Interview of the Month
December 06, 2018

A new collection by the Italian label Frenk creates super light designs in fine quality materials such as titanium and acetate.

Axel Da Deppo, General Manager, spoke to 20/20 Europe.

“Every great design begins with an even better story”
Axel Da Deppo, FRENK

Q: Describe the focus in your new collections for 2019.

A: For 2019 we will introduce new optical and sunglasses models. The focus is placed on the ‘lightness’ of the frames. We use very thin acetate with titanium temples. Some models are created exclusively in titanium.
The sunglass designs include the mask lens concept with some parts that are lasered to have a matt finish and matching full titanium temples.

Q: As a small artisan producer, identify the key features of the frames and any special techniques used to create them.

A: All the new models will come with a new hinge.  The existing collection was characterized by a special patented hinge, but the minimum dimension was 7mm and this was affecting the design.
For this reason we started thinking about how to improve and reduce the size. We have developed a completely new version, which is easier for the optician to adjust or replace; the design has a cylindrical shape in order to have the same style and feel that our customers will instantly recognise.

Q: Do the early Frenk designs have an influence, and if so how?

A: Our past is very important. My grandfather founded the company in 1958, so I still have many old frames in my archive; it’s amazing to see some of those products, made completely by hand, that today would be a real challenge to re-produce.
Of course all these products are an important part of our heritage and offer inspiration for new designs.
For our collection launching at Mido, we have studied some of our oldest models, produced in the 1980s, and starting from that concept, we have developed something new.

Q: Which are your next optical fairs and which markets are you targeting at this time in terms of your growing distribution?

A: I’m just back from some fairs and workshops. We were in Miami at the end of October and then Hong Kong and Dubai in November. Our next fairs are Opti in January and then Mido in Milan.
We started last year to open the German market with some reps. Our team is growing and I’m confident for the future.
We have staff in the office who speak fluent German in order to offer the best post-sale service - that is another important focus for us.

Q: How would you describe the Italian market this year?

A: The Italian market is our home market, so we are trying to grow….but we do take care when making a selection of the shops in order to be represented in the best way. We are co-operating mostly with independent stores who are looking for special designs.
The Italian market is a hard market as most of the biggest players are from Italy and it is therefore highly competitive.
Generally we are also seeing a rise in the number of niche brands appearing every year. This can be good, but many of them cannot survive after 1-2 years, and this can create distrust with opticians. On occasions we feel the effect of that.

Q: What are your ambitions for the next 12 months?

A: We are going to invest in marketing to ensure our brand and products are known by the consumer. The Frenk collection is mature. We want to grow successfully in markets like Germany, and consolidate in other markets. We expect to start our distribution in the US very soon.

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