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Thread: Italian made frames now on par with Chinese made?

  1. #1
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    Confused Italian made frames now on par with Chinese made?

    I sell most high end and middle end frames and I noticed a precipitous drop in the quality of eye wear coming from Italy. The ones that stand out are the poor quality Channel and Prada acetate frames. The quality control is horrible.

    Whereas I find the frames made in Japan superior like Dita, Masunaga, Yurman, and Face Fonts.

    Considering Italian frames were the high standard, when did their quality take a fall?

    I have only been in the business for ten years so not much experience.

    Thanks.

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    I believe the words "Made In" and "Manufactured In" have very different meanings. Some say that components are made in China, shipped to Europe as front and temple where they simply assembled and are labeled as "Italy" "France" "Germany" etc. Im sure not all companies do this but I believe there are quite a few that do to take advantage of the cheap labor rates in China.

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    Japanese factories enforce high Q/C standard even most of their products are actually made in China. The most common problems on Chinese made frames are right eye and left eye rimwires soldered slightly axis off! For plastic frames, Italian and Japanese zyl material are more rigid/solid and will not shrink as much like Chinese made acetate sheets. IF we don't sell Chinese frames quick enough while they are still fresh made, I am not surprise to see metal temple core sticking out .25mm EACH YEAR!

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    Acetate sheets have to be aged ........................

    Acetate sheets have to be aged in controlled conditions for a given time (can't remember exactly how long) before working them to make frames. I believe it is at least 12 month.
    You can get an idea by reading about storage of actetate films at https://www.imagepermanenceinstitute.org/webfm_send/299
    Read about Vinegar Syndrome.VINEGAR SYNDROME
    I still have about 3500 brand new frames made in France and Germany back in the 1970s and to 1990s which are as flexible and solid as the day they were made. not one has a faded color.

    Of course the chinese have a stepped up production as they are in heavy competition. Alibaba says there are 517 of them. They probably use acetate that has not been properly aged.
    Last edited by Chris Ryser; 04-08-2012 at 09:37 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Ryser View Post
    I still have about 3500 brand new frames made in France and Germany back in the 1970s and to 1990s which are as flexible and solid as the day they were made. not one has a faded color.

    .

    Ok I will bite , why do you still have 3500 frames from the 70's ?

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    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter Craig's Avatar
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    I also want to ask? Are they for Fezz and his collection at some point?

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    How can you be sure they are Italian Made. I have heard of frames being shipped to other counties and relabled.
    *Please do not assume anything I say is fact. You must verify my comments before forming an opinion of validity. Please know I have not the wherewithal to insult anyone. Never, never take offense. I mean none. Always with a smile.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Speed View Post
    How can you be sure they are Italian Made. I have heard of frames being shipped to other counties and relabled.

    I often hear things, too, Speed! You gotta stop listening to those finger puppets!......and those voices on your shoulder.....ignore them, too.

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    Blue Jumper

    Quote Originally Posted by idispense View Post

    Ok I will bite , why do you still have 3500 frames from the 70's ?


    Some business undertaker (bancrupty trustee) offered them to me in the mid 90s, about twice as many, about 15 years ago, mostly designer names, for a low price and I took the bait thinking that I could sell all them fast. I did sell half of them and the rest has been sitting in the warehouse ever since.


    Quote Originally Posted by Craig

    I also want to ask? Are they for Fezz and his collection at some point?

    I believe not. After my retirement I want to make a monument with them. I have the chemical materials and knowdlege to fuse them properly together, and solder the metal ones. I have a beautiful 4 plier electric 220V soldering unit, which cost me $ 600.00 in 1970.

    This sculpture will be about 12 feet high and 6 feet in diameter. It will be called "Remembering the days of high quality of Eyeglasses". It also will have a present B&M retail sales value of about $ 70,000 with a few month of work to assemble it.

    After public introduction with press and other fuss I might sell it to some large optical corporation for decoration of their main lobby in their headquarters or donate it to some national museum.

