Milan—Italy might be known for its chic eyewear style and designer labels, but it’s not immune to global downturns.

However, after two difficult years, the Italian eyewear industry, which exports 80% of its product outside the country, is seeing clearly once again, and it has sunglasses to thank.

Overall exports of lenses, frames and sunglasses showed a 13.7% increase during the period January-June period, as compared to the previous year. Sunglasses led the charge with a 16.6% increase, while frame exports showed a 7.5% jump.

“We are looking at a second consecutive quarter with positive changes,” explained Vittorio Tabacchi, President of optical fair MIDO, ANFAO (Italian Optical Goods Manufacturers’ Association) and since the past July, EUROM (the European Federation of Eyewear Industry). “After a somewhat apprehensive January and a rather hesitant February, the following growth in exports was always in the double-digit range. Even though the sun seems to be peeping through, there are still some clouds overhead, as exports are still below pre-crisis figures (down 7.6% compared to the first half year of 2008).”

Read more at Accessories Magazine