Modo Eyewear, a company based in New York with an office in Milan for the European, Asian and Middle Eastern markets, is enjoying strong growth. Declining to disclose the overall figures, managers of the company tell us that its sales grew last year by 22 percent in the U.S. and by 47 percent for the Milan subsidiary.
The difference in the growth is explained by the fact that Modo arrived on the U.S. market 25 years ago, whereas the group's founder, Alessandro Lanaro, established Modo Europe in Milan just seven years ago together with a partner, Giovanni Lo Faro, who is acting as chief executive. Modo Europe's sales rose by 85 percent outside the Italian market, especially in France, Germany and the U.K. They went up in Italy, too, which is covered by 12 of the 28 agents that service the European market.
In spite of its Italian origins, the group has chosen to produce in Japan, which guarantees high quality and gives the brand a broader international image. The company also wants to project a strong environmental image, supported by new product initiatives.
The group's core strategy is based on two house brands, Modo and Eco. The raw materials for the Eco brand have traditionally been recycled eyewear and scrap metal. For certain models, they now include a plastic similar to acetate, made of resin from the castor oil plant.
Modo continues with its reforestation campaign, planting a tree somewhere in the world for every pair of Eco glasses sold. From the 900,000 trees planted by 2013, the number now stands at 1,400,000. In the Cameroon, for example, the initiative goes further than planting trees: through an ONG called “Trees for the Future,” it also teaches the local people efficient agro-forestry methods.
The more mainstream Modo brand has an exclusive sub-collection called VS1 named after a famous designer - Valerio Sommella - who designs for Alessi, the iconic Italian brand renowned particularly for its kitchen and tableware. The models of the VS1 line are 20 percent more expensive than the average price of Modo models.
The company also has three eyewear licenses: 7 For Mankind, which has been on the market for a few years, and two new brands, Derek Lam and Jason Wu, both named after their New York-based designers.