New subsidiary in Korea, Carrera brand turns 50

Padua, Italy-Safilo Group has strengthened its presence in Asia by opening a new subsidiary in Korea. Safilo Korea Ltd., with offices in Seoul and controlled 100% by Safilo Group, will start business Jan. 1.

Padua, Italy-Safilo Group has strengthened its presence in Asia by opening a new subsidiary in Korea. Safilo Korea Ltd., with offices in Seoul and controlled 100% by Safilo Group, will start business Jan. 1.

Safilo will bring to Korea its high-end eyewear collections, which include Emporio Armani, Giorgio Armani, Boss Hugo Boss, Dior, Gucci, Marc Jacobs, Max Mara, Alexander McQueen, and YSL. Several of these brands also will produce specific Korean fitting collections for the local market, designed with the customer's specific needs and requirements in mind. They will be sold alongside the brands' leading styles.

Through its new Korean subsidiary, Safilo Group expects to supply approximately 300 optical dispensaries and department stores during its first year of activity. Sales are projected at more than 100,000 pairs of prescription frames and sunglasses during 2007, with expectations to double its results in 2008. Double-digit growth is projected in successive years.

In another landmark for Safilo, the group's Carrera brand of sports eyewear and goggles is commemorating its 50th anniversary this year.

Although Carrera joined the Safilo Group in 1996, legendary eyewear inventor and designer Wilhelm Anger created the Carrera brand in 1956. Anger borrowed the name "Carrera" from La Carrera Panamericana, a road rally that ran the length of Mexico, and led his company from producing safety goggles to creating Carrera sun and sports eyewear.

Carrera remained part of Anger's company while he became an integral force in two revolutionary industry trends: the introduction of plastics and designer brands to eyewear. Not only did Anger create and patent Optyl, a heat-hardened plastic material weighing 20% less than acetate or other thermoplastic materials, but he also pioneered the practice of creating eyewear licensed from high-fashion brands such as Porsche, Playboy, and Christian Dior.

The Carrera brand grew until Carrera International was established in 1977. In the late 1980s, Carrera found its niche by serving as official sponsor of the 1987 America's Cup and sponsoring athletes in the 1988 Olympic games and 1989 World Cup ski championships.