A bit of British lands in NZ

British luxury leather goods company Aspinal of London has launched a new eyewear collection in partnership with British eyewear designer and manufacturer Eyespace Eyewear.

Unveiling the new range outside Silmo 2019 in October, Eyespace’s export director Ryan James admitted the range was so new, they’d just focused on the British launch at London Fashion Week and hadn’t thought they’d be ready to launch internationally at Silmo, so hadn’t booked a stand. But pressure from some of the company’s new international distributors, including New Zealand’s BTP International Designz, saw James and Eyespace sales director Alan Guider setting up shop in the café outside Silmo’s main entrance.

Eyespace founders, optometrist and accountant sisters Jayne and Julie Abel, had always wanted to work on a fashion brand and Aspinal was looking to expand its label, said James. The two found each other through a brand agency, attracted by Eyespace’s optically-trained designers, he said.

The new range incorporates Aspinal’s famous heritage shield, evident in much of the detailing from the shape of the nose pads and hinges to the design of the temple tips. Every frame has been designed from scratch with unparalleled attention to detail, reflecting the iconic luxury styling Aspinal is famous for among Britain’s fashion elite, said James.

The first range incorporates the main collection and a dedicated petite collection. There’s also a capsule collection to fit more tricky lenses. “This collection has been based on optical knowledge… It’s designed to be ultra-wearable and ultra-saleable. Next year, we’ll start introducing more statement designs.

“The exciting thing for us about working with Aspinal is Aspinal, as a brand, is now at the tipping point of how far they can take it. They are getting a lot of financial investment. Eyewear is their first brand partner, but they are also looking to move into other categories, such as perfumes and watches. As eyewear, this brand has never been done before. But it’s a global brand and will only get better, so it’s a really exciting opportunity.”

Eyespace Eyewear

Family-run, British-based Eyespace Eyewear’s newly launched Aspinal of London range is the company’s third licensed range. Its first, Land Rover, a dedicated men’s brand, was launched two years ago, while its higher-price point Range Rover range was launched earlier this year.

It’s house brands, all launched in 2013 and now available worldwide, are:

  • Cocoa Mint, its award-winning, flagship ladies’ brand
  • Jensen, Cocoa Mint’s equivalent for men
  • Louis Marcel, aimed at the older market
  • Base Box, a competitively priced fashion collection
  • Rock Star, a dedicated, timeless kids’ range
  • Zips, the UK’s largest budget collection.

Cocoa Mint, Jensen and Rock Star are available through Cardinal Eyewear, while Aspinal is available through BTP International Designz in New Zealand.

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