Based in Italy's eyewear district around Belluno, Immagine 98 has been operating in the international market for some years with its X-Ide and Rye-Lye brands. The company showcased another new brand, MIC Made In Cadore, with a special installation at last month's Mido show in Milan. It's the result of an ambitious project involving a number of personalities in the sector to create a brand that is closely associated with the Cadore region of Italy.

Nestled in the Dolomite mountains, the region has enjoyed a fine tradition of producing quality eyewear since the end of the 19th century, and the brand's name is designed to confirm that the tradition lives on. The brand's identity is represented by a metal logo on the stem next to the hinge representing a familiar image of the Dolomite Mountains.

Two of the personalities involved in the project are Tiziano Tabacchi, the owner of Frame Works, which designs frames for Immagine 98 and other eyewear companies; and his sister Susy Tabacchi, the owner of Immagine 98, which will manage MIC and be responsible for production and sales. They are not related to the Tabacchi family that owned Safilo.

Two other partners are the chief executive of Immagine 98, Giovanni Torossi, who is no longer involved in Area 98 (Eyewear Intelligence - Vol.13 n° 10); and MISE, a company specialized in communication and marketing that will produce a dedicated campaign for the new brand. The interested parties have signed a contract to share costs and revenues.

MIC currently has a range of eight prescription frames – four for men and four for women - and four sunglass frames - again, two for men and two for women - targeting consumers above the age of 30. They will be manufactured by five or six eyewear producers in the Cadore district, including some small artisans. Immagine 98 already has a network of distributors, and will add an additional, smaller network dedicated to Made In Cadore.

The business plan calls for direct distribution of the new line to opticians in Italy, France, Germany and the Netherlands by the end of 2018. The brand will be launched in Canada by a distributor on April 20. Immagine 98 closed 2017 with revenues of €3 million, up by 20 percent year on year.