Eyewear Curators: Capsule Collections: Part 3


We have reviewed changing the way eyecare professionals look at how they segment their eyewear. First we wrote about Marketing in Curated Eyewear with part 2 taking a look the Niche-Riche-Funk Frames sector and how it has evolved. Now we are going to talk about Capsule Collections;

You have most likely heard of capsule collections. The term Capsule Collection is a strong trend now and one that eyecare professionals can use. Capsule Collections are defined as ‘ a collection of a few essential items of clothing that don’t go out of fashion, such as skirts, trousers, and coats, which can then be augmented with seasonal pieces.'(Wikipedia). In short, the collections are timeless designs that will never go out of style, just like that basic black skirt and white blouse.

We include in this category as sub-genres: Curated Fashion, Limited Edition and Catwalks and Collaborations.

The Capsule Collection trend is growing for a number of reasons:

  • Designers-Retailers and Celebrities are growing brands with collaborations with attention. For example: Madonna and H&M (sold out) Missoni and Target (sold out) Versace and H&M, Rag and Bone and Barneys. Banton Frameworks with Mamnick for Limited Edition Frames, Italia Independent with Ed Beiner.
  • Enhances the ‘newness’ of the product.
  • Gives a Talk Factor to a brand.

Examples: (2,650, 000 hits on Google for sunglasses, capsule collection)

Capsule Collections can be used for a specific purpose such as Bono and Revo donating back and Steven Alan’s Eyewear Limited Edition that gives back to Eye Care America.


Curated Fashion: Curated Fashions are special refined collections which can also be a capsule collection. Think museums pulling together a collection such as King Tut or Monet art. The same concept can apply to eyewear. One builds a curated eyewear or sunwear look, takes away the clutter and pares it down to a curated look. A good friend of mine has a curated Oliver Peoples eyewear collection that dates back 20 years. A vintage eyewear collection can be curated by being the best of.

As an example,  Zenni Optical just recently launched a curated artist collection, meaning curated fashion doesn’t have to be expensive.


Kering’s Tomas Maier curated collection:


Limited Edition Eyewear is a category in which as the name suggests only a limited number of pieces are made. It is a good way to promote new products and provide a boost in sales. It might also be a testing ground for new markets. Limited Edition is not limited to fashion, for instance Ben and Jerry’s produce Limited Edition Ice Cream. Nor is it limited to luxury and or exclusive products. Core eyewear companies as well as online retailers utilize limited edition products. Knock-arounds, a fun sunglass line, does a limited edition Shark Sunglasses every year for Shark Week.

Limited Edition Launch of Talbot RunHof Sunwear
Limited Edition Launch of Talbot RunHof Sunwear

In some cases  the frames are numbered on the temples. I have seen anywhere from 1 t0 100 pieces made. The advantage of this: Exclusive and appeals to a certain type of consumer, gives a sense of urgency.. buy now or they will be gone and Limited Edition products get alot of press.

Limited Edition, 100 pieces made, wood eyewear by Dolce and Gabanna
Limited Edition, 100 pieces made, wood eyewear by Dolce and Gabanna

This category can include curated and capsule collections, artist collaborations, music collaboration and giveback.

Vinylize-Limited Edition Rock Star Eyewear
Vinylize-Limited Edition Rock Star Eyewear is limited to the amount of vinyl they possess. 

Some Examples:

Other eyewear companies such as Allure’s Marilyn Monroe Eyewear commorates her birthday with a Limited Edition sunglass. Cutler and Gross, Safilo, Tura, Matsuda, Julbo and JF Rey have released Limited Edition Heritage collections to celebrate an anniversary.

Safilo celebrated its 80th anniversary by launching a new limited edition inspired by the legendary glasses once worn by Peggy Guggenheim (1898-1979)

In other cases a few companies such as Steven Alan’s Eyewear Limited Edition  give back to a charity and Kenny Chesney via Costa have a yearly give back sunglass.

Another reason for limited edition is due to the scarcity of materials used. Vinyl Factory has been making vinyl eyewear from Old Vinyl Record. Mercedes Benz and Shwood joined up to produce extremely limited edition (only 10 pieces each) sunglasses. The wood is the same as the dashboard on the new 2014 Class Mercedes.

Mercedes Benz and Shwood Limited Edition
Mercedes Benz and Shwood Limited Edition

Catwalk -Runway Frames are eyeglasses and sunglasses that are exclusively made for runways. They might be just a dramatic statement or a testing ground for new product. Whatever the reason it is one of the best things that can happen to an eyewear designer is to have their product presented on runways as well as magazines.

Aside from a specific designer other eyewear companies have designed eyewear and sunglasses specifically for runways: Silhouette (Wes Gordon, Todd Snyder), Rigards (InAisce), Masunsga (Kenzo Takada) Vava (Rad Hourani) Tom Reblr, Mercura NYC (numerous), Black Eyewear, Cutler and Gross (Holly Fulton), Theo (Matali), to name a few. Thanks to the Internet and social media this look is coming to the consumer in volumes.

Silhouette x Todd Snyder, Limited Edition Catwalk Sunglasses
Silhouette x Todd Snyder, Limited Edition Catwalk Sunglasses
om Rebl Inuit sunglasses are a pure handicraft made of leather and raw steel
Limited Edition Tom Rebl Inuit sunglasses for Marco Bertani FW 2014

Dolce and Gabbana have taken the Catwalk, Capsuled Limited Edition eyewear to viral. For the last couple of years, they have released dramatic sunglass statement collections. SS2016 was their Embellished Eyewear collection.

