6 Sept 2006
|Wintech Optical Int'l Ltd's stylish, stainless steel sunglasses frames in various colours are sold in Europe, Japan, Korea, the US and Canada|
Sunglasses not only protect the eyes from harmful UV rays but also make personal fashion statements. Well-versed in both functionality and design, Hong Kong eyewear suppliers are dazzling the market with a wide spectrum of stylish sunglasses.
For example, Ocean Eyewear (HK) Ltd has a line of shades that includes a 10-base curvature model with a handmade acetate frame.
"Notably, 10-base sunglasses fit the face closely," says managing director Stephen Cheung. "We also have 8-base and 6-base varieties."
Cheung advises that an acetate frame can carry as many as five colours, giving a layered effect. "Our handmade acetate sunglasses are very colourful, and their designs follow the latest fashion trends," he adds. "We also mix-and-match so a frame can be red in the front and black at the temples for example."
Ocean also produces sunglasses with combination frames made of both acetate and metals such as stainless steel, Monel, or nickel silver. The materials used come mostly from Germany, Italy, Japan and Hong Kong.
"The lenses are usually nylon as the material is strong and not brittle," Cheung explains.
In general, Ocean's sunglasses sell for US$5-12 a pair FOB Hong Kong. A minimum order is 300 pairs, for delivery 60-80 days after order confirmation. "Europe takes about 50%-60% of our sunglasses exports," Cheung says, noting that the firm also sells to the US.
"We design our own sunglasses and come up with about 30 new models per month," Cheung says, adding that Ocean produces a monthly average of 60,000-80,000 pairs of sunglasses at its 55,000-square-foot, 320-worker factory in Shenzhen on the Chinese mainland.
Also closely monitoring product trends is Wintech Optical Int'l Ltd. "In terms of design innovation, we try to focus on what is hot in the market and then use our abilities in machining and surface treating to improve on the trend. We are not trying to reinvent the wheel, but we will make substantial technical improvements on anything we can add value to," states manager Albin Yeung.
Wintech's sunglasses include models with dark blue or silver stainless steel frames, gold nickel-silver frames and dark purple titanium frames. "We use titanium, nickel silver and stainless steel from Korea, Japan and Europe," Yeung says.
The firm also produces mixed-frame models, such as those with acetate temples. "Our founders were originally technicians, and so our focus is always on making eyeglasses of quality," he adds.
Production takes place at a 500-worker factory in Dogguan on the mainland that turns out some 50,000 pairs of sunglasses a month. "Europe and Japan together make up 70%-80% of our sales," says Yeung, adding that other markets include Korea, the US and Canada.
For a minimum quantity of 500 pairs per model, an order can be delivered within 55-120 days following confirmation of order.
Chic is also a key theme for Ascend Optical Ltd, which adorns some of its sunglasses with highly attractive patterns.
A popular item is a range of injection-moulded sunglasses with acrylic lenses and cellulose propionate (CP) frames, whose temples are printed or sprayed in various patterns. "Some are sprayed with a crackle finish, which looks like crocodile skin," says sales and marketing manager Darren Hau.
He reveals that injection-moulded sunglasses sell for US$1-3 a pair FOB Hong Kong.
Embellishments also grace some of Ascend's handmade acetate sunglasses. "The acetate frame models feature nickel-silver studs," Hau says of the items with CR39 lenses. "FOB Hong Kong prices for handmade acetate sunglasses are about US$4-6 a pair."
In addition, Ascend offers metal sunglasses. "This range features nickel-silver or stainless steel frames and polycarbonate lenses," Hau notes. "Metal sunglasses are priced at US$3-6 FOB Hong Kong a pair."
Ascend sources CP from the US, acetate from Hong Kong and Italy, metals from Hong Kong and the mainland and lens materials from Italy, Japan, and the mainland.
With 14 years of experience in spectacles manufacturing, Ascend produces 500,000 pairs of sunglasses per month at its 12,000-square-metre, 600-worker factory in Huidong in Guangdong Province.
A minimum order is 300 pairs per style per colour, and the lead time is 50-75 days. "The US accounts for 70% of our sales," Hau says, "while Europe is our other main market."
Decorations are also prominent in the fashion sunglasses from Tenin Optical Mfg Ltd, as exemplified by a model featuring rhinestones. "We integrate different fashion elements into our designs to great effect," says assistant marketing manager Denny Tsui.
One CP frame, for example, comes resplendent with Swarovski rhinestones on the temples. "The rhinestones can be red, white or blue," says Tsui, noting that some frames also have metal adornments. "We use copper and stainless steel to create stylish PC frames."
Tenin also supplies sporty sunglasses. "These models are light and comfortable, and suitable for wearing when engaged in sporting activities," Tsui says. "The frame is nylon TR90."
The TR90 material comes from Switzerland, the PC from Taiwan and the US, and the copper and stainless steel from the mainland.
Tenin produces some 300,000 pairs of sunglasses a month at its 300-worker Dongguan factory. Delivery time is 45-60 days to main markets in the US, Brazil, Germany and Japan. Generally, sunglasses cost US$1.50-7.00 a pair FOB Hong Kong for minimum orders of 300 pairs per style per colour.
It will be evident to buyers of vision that Hong Kong is the ideal source for sunglasses of character.
WRITTEN BY LIZA LEE
Ascend Optical Ltd
Fook Yip Bldg
53-57 Kwai Fung Crescent
Kwai Chung, New Territories
Chu Kong Optical Mfy Ltd
Rms 1113, 1106-1108, 11/F
Regent Centre, Tower A
63 Wo Yi Hop Rd
Kwai Chung, New Territories
Kuo & Yang Industrial (HK) Ltd
Billion Trade Centre
31 Hung To Rd
Kwun Tong, Kowloon
Wintech Optical Int'l Ltd
Kwai Cheong Centre
40-52 Kwai Cheong Rd
Kwai Chung, New Territories