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Mido 2014: sunglasses and business in Milan

Italian eyewear industry only grows thanks to international markets: +7.2% mainly towards United States, France and Germany

by Fabio Attanasio
March 31st, 2014

Also this year the 44th edition of MIDO has taken place in the futuristic pavilions of the exhibition center of Rho, near Milan. MIDO is the most important international fair dedicated to Optics, Optometry and Ophthalmology. Despite in 2013 the economic recovery has stabilized in the States and emerging Countries, in Italy the rise is still far away.

According to a report issued by CNEL, apparently 2013 was the worst year in the history of the Italian economy since the second postwar. Nevertheless, Italian exportations rose in 2013 of 7.2% mainly towards United States, France and Germany, pointing incontrovertible evidence: the Italian eyewear industry only grows thanks to international markets. We even produced more in 2013 (+4,3% compared to 2012), but the whole number of factories decreased of 1,3%. Many artisans had to close their workshops, some of them now lice in China, where they teach locals about our productive techniques in change of six-digit wages. 

The insiders have confirmed this evidence. “Some years ago in my village were almost forty factories producing eyeglasses, today four of five are left” – explains Antonio Frescura, founder of Kàdor, a family-run business near Belluno that has been producing eyewear since 1962. Frescura produces almost three hundred hand-made frames per day and holds out against Luxottica’s omnivorous empire. “Luxottica produces in one day what we produce in a year, but we do not impose minimum amounts, we can produce also just one frame for a private customer”.

90% of the production of the industry is absorbed by exportations, thanks to both eyeglasses and sunglasses, but the latter performs better. Anyway, the trade balance is positive compared to 2012: this result means that the eyewear – considered the amount of production – is getting more and more important in the Italian fashion system. In the end, since the internal market is paralyzed, only strangers today can enjoy our made in Italy products.

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