Remember Dominique Alba? After running Logo Eyewear and Alain Mikli, this French executive has decided to launch an innovative project in the area of eyewear. He has set up a company, Code ADN, that has created a new brand, I Human, with a unique selling proposition. Targeting mainly business executives, its first line, called “Pocket Series,” consists of eyeglasses that can be easily folded, placed in a small case and stored in a pocket or a bag.
The first collapsible model, carrying a suggested retail price of €320 a pair, was presented to a select group of opticians in a hotel near the Silmo fair in Paris in September for sale in their stores just before Christmas. The prescription frame is made of surgical steel. Protected by seven patents, it features telescopic temples made of a special copper-aluminum-tungsten-manganese compound that are attached to the frame with screwless hinges. Once folded, the glasses fit into an elegant little case the size of an iPhone 5.
The glasses are manufactured by Naja, a high-end producer specializing in frames that has been working also for Alain Mikli and Cartier.
I Human plans to release two other variations of the same principle during the Mido show in Milan next March. They should be followed by a series of ten types of “adaptable eyewear” within the next three years, says Alba, declining to provide other details at this stage. I Human is going to offer only prescription eyewear in a first stage, but sunglasses are planned for a new series that will be launched at the next Silmo fair in Paris.
The first model of I Human's “Pocket Series” has already been ordered by all the major optical retail chains in France. I Human has already appointed distributors for the Scandinavian countries, Belgium, Portugal, India, Korea and is looking for others elsewhere. The goal for the first year of operation is to see its products sold in 200 stores in France and 300 abroad.
Alba, who is now 56 years old, is the majority shareholder in ADN. The other shareholder and managing director is Philippe Diné, who worked under Alba at Alain Mikli as commercial director. Alba was a minority shareholder of Logo and Alain Mikli. He cashed out of his last investment when Luxottica took over the firm at the beginning of this year. Besides his new Code ADN venture, Alba is involved in two other projects in the sports retail and fashion sectors (more on this in Sporting Goods Intelligence Europe).