    No Fezz collection this time.............................
    Chris Ryser
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    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter SeaU2020's Avatar
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    Luxottica stopped worrying about quality frames since they are more concerned with how to make money by having their hands in everything (shops, insurance).
    What Luxottica has done to the optical industry has been a disgrace on ALL levels. The quality is low, they make sure all employees know how replaceable and dispensible they are. They will cut any corner for the almighty dollar and WE are paying for it. It's the "Wal-Mart business model of optical". Ruining our businesses since 1994.
    The only difference is that I choose not to go to Wal-Mart or Sam's Club. I can't seem to avoid Luxottica no matter how much I despise the company.
    The Safilo frames I get from Italy are much better quality.
    ~~ There's a battle between what the cook thinks is high art and what the customer wants to eat ~~

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    Actually in Italy it can say: "Made in Itally" if it's only assembled there. Probably most "Italian Frames" are made in China.

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    Good point Chris, I had completely forgotten about that...


    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Ryser View Post
    Acetate sheets have to be aged in controlled conditions for a given time (can't remember exactly how long) before working them to make frames. I believe it is at least 12 month.
    You can get an idea by reading about storage of actetate films at https://www.imagepermanenceinstitute.org/webfm_send/299
    Read about Vinegar Syndrome.VINEGAR SYNDROME
    I still have about 3500 brand new frames made in France and Germany back in the 1970s and to 1990s which are as flexible and solid as the day they were made. not one has a faded color.

    Of course the chinese have a stepped up production as they are in heavy competition. Alibaba says there are 517 of them. They probably use acetate that has not been properly aged.
    Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy ~Benjamin Franklin

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    Boy, 5 or 6 years ago I brought in Prada because I had about 19 patients ask for it. I ordered 24 pieces and sold 16. Of those 16, 11 were warranty repairs because of quality issues. So your Prada complaint is nothing new. I think the other 5 just didn't complain.

    Many Italian manufactures now use what is called a "screw drop", all the pieces are made in China and the drop a screw in Italy, and voila, its Italian.

    The key is not where its made, some great frames actually come out China, but the quality of the components and assembly used.

    French and German hinges are far superior to anything else in the world. If you use those you have solved 3/4 of your quality issues.
    Mazzucchelli makes some of the finest Acetates, but not only in Italy, they have plants everywhere now. All of their plants produce top quality product. I could save a lot of money though and go with cheaper plastics but it will show.

    The 2nd part to assembly is piece matching. A good company will match temples and frame fronts that have the best fit, moving some around if they don't, but its more labor intensive. A cheap company will throw the first pair together and leave it that way no matter how it looks.

    A good frame company will do some hand work on those assembled pieces to get a smooth line where the temple meets the frame front, so that they line up perfectly.

    In addition, a good company will have more QC and reject sub-standard eye wear at final inspection.

    I can have great frames out of China or crappy ones out of Italy or Japan, its in the components and the attitude.

    Quote Originally Posted by denizen View Post
    I sell most high end and middle end frames and I noticed a precipitous drop in the quality of eye wear coming from Italy. The ones that stand out are the poor quality Channel and Prada acetate frames. The quality control is horrible.

    Whereas I find the frames made in Japan superior like Dita, Masunaga, Yurman, and Face Fonts.

    Considering Italian frames were the high standard, when did their quality take a fall?

    I have only been in the business for ten years so not much experience.

    Thanks.
    Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy ~Benjamin Franklin

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    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter SeaU2020's Avatar
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    The problem with being an independedant ECP and Luxottica is that it's akin to running a nightclub in Chicago in the 1930's without the mob.
    If I had jumped on the "ban all Luxottica" bandwagon, I would never have been accepted for Eyemed insurance(owned by Luxotica). In order to accept Eyemed, you MUST buy frames from them.
    If we had not done that, our business would have died by now. Every year, more and more VSP account are switching from VSP to Eyemed. 6 years ago I would say Eyemed was about 5% of our business. Now its about 30% and rising.

