Find Out How Dresden Is Disrupting The Shady Eyewear Industry
The business of helping people see clearly is generally a bit of a blurry one. While anyone who has purchased eyewear knows how pricey glasses can get, they may not know the reason why.
One single (massive) company, Luxottica, controls the majority of the global eyeglass industry. And it’s not exactly the most loved company in the world.
For those in the dark, Luxottica is the leading name in the eyeglass business of recent decades, especially when it comes to designer frames.
Brands owned and licensed under the Luxottica name include names from Armani, Brooks Brothers, and Chanel to Coach, Oakley, and Versace. Yes, pretty much every brand we all know and love. The company also owns LensCrafters, Pearle Vision, Sears Optical, Sunglass Hut, and Target Optical.
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While they obviously win points with their quality offerings, the way they climbed to the top of the eyewear game is a bit of a shady story.
Essentially, Luxottica grew by buying its competition, one big purchase at a time, and by bullying its suppliers and removing their products from store shelves (you can read about the dirty details here).
In its biggest move to date, last year, Luxottica merged with Essilor, the global leader in prescription eyewear and contact lenses, to form EssilorLuxottica.
What this means is that there is minimal competition in the eyewear industry, leaving the Italian company free to set any prices it chooses, resulting in markups for lenses and frames of up to 1000 per cent (!).
The truth is that eyewear makes such a dent in the wallet thanks to these markups, but the actual cost of making frames and lenses is incredibly minimal.
According to industry insiders, the latter apparently only costs $5-$15 to produce – an angering figure for anyone who has had to begrudgingly purchase eyewear as a medical necessity simply to help navigate their way through life.
Now, however, an Australian company is disrupting the eyewear industry, one bold and colourful pair of glasses at a time.
Founded in Australia in 2014 by Bruce Jeffreys and Jason McDermott, Dresden shakes things up with its revolutionary modular glasses and their unique sustainably made frames, and a zero waste, closed loop system.
With a mission to attainably transform people’s lives through vision (i.e. to make glasses affordable again), Dresden has created a system offering playful, durable, interchangeable, and super affordable glasses and sunglasses – and they’ve recently opened up shop in Toronto.
With prices starting at $49, the brand offers one frame style for men, women, and kids, in sizes ranging from extra small to large, but in over 16 standard and hundreds of blended unique colours.
“We see ourselves as democratizing the eyewear industry. We’re providing accessible eyecare and eyewear around the world with one universal frame. We’re looking forward to sharing our perspective – and our glasses – with Canadians,” said Bruce Jeffreys, Co-Founder of Dresden.
How they are able to disrupt such an established and dominated industry comes down to a relatively simple business model: one single frame style in four sizes and an unwavering focus on waste reduction.
The brands forward-thinking, zero-waste, closed-loop manufacturing system has resulted in a massive 99 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions, compared with traditional metal-hinged glasses.
Owning its own manufacturing facility has offered Dresden further opportunity to make strides in the eco-sustainability realm.
The company has created limited-edition collections made from recycled plastics and waste materials like wood composite, recycled Australian money, plastic lids, and ocean waste.
Dresden also reuses excess dye-coloured plastic waste from the moulds used to create one-of-a-kind transitional frames with blended colours, creating exclusive ‘one-off’ colourway options.
Whether you opt for a translucent pair, or go bold with vibrant colours, the durable Dresden glasses make a lot of sense when it comes to your ‘seeing clearly’ cause.
Your strained eyes – and your wallet – will thank you.
Featured Image: Instagram/@dresdenvisionca
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