Join Lynne and Geoff Parker, owners of Parker & Co, as they head to the fashion capital, Milan, for a tour at one of Thelios LVMH Eyewear Excellence factories in the Italian Alps. A day filled with anticipation as they explored the latest eyewear creations to bring to the Parker and Co shelves later this year. 

On arrival from Milan, and after sampling Prosecco in the Dolomites, Lynne and Geoff were headed into the Alps to Longarone, the village that is the centre of eyewear manufacturing in Italy.

In a factory that is less ‘manufacturing’ and more ‘art gallery’ in design, the 215,278-square-foot space is used to craft eyewear for LVMH brands that you love to see at Parker & Co, including Dior, Loewe, Celine, and Fendi.

The day began with Lynne and Geoff experiencing the prototyping process with the team of about 30 people who work hard to plan, create and bring to life the fashion house designers' dreams and ideas. The prototype team tends to work under strict deadlines; for runway shows there's often only three weeks from the first drawings received from the designer, to the models wearing the pieces on the runway - now that's a hussle! 


The team utilises CAD (computer-aided design and drafting), 3D printing and AI to create eyewear prototypes, with sustainability at the forefront of the manufacturing process. Without 3D printing, they wouldn’t be able to create the iconic Miss Dior Swarovski crystal model or the Dior mens 3D  styles.  When introduced by Thélios, this technology had previously been used in the eyewear industry, but never in luxury eyewear.

Although technology is used to create these designs, Lynne and Geoff were amazed at how much work is actually done by hand. The fine details that make the eyewear you know and love so special, like the painting of logos, details like trims and jewels, are all completed by hand with meticulous craftsmanship.

Ever wondered how your eyewear gets to be so shiny? It’s because they are tumbled for a lengthy 72 hours, over four different time periods in large barrels with different sized wood chips. The eyewear is tumbled and washed between each stage to ensure your acetate frame is polished to a gorgeous high lustre. 

It was then onto the fascinating assembly area of the factory, where Lynne and Geoff saw hinges being sunk into frames, temples being screwed into the fronts and so much more. Lynne asked how many processes did the average eyewear piece go through and found that each will be touched at a minimum of 30 times and up to 87 times for more complicated designs. Lynne says, “After watching a technician hand paint logos on to the Fendi frames, seeing the signature Dior trim get inserted by hand makes you realise just why your quality eyewear is worth the investment.” 

Last but not least, the pair (no pun intended) were off to the checking and certification areas of the factory. The final area where all of the eyewear pieces are checked against the standards for each design and then sent to the certification area to undergo further checks that ensure the quality of the product. Once checked and certified, the product then makes its way to the warehouses to be shipped around the world… to stores like Parker and Co.

We can’t wait to bring you all the latest developments out of Italy over the next few months. Stay tuned for new arrivals in sunglasses and opticals incoming over on our Instagram page… Ciao for now! 

Parker & Co

9 Teed Street, Newmarket, Auckland

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