Italy's Vanni has created a new 50-50 joint venture in the U.S. with Match Eyewear, an American distributor that is currently expanding after the acquisition of a Canadian firm, Optiq Frames. The new company - Design Gallery - made its debut at the recent International Vision Expo West fair in Las Vegas. It will distribute Derapage and the other collections made for Vanni in Italy.

Some 15 percent of Vanni's turnover is already generated in the U.S., and this figure has doubled in the past three years. The European turnover has remained constant, but to remain competitive, the company has had to reduce its profit margins.

Among Vanni's new collections are cellulose acetate frames from cotton. With a dedicated five-man R&D team, Vanni spends 4 percent of revenues on R&D. The company's sales rose by 12 percent in 2013 to €5.2 million.