It seems that a new eyewear line is announced practically every week, as celebrities and well-known fashion brands all want to try their hand in the optical business. While some name brands bring the value of easy recognition, there are others that offer far superior benefits behind their name.

Part of educating our patients about the eyewear we offer at Optik PDX is discussing the differences between an independent eyewear line and a licensed brand. You may have seen news specials on similar topics before, but today we’re going to break down exactly why it is that you truly do get what you pay for when it comes to eyewear branding.

Location Matters

Did you know that roughly 90% of the world’s eyewear is made outside of America? While purchasing glasses that were “Made in the USA” may not be a major priority for you, there’s a deeper meaning behind the location of various manufacturing facilities.

More than 80% of the eyewear market is cornered by one particular company – you know you’ve heard the name before but we won’t drop it here. This Italian manufacturer owns the licensing rights to many of the name brands that you may have fallen in love with in the past, so while you think that you’re buying a frame that was designed and made by XYZ brand itself, that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Thinking About Design

What often comes into play when you compare a licensed eyewear brand to an independent line is the approach that manufacturers take toward design. Licensed name brands have a proverbial box that they must stick to; certain colors, patterns, and metals must adhere to the company image in order to obtain easy customer recognition.

Yet when you purchase a frame from an independent eyewear line, you’re buying a piece of art that more than likely carries a bit of the designer’s heart and soul in it. Independent brands are far less rigid when it comes to the creativity they implore, and as long as the core of the brand is represented, the sky’s the limit when it comes to the aesthetics.

Quality Over Quantity

Think back to that one Italian manufacturer who is literally cranking out frames on a conveyor belt. With so many licensed brands under one roof, there’s not as much emphasis on the quality of each individual frame. The materials used are typically ones that are the most cost-effective, and when you have a quota to fill, the bottom line is really all that matters.

Independent eyewear lines instead gravitate toward a quality over quantity mindset, where frames are more likely to be hand-crafted and a thorough inspection is completed before each frame is boxed up and shipped to our shop.

In the end, we always respect each patient’s individual taste, and when it comes to purchasing eyewear, to each their own. However, once you know the truth behind licensed eyewear and the differences between an independent brand and a popular name brand, you really can’t go back. Looking for independent eyewear that’s eclectic, beautiful, and high-quality? Stop by our shop on Mississippi Ave in the heart of the Boise-Eliot neighborhood, where we only carry independent eyewear.

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