewear brands the optical market will have ever seen.
With such strong appeal and potential for the brand, plus the year-round demand for sunglasses, we want to make these products available internationally as quickly as possible, so in addition to optical practices, the sunglasses will be available on the Land Rover online store in Spring 2018 and a select number of models can be purchased in Land Rover showrooms across the UK - then later, globally. We are seeing such incredible interest from outside the UK that we are now actively seeking premium distribution partners to expand coverage across Europe.

Q: Does Eyespace have any other licences in the pipeline for 2018 launch?

A: We have always taken product design very seriously, so it has been an absolute privilege and pleasure to work with a world-leading company as professionally progressive as Land Rover. Our designers have worked closely with theirs, to produce what we believe is one of the strongest and well thought out men’s eyewear collections to hit the optical market in years. With the introduction of sunwear and optical collections for both brands, we feel a deep sense of responsibility to successfully transition the Land Rover and Range Rover brands into optics - and doing that on a global scale will keep us busy for at least the next 2 years while we investigate new licensing opportunities.

Q: Outline the current direction as regards the other “house” brands at Eyespace.

A: Our 6 award-winning flagship brands, exclusively available to independent opticians, are the foundation of Eyespace and have found a natural position in practices alongside the most notable designer collections. Our in-house design team are extremely focused on evolving the latest fashion trends whilst delivering great value by investing in new, specialist materials and finishes.
Internationally, our signature collections are proving incredibly popular with patients: Cocoa Mint offers women chic, fashion-forward eyewear with a relaxed glamour feel; for the man of today, the Jensen range delivers progressive European style and incorporates the uber-innovative and technical Jensen Black sub-collection, featuring FLUIDFLEX hinge technology; and for children, the high-energy Rock Star range is a big hit, bringing the hottest mini-celebrity looks to practices, inspiring individual style and self-confidence in young patients.

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