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Eyewear aesthetics remains top R&D priority

Makers update colors, contours and adornments as fashion sunglasses dominate shipments.

Eyewear suppliers in China are directing product development efforts toward enhancing visual appeal.

The B7003 model from Linhai Caanglasses is made of PC and has a floral pattern.

Mixing different materials continues to be a common way to vary texture, color and pattern. Many models pair plastic and metal for the frame and temples. Some even adopt leather temple tips.

Businesses are also emphasizing details on the side arms. New designs have either streamlined or thick, geometric versions. The popular hues are white, gunmetal, burgundy, gold and silver.

Bold trimmings are added near the hinge, especially in women's styles. Generally made of metal, these take the shape of hearts or flowers. Many are studded with rhinestones as well.

Allover-printed reading glasses and optical frames often have matching cases and pouches. Fashion sunglasses utilize lenses in gradient shades.

Despite the emphasis on aesthetics, makers are not losing view of function. An increasing number of companies are adopting polarized lenses that reduce glare. Resistance to scratching, fog and UV rays is also incorporated in the latest releases.

For sports sunglasses, wraparound structures are gaining ground because they provide better eye protection by limiting the entry of light from multiple angles. To shield the peripheral vision, lenses have a 10-degree curve. TPR is employed for the temple tips and nose pads to achieve nonslip but comfortable wear.

China suppliers of eyewear offer fashion and sports sunglasses, reading glasses and optical frames. The first two dominate output, and account for approximately one-half of exports in the line. In January to October 2010, the country's overseas sales exceeded 1.6 billion pairs worth $1.4 billion. More than one-third originated from Zhejiang province.

Prices start below $1.80 and can exceed $7.50, depending on the frame, temple and lens materials, coatings and trimmings.

Metal models are generally more expensive than plastic designs. The specific types utilized in the low end are brass and NiAg.

Monel, AlMg, stainless steel, memory metal and titanium are considered upscale.

Among the available synthetics, acrylic and PC are the least costly options, while acetate, CR-39 and memory resin are for intermediate and high-end pairs.

The majority of factories have molding capability for the frame and temples. The components are finished through electroplating, spray painting or printing.

Acrylic, TAC, CR-39 and PC are the lens choices. The last is widely adopted because it is light and impact-resistant. The optics can be polarized and have UV400 protection.

Mirror, anti-reflective and scratch-resistant coatings may be added in gradated or multiple layers to improve performance. The most expensive variant is from Revo, but a more affordable counterpart is available from domestic upstream suppliers.

Nearly all manufacturers outsource lenses for in-house shaping and mounting. Low-end and midrange versions are purchased from locally owned or Taiwan-invested providers in Guangdong, Fujian, Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces. Parts that incorporate patented technology are usually from Japan, South Korea, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, the UK and the US.

As regards trimmings, leather temple tips, engraved logos and crystal inlays translate to higher prices.

Function and structure influence quotes as well. Models with an MP3 player, FM radio, compass or flash drive feature are among the most expensive. Rimless optical frames and reading glasses are costlier than full or half styles because they employ a complex mounting technique.

Regardless of eyewear type and price segment, products comply with CE and FDA requirements.

Quotes are expected to increase up to 5 percent in the next six months due to rising material and labor outlay.

Product gallery

Sunglasses price guide

Related articles:
Optical frames & reading glasses: Suppliers enhance production
Children's sunglasses: Makers improve fit, sturdiness, visual appeal
Eyewear: Wenzhou Taili's in-house styles highlight functionality
Sunglasses: Wenzhou highlights ample materials, labor

Fashion sunglasses
Product gallery

Linhai Caanglasses Co. Ltd

Model: B7003
MOQ: 1,200 pairs
Delivery: 30 days
Description: Fashion sunglasses; PC; floral pattern; red; one pair per polybag, 12 pairs per box, 300 boxes per carton

Fashion sunglasses

Linhai Caanglasses Co. Ltd

Model: XP5789
MOQ: 1,200 pairs
Delivery: 30 days
Description: Fashion sunglasses; PC; metal temple trimming; leopard pattern; one pair per polybag, 12 pairs per box, 300 boxes per carton

Aviator sunglasses

Linhai Caanglasses Co. Ltd

Model: K922
MOQ: 1,200 pairs
Delivery: 30 days
Description: Aviator sunglasses; stainless steel frame, temples; PC lenses; plastic temple tips;one pair per polybag, 12 pairs per box, 300 boxes per carton

Men’s optical frames

Wenzhou B-world Glasses Co. Ltd

Model: OP5068
MOQ: 300 pairs
Delivery: 90 days
Description: Men’s optical frames; aluminum; gunmetal, black or silver IP plating; super flex temples; 12 pairs per box, 300 pairs per carton

Women’s fashion sunglasses

Wenzhou B-world Glasses Co. Ltd

Model: PL5194
MOQ: 1,200 pairs
Delivery: 45 days
Description: Women’s fashion sunglasses; PC; metal temple trimming, nickel-free plating; UV400 lenses; azo-, lead-free; brown, black or crystal red; 12 pairs per box, 300 pairs per carton

Unisex reading glasses

Wenzhou B-world Glasses Co. Ltd

Model: RP1184
MOQ: 1,200 pairs
Delivery: 45 days
Description: Unisex reading glasses; PC; +1.00 to +4.00 diopters; brown, black or crystal red; 12 pairs per box, 300 pairs per carton

Note:This article was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.

All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.

Disclaimer: All product images are provided by the companies interviewed and are for reference purposes only. Those product images featuring products with trademarks, brand names or logos are not intended for sale. We, our affiliates, and our affiliates' respective directors, officers, employees, representatives, agents or contractors, do not accept and will not have any responsibility or liability for product images (or any part thereof) which infringe on any intellectual property or other rights of a third party.

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