The debate over the «made in Italy» label and the legislation that should protect it have split Sipao members in Italy's Cadore region. The local association of eyewear producers is now divided between the so-called «purists,» who want the Italian label of origin to be reserved for products made entirely in Italy, and the others, who have already outsourced part of their production outside the national territory.

The purists are in favor of extending legislation recently passed by the Italian parliament to eyewear, making it perhaps even more stringent. That law authorizes producers of furniture, shoes, textile and leather goods to put the «made in Italy» label on their products only if at least two of the processing phases required to make them are conducted in the country. The law is set to go into effect for these products next Oct. 1 unless the European Commission decides that it violates its own guidelines.

A majority of the seven members of Sipao's executive board, which is coming up for renewal, prefers keeping in effect the current system allowed by the European Union, whereby it is sufficient to carry out the assembly and other parts of the production process in Italy in order to post the «made in Italy» label.

The disagreement came to light when some 30 members of the association ? around a third of the total membership ? proposed a motion of no confidence against Sipao's board committee, chaired by Valter Da Rin. The motion produced no subsequent discussion, as the entire board handed in their resignation on the spot.

Da Rin, owner of Trenti, a producer specializing in children's eyewear, said he would not run for re-election. A meeting is now scheduled later in April to elect a new board, and rumor has it that the rebels would like to see Lorraine Berton, owner of Arlecchino, at the helm of the association.