Safilo’s history of longstanding passion, reliability, innovation and design dates back to 1934 when the brand was established in Cadore – the heart of Italy’s eyewear manufacturing district. It expanded its presence worldwide and its authentic premium “Made in Italy” items became internationally renowned. This year, Safilo is proud to celebrate its 80th anniversary, renewing its commitment and loyalty to tradition and expertise, and constantly enriching and combining state-of-the-art technology whilst staying true to its origins.
Safilo entered the optical market in the 1930’s with its unique collections of steel, brushed iron and plastic optical frames and sunglasses accompanied by a broad range of prescription and bifocal lenses. Glasses made from celluloid, a flexible thermoplastic material, were amongst the brand’s first creations. There were two versions: the rounded Harold Lloyd-inspired model and the elongated butterfly-shaped version.
In the 1940s, during the difficult times of the German occupation, the Safilo brand concentrated on producing a single model which was made from celluloid and was only available in two colours. This was designed exclusively for the German market. Although production was reduced, Safilo continued to stay focused on its products and concentrated on the research into technological innovation.
During the economic recovery of the 1950’s, Safilo’s American Style inspired glasses, a symbol of modernity and success, became a must-have accessory for younger generations worldwide. The brand also launched its first sports eyewear collections, characterized by a dynamic spirit, innovative materials and new shapes which clearly took inspiration from Hollywood celebrities.
The 1960’s economic boom offered greater opportunities for development and prosperity and Safilo continued to grow, expanding its eyewear collections to meet the diverse needs of all its customers. The brand’s glasses were full of personality with their large, oversized shapes and they entered the world of fashion by setting, rather than following, the fashion trends of the time. Breakthrough innovations, in terms of materials, paved the way to new stylistic approaches with new shapes and chromatic effects. In the 1960’s, Safilo also developed and patented Optyl, an ultra-lightweight, hypoallergenic, flexible yet highly resistant material which was designed to maintain its shape over time. The brand’s legendary “Goldman” and “Ufo” sunglasses were among the milestones of this decade.
In the 1970’s, the brand’s eyewear models were no longer focused on mere functionality as they became real fashion accessories designed to give those who wore them a personalized and original look. The new glasses featured a unique combination of shapes, materials and styles, synonymous of a timeless elegance and a minimalist design. During these years, Safilo revolutionised the eyewear industry with its new, revolutionary invention: the patented Elasta® flex hinge which, due to a new mechanism on the temples, ensures a perfect fit, maximum comfort and is highly resistant.
The 1980’s saw the Safilo collections embracing a more customer focused approach with new sunglasses and optical frames that reflected the tastes and preferences of its customers who, on the one hand, were looking for lighter, stronger glasses whilst on the other hand, wanted unique, eye-catching accessories so they would stand out in the crowd. The brand started using titanium, an ultra-lightweight, hypoallergenic, highly resistant material for its eyewear models.
At the end of the 20th century Safilo returned to producing glasses that were more essential, with a clean, simple style without having to sacrifice the brand’s renowned attention to detail and impeccable quality. Safilo’s collections started targeting specific customer groups with cutting-edge products especially designed for the most demanding customers who sought utmost comfort and safety; for dynamic, contemporary men; sophisticated women – and even lively children who wear glasses just for fun.
At the beginning of the 21st century Safilo focused on impressing and astonishing its customers by combining expertise and tradition with technological innovation, whilst remaining true to its research into aesthetics and style.
On the eve of its 80th anniversary, Safilo presents a new image to the public which expresses modernity and rigour and conveys all the fine qualities for which the brand is renowned: quality, comfort, reliability, durability and technological innovation. Even the clean and essential graphics of the new logo, where the name of the brand is now accompanied by the date it was established, underlines the strong connections between Safilo and its historical heritage – a unique and extraordinary inspirational patrimony.
In fact, Australian designer, Marc Newson, was so inspired by the frames in the company’s historical archives that he has designed and produced a very special collection to celebrate, in style, Safilo’s 80th anniversary.