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MODO GROUP: combined forces

MODO Group – owners of MODO Eyewear and sustainable eyewear brand ECO, extended their eyewear portfolio in 2023 with the acquisition of Italia Independent, the Italian eyewear brand founded by Lapo Elkann. 20/20 Europe asked Giovanni Lo Faro, Modo Eyewear’s CEO International how the take-over will benefit the Group’s future positioning worldwide and finds out what’s new for 2024 at all three brands.

Q: Modo Group had a busy 2023, not least because of the acquisition of the Italia Independent brand in September. What does this development mean for MODO as a company?

GIOVANNI LO FARO
Giovanni Lo Faro, Modo Eyewear’s CEO International

A: We are enthusiastic about this new adventure! Italia Independent fits perfectly in our brand portfolio and gives us the opportunity to enlarge our audience and to speak one more language. Italia Independent is a new expression for us, but it shares a common philosophy of independence, innovation, design, unique storytelling, together with the Italian heritage.
Its unique appeal of an independent fashion brand appeals to us, together with a clear style statement, a pioneering prowess in communication, and the contamination with other industries.

Q: Outline how you will work with Italia Independent and Lapo Elkann going forward.

A: Italia Independent is Lapo’s baby. It was only natural that he takes part in its relaunch as Creative Director. He is a visionary about the market and new trends. We spoke a lot in the past couple years as we assessed the opportunity to take on the brand, and how it could fit with what we do. Since the start there has been a lot of empathy and like-mindedness – this we think is always key to a successful project, and it makes spontaneous and fun to work together.
The magic he created with this brand is exactly what we want to bring back to amaze the old aficionados of the brand and many new ones, we think. Italia Independent is a love brand, an emotional brand – this feature we will leverage upon to make some noise in the optical and fashion markets.

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Q: Can you share some details as regards further developments in this direction at Modo Group in 2024?

A: Modo, Eco and Italia Independent will become a cohesive portfolio of three brands with different expressions but a common philosophy. We will leverage this synergy on the commercial level, by offering the opportunity to customers that believe in independence, innovation and a unique product and marketing story.
There will be synergies and a reduced environmental impact in shipping the products to our current customers, facilitating reorders which to us are the key to customers’ improved sell-out. In the vast majority of cases our sales team will also be the same and this also helps develop loyalty with our customers and team.

Q: At MIDO, what is new for Modo Eyewear?

A: For MODO this MIDO will be memorable. We are launching a new in-house brand, Italia Independent, and welcoming our clients not only in a brand new booth but also in a piece of art we are building right outside the Hall to convey the brand’s philosophy at its best. It will be an art installation, something really unconventional and never seen at Mido before, that will revamp the spirit of the brand, its past, which is very important, and will give a vision on its future.
The collection we are presenting for I-I is a capsule made of around 110 skus that blends a Hero concept, some new Directional styles and reinterpret Icons from the past with the addition of new cool shapes. It is a colourful collection, fun and trendy.

MODO_SS24_CAMPAIGN

For the advertising campaign of Italia Independent we chose a brand new field: Artificial Intelligence. Who could push the boundaries of experimentation if not Italia Independent? The images are strong and full of the brand’s DNA, the message is loud: Italia Independent is back and ready to rock.
We will unveil the collection during a Press Conference at the Modo booth in MIDO, Lapo will show the new collection and talk about the present and the future of Italia Independent.
That night the party soul of the brand will be greatly back as we will celebrate its return with Modo with all our stakeholders, can’t wait to stun all our guests.

MODO_SS24_CAMPAIGN

Modo will surprise its clientele this season – we’re expanding our Legacy Collection which was launched last season with six models in hyper-thin acetate. HD acetate, a special material that allows hyper-thin constructions without compromising their resistance. The Collection is called Legacy because Modo was born in 1990 with acetates so it is a return to the origins for us, but what we present today is infused with the latest technologies and more than 30 years of experience. In SS24 we’ll have new styles in acetate with the same attention to detail of the season before, with unexpected design tricks like the beveled surfaces, with Visottica Comotec hinges and an artisanal custom wire core, but we will also present a sun version of them with the same features and four styles in titanium. 

Very different from the titanium frames you are used to see at Modo, these have a retro vintage look, come in gold, silver and colours like copper and bronze, with striped rims and retro inspired temples and again we use innovative techniques like the PVD coating, which is the highest quality coating process and the best refined and durable technology. We can say that the Legacy Collection is the perfect expression of Modo’s DNA, where past is mixed with future for timeless frames.
With Eco we will continue to enlarge our offer in the premium segment, improving the quality of our materials and our awarded and well known sun clip-ons. This season we will launch a brand new product family, Biobased Retrospect, styled with an iconic, classic look. The material has been enriched to look like acetate, keeping the typical lightness and comfort of biobased plastic. We introduced a metal core temple construction and end-piece detail that beautifully refine our offer.

