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What took eyewear licensors so long?

When I first started in optical, one thing struck me as strange about the industry: it was the only fashion related category in which the biggest selling brands were all licensed. Many of those licenses were worth tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars over their duration.

But why don’t those licensors just start making and selling their own product? Although it’s true that building a distribution network is difficult and expensive, the fashion houses licensing the brands weren’t hard up for capital or know-how. It seemed like a no-brainer.

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Moss Lipow
Moss Lipow has been variously referred to in media as "The Genius of Eyewear Design" and "The Most Talked About Eyewear Designer in Decades". His custom work has been worn by celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Elton John, the Olsens, M.I.A. and more. These include some of the costliest and most elaborate pieces of eyewear ever. He curated and collected 3000 vintage and antique pieces spanning five centuries for his acclaimed definitive history of the medium "Eyewear", published by Taschen. His eponymous line of eyewear is sold worldwide.