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Italia Independent in Expansion Mode

The company expecting its eyewear business to register 2012 wholesale revenues of around 12 million euro.

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EYE SPY: Italia Independent is expecting its eyewear business to register 2012 wholesale revenues of around 12 million euros, or $15.5 million at current exchange, more than double last year’s sales, according to Andrea Tessitore, Italia Independent’s co-founder and chief executive officer, who created the company with Fiat scion Lapo Elkann in 2007.

“We will open the U.S. market with a direct subsidiary in Miami before the end of the year,” added Tessitore. “That will also be a strong base for us to distribute to South America in the future.”

“We are also in discussions with people in Asia to do broader distribution there, probably from headquarters in Hong Kong,” said Elkann.

Italia Independent, which currently does between 70 percent and 75 percent of its business in Italy, will open two new boutiques there in October, in Bologna and Turin, bringing its total number of monobrand outlets to seven.

Of the company’s remaining business, three-fifths comes from elsewhere in Europe, Tessitore said.

While Italia Independent offers other products, such as men’s apparel and accessories, some 99 percent of its sales stem from eyewear.

“The other categories do not bring revenues; they are about branding and communication,” Tessitore said.

Innovation and technology are a key part of what the company offers, and its most recent developments, on show starting Thursday at the Silmo trade fair in Paris, include the I-Teen line for 7-to-14-year-olds with flexible frames and shape memory. Eyewear in the line will retail for 87 euros, or $112. Another addition is I-Touch, a line using a matte paint used in the luxury car industry.

The I-Thermic collection, which changes color at high temperature, has been added to with hound’s-tooth check and polka-dot designs, while new colors are included in the I-Velvet velour-coated offering, as seen sported by Karl Lagerfeld.

Italia Independent sells its products to more than 2,000 sales points worldwide, and its core retail prices range from 150 euros to 180 euros, or$194 and $232.

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