Q: Would you say that Modo Eyewear has become more sustainable in the last few years, and what can you pinpoint specifically in terms of special actions or new materials used?

A: Indeed! Eco is a Carbon Negative brand, in a few words we give back more than what we take, this is extraordinary and it should be everybody’s target nowadays. It took us a lot of effort and research but it is the only possible way of working in our opinion.
We are maybe the first company in Eyewear that developed a complete, articulated, accountable Carbon Footprint Report with the aim of gaining greater awareness and control of our environmental performance. We decided to issue this study to evaluate the Carbon Footprint of our three product materials: Biobased, Recycled Metal and Ocean plastic. The study includes frame, lenses, glasses case, cleaning cloth and packaging raw material production, their transport to suppliers, semi-finished products production, packaging reel production, its transport to the Logistic centres, distribution of finished product through retail channel and end of life of the product and packaging.
We also have a Sustainable Office policy applied to all our headquarters and we are one of the first companies which supported HRH The Prince of Wales and Sustainable Markets Initiative’s ‘Terra Carta’ charter, that provides an ambitious roadmap for businesses to move toward a sustainable future. Eco stands out in the market in terms of sustainability, with its 360° approach which includes not only the frames’ materials range but also our logistics, all our POP and cases and all our collateral initiatives, but Modo has already transport bags made from cornstarch, biodegradable and compostable and all the new POP is in recycled acrylic and FSC certified wood. With Italia Independent we are following the same philosophy and all the cases will be in recycled leather. We learnt through the years that every small choice counts and can make the difference, and there is always margin for improvement, we have been sustainability advocates before most of the companies in the industry but there is still much we can do.

Eco_FW23_Wheat_MNBLU_Oleander_DGLD_2000x2800_300ppi

Q: Comment on the achievement of the Carbon Negativity certification achieved by Modo Group in 2023.

A: Since the beginning of our adventure with Eco we felt that producing frames in eco-friendly materials was not enough. For the Eco brand, we conceived a 360 degree approach to our complete impact – from product, to its packaging (which is at least equally important) to all materials and touch points for the brand, to even logistics.
For the company, we conceived an overall purpose that goes beyond just business and encompasses our impact on the world. In this vision, our clients not only are involved but they make the difference. That’s why we started our collaboration with an NGO called Trees for the Future and launched the ECO  – One Frame, One Tree program. With this initiative in 2009 we started planting a tree for any frame purchased, in Tanzania, Senegal and Cameroon, in 2023 we reached the goal of 3.3 million trees planted! That was so great but it has been greater to discover that our trees clean out more CO2 than our eyewear production creates, offsetting a total of 154 million kilograms of CO2! This is what being carbon negative means as a brand and for Eco this is the best result we could reach, definitely.

Q: ECO is one of the most well-known global eyewear brands with a focus on sustainable materials and sustainable creative inputs. What does 2024 hold for the brand?

A: We will continue with our ECO – One Frame, One Tree program and with our Wave of Change initiative, that is helping so much cleaning up beaches and rivers worldwide together with hundreds of volunteers. It is unbelievable to see how Eco is becoming more and more a community. In addition we are working on numbers, we have plenty of certificates and awards about our frames but we are going to share shortly our complete study we issued to evaluate the Carbon Footprint of three of our product materials, our aim is gaining greater awareness and control of our environmental performance and to be able to give our clients any information they desire. Sustainability is an overused term these days, as a brand that gained credibility through the years we want to keep being as much transparent as possible.

Eco_FW23_Cicely_LPUR_2000x2800_300ppi

Q: What are the novelties at MIDO concerning this collection?

A: Eco has been a booming brand since its debut. This MIDO will see a further expansion in its style and quality, the brand’s offer has been developed to reach even the most demanding audience, as always without compromise in terms of design and sustainability.

Q: And for Modo?

A: MIDO will also be the place where we are presenting our new advertising campaign for Modo. The campaign is inspired to Stockholm, the city of one of our headquarters, to its essence, and we did it through light effects that go hand in hand with our new Modo displays and material. We played with colours and shadows in a light environment that breathes style and design.

Modo.com

MODO_SS24_CAMPAIGN

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