6 Sept 2007
Easy On The Eye(HKTDC Optical,2008)
|Ta Shun Industrial (HK) Co Ltd makes a fashion statement with these bold-sized plastic sunglasses frames with wide temples ornamented with rhinestones and metal decoration|
Plastic sunglass and spectacle frames have been enjoying a strong resurgence as consumers search for novel and colourful designs. Wider temple pieces are especially in vogue
Hong Kong holds a strong place in the optical frames industry, and the ubiquitous plastic variety is shipped by the million. At Mech-Tronic Precision Mfg Ltd, for example, business is solid for brighter, multicoloured frames for younger wearers, while bigger frames for sunglasses and angular styles are other notable trends.
"Vivid colours like yellow, light green and blue are popular with teenagers," says general manager Raymond Leung, adding that adults prefer more classic, conservative styles.
Established in 1989, the company makes plastic frames from cellulose acetate imported from Italy. "We buy some of the multicoloured frames but more demanding pieces are handmade by our workers," Leung adds, noting that layers of acetate are laminated together to produce a multicoloured piece.
Sunglasses frames have been getting larger, while buyers of spectacle frames are sticking to medium-sized models, Leung says, adding that Mech-Tronic Precision is known for hi-tech designs featuring sharper angles and edges.
"Our frames also sport hinges that are not completely hidden and are meant to be seen," he adds. "You can see the mechanism and we think this makes the frame look more interesting." Buyers also have the option of choosing different temple mountings to match the front piece of the frame.
The OEM/ODM firm's frames fall into the US$5-9 FOB Hong Kong price range per pair, with a minimum order of 300 pairs per model and a delivery time of 90-120 days after order confirmation.
Exports of the 30,000 pairs produced each month at the firm's factory in Huizhou on the Chinese mainland are destined mainly for Europe and Japan.
High-quality acetate also allows 1989-established Good Quality Optical Mfy Ltd to create frames for sunglasses and spectacles in a variety of designs and colours.
Wider, highly decorative temple pieces for women have been gaining in popularity lately, according to marketing manager Chris Yeung, who also notes that temple pieces with rhinestones and Swarovski crystals are hot sellers.
"We can also engrave various patterns on the side pieces using computer-numerically-controlled machines," Yeung says. "These are then filled with colour epoxy to create birds, landscapes or other scenes."
The front part of the frame, however, remains more conservative, and colours tend to be darker - with black, brown and tortoiseshell among the favourites.
Women's frames account for 30% of the 140,000 plastic frames the company turns out each month - metal frames represent another 60,000 - at its factory in Dongguan on the mainland. Men's frames account for 10% of business and unisex models 60%.
FOB Hong Kong unit prices range from US$5.50-11.00 for spectacle frames to US$8-15 for sunglasses frames. "Frames for sunglasses cost more because they're bigger and use more material," Yeung explains.
Primarily an OEM company - 70% OEM, 30% ODM - Good Quality has a design schedule that allows it to introduce new collections of 5-20 models every three months.
The firm has a minimum order requirement of 400 pieces per style and delivers to markets worldwide 90-140 days after order confirmation, with shorter periods for certain styles.
Meanwhile, creative design, good quality and reasonable prices form the philosophy behind DJ Frameworks Ltd. A specialist in acetate frames, the company's medium-priced sunglasses and spectacles frames sell for US$6-10 per pair FOB Hong Kong.
Established in 1993, the OEM/ODM firm produces 60,000 frames per month of men's, women's and sophisticated unisex models at its factory in Dongguan for shipment to its main markets in the US and Europe.
The firm also manufactures for well-known designer brand names. "We create about 20 new designs each month and have about 1,000 styles in our current inventory," says director Jane Tang, adding that about 60% of those are unisex designs.
A minimum order of 300 pieces per model is required and the company delivers 90 days after order confirmation.
Tang says brown, blue, and dark red are the colours most in demand this year. "Nothing too bright," she emphasises. "People prefer more mature, classic designs."
Along with larger frames for sunglasses and medium-sized version for spectacles, round and rectangular eye shapes are a mainstay, with multicoloured looks and decorative rhinestones on the checklists of many buyers, she adds.
A high-volume producer of PC and PP sunglasses for men, women and children, OEM/ODM manufacturer Ta Shun Industrial (HK) Co Ltd's plastic frames are unit-priced from US$0.15-1.50 FOB Hong Kong.
"Wider temple pieces and larger frames, with rhinestones, metal decoration and printed patterns are big this year," says general manager Sharon Wan, "as are multicoloured frames."
The company turns out 500,000 pieces per month at its factory in Shenzhen on the mainland, and 60%-70% of its production consists of promotional/premium items. Minimum order is 2,400 pieces per design, with a 35-day delivery schedule after order confirmation.
In today's eyewear industry, it's apparent that Hong Kong companies are adept at keeping their focus firmly on the latest trends from around the world.
TEXT BY ANDREA PAWLYNA
Commonwealth Optical Mfy Ltd
Flat B, 13/F
Tai Cheong Fty Bldg
3 Wing Ming St, Castle Peak Rd
Cheung Sha Wan, Kowloon
Good Quality Optical Mfy Ltd
Flats A & B, 21/F
Glee Ind Bldg
77-81 Chai Wan Kok St
Tsuen Wan, New Territories
V.I.P. Optical Int'l Ltd
21/F, Blk A
Kwai Bo Ind Bldg
40 Wong Chuk Hang Rd
Wong Chuk Hang
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