15 Sept 2005
|Wing Fung Optical Mfy Ltd's fashion sunglasses feature sleek rectangular metal frames incorporating T-slot lens fixing technology|
For example, sunglasses account for 30%-40% of Eagle Int'l (Industrial) Ltd's monthly production of 300,000 pieces of optical glasses and sunglasses. Manufactured at the nine-year-old company's 11,000-square-metre, 1,800-worker factory in Shenzhen on the Chinese mainland, materials used include stainless steel, Monel and acetate from Italy, Germany, Japan and the mainland.
"We produce sunglasses for each of our own brands - Plus, WST and Finewear - and OEM orders," explains marketing director Vincent Chan. "The WST brand is mainly an acetate collection; Plus is very trendy designer styles for the younger generation, and Finewear focuses on very thin, lightweight stainless steel."
The current trend is acetate sunglasses in large rectangular and oval shapes, says Chan, who observes different needs in Eagle's major markets, the US and Italy. "Europe prefers very trendy sunglasses in metal and acetate, while the US opts for clip-on styles in Monel and stainless steel," he adds. "Polycarbonate and Polaroid lenses are also popular."
FOB Hong Kong prices range from US$8-15 per piece for orders of 1,200 units comprising at least 300 pieces per model, delivered 100-120 days after order confirmation.
Eversun Industrial (HK) Ltd also focuses primarily on sunglasses, according to manager Shirley Cheung. "Some 90% of our monthly production of 500,000 pairs is sunglasses, with reading glasses accounting for the remainder," she says.
Production takes place at two ISO 9001-certified factories that cover 30,000 square metres on the Chinese mainland and employ 1,500 workers. "Most of our business is our own designs, and we produce some 200 different styles every year," explains Cheung.
She notes that the current trend is for big "aviator" frames and lenses in ladies' fashion styles. "White is the most popular frame colour, while for lenses it is brown with flash mirror," Cheung says, adding that Eversun uses mainly PC injection techniques that can create any colour. "We use acetate for handmade styles, but this does limit the colour range," she advises.
Cheung also predicts that falling demand for big styles suggests the trend will last just one more year. "Next year, the sporty look will probably be back," she says.
Eversun sources polycarbonate, acetate, nickel and silver from Japan, the mainland and Italy, and manufactures to European safety standard BS EN1836-1997, US standard ANSIZ80.3-2001, Australasia standard AS/NZS 1067-2003, and Chinese mainland QB2457-99. It produces lenses up to UV400 maximum protection.
FOB Hong Kong prices range from US$1.50-6.00 per pair for minimum orders of 5,000 pieces delivered approximately 35 days after order confirmation. Europe is the company's biggest market (70%), followed by Australia and South Africa.
Acetate plastic and Monel-metal combination frame buyers should check out 17-year-old New Shun Tat Optical Mfg Co Ltd, which manufactures 25,000-30,000 pairs of frames monthly at its 20,000-square-foot, 130-worker mainland factory in Dongguan.
Some 10% of its monthly production comprises sunglasses that are exported to Europe, the US and Asia. "The US and Europe are our major markets, particularly Germany, France and the UK," explains manager Ina Bongrain.
She believes the trend for large acetate frames will continue for 1-2 years. "Demand is for styles that fit fashion trends, as well as for laser-cut frames that produce a cleaner finish and finer, more delicate designs," says Bongrain.
FOB Hong Kong prices range from US$5.00-7.50 per piece for minimum orders of 300 pieces per model delivered 60-100 days after order confirmation. Supplied to mid-range brands, New Shun Tat's sunglasses appeal mostly to mature women.
Meanwhile, veteran optical company V.I.P. Optical Int'l Ltd has more than 40 years' experience in manufacturing optical frames and sunglasses, offering a full range of metal and acetate models.
"We produce some 150,000 pieces per month at our 1,000-worker factory in Shenzhen," says managing director and industry pioneer Harvey Fung, "and also use regular subcontractors for production. Some 30% of our production is sunglasses."
He describes V.I.P. as a leading marketer of frames, including its own V.I.P. and Airborne brands. "V.I.P. is for more mature people, while Airborne is for younger wearers," Fung explains.
V.I.P. Optical's major export markets are North America and Europe, both accounting for 50%. "Europe is an increasing market for us, as the different countries and cultures look for different designs - and their higher quality demands means higher prices," notes Fung.
He describes trends in sunglasses as "cyclical" in nature. "Since 2004, the trend has been for large frames in a very contemporary, retro-look in acetate and metal," he comments.
Fung notes that with newer plastics, such as CR39, acetate frames have greater flexibility. "Acetate can be moulded into virtually any shape in up to 200 colours and patterns, and is ideal for matching clothing fashions," he states.
FOB Hong Kong prices range from US$8-20 per piece for minimum orders of 500 pieces per style delivered 60 days after order confirmation. About 70% of V.I.P. Optical's production is its own designs, and the remainder OEM orders.
Such affordable, fashionable styles and protective lenses will ensure Hong Kong manufacturers continue to protect consumers from the sun's harmful rays, while adding a touch of glamour to summer fashions.
WRITTEN BY SANDRA JENNER
Eagle Int'l (Industrial)
Rms 3309-11, New Trend Centre
104 King Fuk St
San Po Kong, Kowloon
Rms 4-6, 11/F, Fook Hong Ind Bldg
19 Sheung Yuet Rd
Kowloon Bay, Kowloon
New Shun Tat Optical
Mfg Co Ltd
2/F, Ting Sun Plaza
33 Sheung Heung Rd
To Kwa Wan, Kowloon
Swank Int'l Optical
2/F, Koon Wah Mirror (3rd) Fty Bldg
5-9 Ka Hing Rd
Kwai Chung, New Territories
21/F, Blk A, Kwai Bo Ind Bldg
40 Wong Chuk Hang Rd
Wong Chuk Hang
Wing Fung Optical Mfy Ltd
Rm 1002A, Sunbeam Centre
27 Shing Yip St
Kwun Tong, Kowloon
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