    And now my patients go to Costco to use the VSP, which was supposed to be a company all about the 3 O's.

    Labs are now getting monopolized also. It is a tough world to attempt to be be "independant" .
    The only place I see that Luxottica ban working is high-end shops in rich areas. Here, in "Mayberry" we have to work with the insurances people have.
    (now I am removing the soapbox and putting on my big-girl pants and going to have an awesome day!)
    Last edited by SeaU2020; 04-10-2012 at 11:59 AM.
    ~~ There's a battle between what the cook thinks is high art and what the customer wants to eat ~~

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    We don't carry a single Luxotica frame yet we are Eyemed providers. When you submit an Eyemed order it will even ask you if the frame is a "LUXOTICA" frame. You are not required to sell their product.

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    Quote Originally Posted by L.A.B. View Post
    We don't carry a single Luxotica frame yet we are Eyemed providers. When you submit an Eyemed order it will even ask you if the frame is a "LUXOTICA" frame. You are not required to sell their product.
    Yes, that is funny we take Eyemed too but do not carry any of thier frames. Why would we they are junk. The ins. is pretty good. The people that have it are good and they upgrade.

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    I have worked at two private OD practices- both accept Eyemed, and neither of them sold Luxottica frames! You are right about the quality. Where my office is located, in Austin TX, fe wof our patients are stuck on silly brand names. I have been selling an awful lot of Lafont out here! Lafont is made in France- super good quality and getting to be one of my all time favorite lines of frames. Also check out OGI and ProDesign. Non-Luxottica frames, good quality.

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    I am not sure on the other Lux frames but I do not think that the Ray Bans are not poor quality. They are not bad even though they moved their operation to China.

    It is interesting that Italy is so liberal with their "Made in Italy" label. If you allow almost anyone to stamp that on their product, over time it will severely dilute their image.

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    my Ray bans made in china break @ the hinge all the time & the zyls don't hold their adjustment & if heated, their hinges become loose & rock.

    Always keep in mind, designer frames are made more for their looks than quality.

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    Quote Originally Posted by uncut View Post
    I often hear things, too, Speed! You gotta stop listening to those finger puppets!......and those voices on your shoulder.....ignore them, too.
    You selling a lot of "itallian" frames?
    *Please do not assume anything I say is fact. You must verify my comments before forming an opinion of validity. Please know I have not the wherewithal to insult anyone. Never, never take offense. I mean none. Always with a smile.

  21. #21
    Doh! OptiBoard Gold Supporter braheem24's Avatar
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    Cazal pitting in 2 and a half months of wear, previous cazal pair also non-titanium worn by same customer for 11 years with no sign of wear.

    They're all banking on reputation to make up for a lackluster previous year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Speed View Post
    You selling a lot of "itallian" frames?
    Not so much, lately.

    I do understand what you were getting at, when you question the country of origin authenticity. It is lax, and confusing, from a standards point of view.

    The terms are not uniform with all countries, and import and export laws are alternately lax, or strict, depending on where in the world you are.

    For example: The use of "Made in ________, or Frame ___________. The second stamping eludes to sometimes assembly only, or origin, depending on country.

    As braheem24 has pointed out plating quality has decreased, but cost of gold has risen dramatically, and I'm thinking that a the manufacturer, perhaps falsely, is assuming the consumer might not buy a new one built/plated like one from 11 years ago.

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    [QUOTE=denizen;420091]I am not sure on the other Lux frames but I do not think that the Ray Bans are not poor quality. They are not bad even though they moved their operation to China.

    Good observation denizen. Luxottica quality, has for 25 years, been at the top of the industry. with international awards no other manufacturer has achieved. I have personally sold them at the retail level and at the wholesale level for 30+ years and had fewer than 5% warranty returns. They have the longest warrany of any major manufacturer ( 3 years on everything they sell) If they were as bad as some here say they would not be able to stay in business.
    This is nothing more than Lux bashing at its finest.

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