Capsule-DOLCE & GABBANA S_S 16-Flower-Capsule Collection Eyewear 2

Collaborations. A company collaborates with a celebrity, artist, musician and even a car (Moscot, Gucci) to make a capsule collection. There is a huge surge in collaborations across the retail sector in general, which is spun off to eyewear. Online eyewear retailer Blenders does a collaboration every year with an artist or a sports figure.

Again there are several sub-genres:

‘Artist Inspired’ Eyewear with several companies marketing focus is on artist collaborations: Colab Eyewear’s marketing focus is a series of artist, graphic designers, musicians collaborations made with limited edition products. Komono, Freeway Eyewear and Ellison Eyewear are all artist collaborative eyewear launched in the last few years.

Not to be left out of the painting: RayBan, Mykita, Sires Wood, Warby Parker, Tom’s Glasses, Selima Optique, Clemence Seilles (Oxydo Eyewear) Super (Andy Warhol), Komono (Baloji,) Max Mara (Maya Hayuk) Etnia Barcelona (J. M Basquiat)  Classic Specs (Jean Jullien) Medicine Werks (Chris Dryer) Larke’s (David Inshaw) Sickys World, Derek Cardigan (Camilla d’Errico) Otis Eyewear (Russ Pope) Thierry Lasry (Dr Woo, tattoo artist) Will.i.am (Xu Zhen) to name a few artist endeavors over the last several years .

Even retailer Sunglass Hut has launched a yearly Artist Series and a Maui Jim Limited Edition Spiderman  (2012) and Collette with Thierry Lasry for Batman.

Max Mara and Maya Hayuk
Max Mara and Maya Hayuk

Collaborations are not just with artists: Eyewear to Eyewear collabs: Theirry Lasry (Fendi) Oliver Peoples (The Row), Portrait Eyewear (LeSpecs,) 2nd Shot (Botany Eyewear) Jimmy Choo and Carrera Capsule Collection, Mykita (Maison Margiela), Cutler And Gross ( Maison Martin Margiela) Italia Independent (Adidas)

 sunglasses capsule collection created in collaboration with the French designer Thierry Lasry for the next Spring/Summer 2015.
Fendi Sunglasses capsule collection created in collaboration with the French designer Thierry Lasry for Spring/Summer 2015.

Lens companies are also in the game: Eyewear to Lens Companies: Carl Zeiss with Mykita (100 year anniversary of Zeiss) Carl Zeiss (Chimm Eyewear) Transitions (Lindberg, Theo) Zeiss (Nike) Hoya (Frameri) Shamir (Rudy Project)

Sports Figures: Westbrook Frames (Russell Westbrook)  Blenders Eyewear (Pacers C.J. Watson), Nike (Kevin Durant)

Russell Westbrook with Selima
Russell Westbrook with Selima

Music Collaborations-Komono and Tomorrowland (Music festival), Pharell Williams (Moncler)) Will.i.am (Slick Rick, limited edition) Maui Jim (Charlie Lyon) Aya (Corrine Hunt) Anastacia (Blumarine) Arnette (Public Enemy) Rihanna (Limited Edition Dior capsule collection) Lou Reed (Illesteva) Even Australia Optometrists have gotten into the Music Collab with RT Mojo eyewear.

Rihanna Dior Collaboration Capsule Collection
Rihanna Dior Collaboration Capsule Collection

Companies such Argyleculture (Russell Simmons) Black Eyewear, Gwen Stefanie (Tura) are all music inspired eyeglasses.

Arnette with Public Enemy's 25th year celebration
Arnette with Public Enemy’s 25th year celebration

Even theTransportation business has gotten collaboration: RayBan (Ferrari) Moscot (Car),Gucci (Car), Italia Independent with Ducati Motorcycles (Limited Edition) The Mini with a Smart Glass.

The smart fortwo edition MOSCOT". It will be produced in a limited run of 100 units. Also new are "The LEMTOSH smart" eyeglasses in coordinating colours, and "The MOSCOT smart Drive Package" featuring three clip-on sun lenses for perfect vision on the road in all weather conditions. The world premiere takes place in Milan/Italy on 28 February 2015 at the "MOSCOT 100-Year Anniversary Party,
The smart fortwo edition MOSCOT”. It will be produced in a limited run of 100 units. New are “The LEMTOSH smart” eyeglasses in coordinating colours, and “The MOSCOT smart Drive Package” featuring three clip-on sun lenses for perfect vision on the road in all weather conditions. The world premiere took place on 28 February 2015 at the “MOSCOT 100-Year Anniversary Party,

Hotels: Sunpocket with Ace Hotels, Thierry Lasry with W-Hotels Paris, Wild Soul (Skylark Hotel) Oliver Peoples (Ojai Valley Inn and Spa)

Comic Figures: Italia Independent (Ghost Busters) Maui Jim (Spiderman)

Others: Garrett Leight with Heineken Beer, Rye&Lye with Murano Glass.


As you can see Capsule Collection are growing across the retail industry in general. The challenge is getting away from tradition signage, Mens, Women, Kids and look at ‘Capsule Collection’ Artist Collaborations, Limited Edition. The consumer needs to be educated and reminded what the collection is all about.

  • In a staff meeting make sure all the staff is aware of the product and what it stands for.
  • Take a section and put up signage Capsule Collections or Limited Edition or Artist Collaborations. You can run an Art Collaboration section for 3 months, do an Art Trunk Show.
  • Eyecare professionals can capitialize on Catwalk Styles by blowing up an image or taking a page out of a fashion magazine and displaying both the frame and the image.

Relook at how you are currently displaying your current capsule collections and re-merchandise effectively .

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