Safilo Group

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Safilo Group S.p.A.
IndustryFashion, manufacturing
FoundedPieve di Cadore, Italy, in 1934
Area served
Key people
Angelo Trocchia (CEO), Eugenio Razelli (President), Guglielmo Tabacchi (Founder)
ProductsSport and fashion sunglasses, spectacle frames, ski helmets and goggles, bike helmets
ServicesOpticians, e-commerce
Revenue€969.6 million (2021)[1]
Decrease €27.4 million (2021)[1]
Number of employees
<4500 (2021)[2]

Safilo Group S.p.A. (acronym of Società Azionaria Fabbrica Italiana Lavorazione Occhiali) is an Italian company that designs, produces, and distributes prescription frames, sunglasses, sports eyewear, ski goggles and helmets, and cycling helmets under its own five house brands and 32 licensed brands, including Smith Optics which manufactures military grade eyewear.

Safilo's products are manufactured in its own Italian facilities, with additional plants in Slovenia, the United States and China.[3] Its products are distributed in 130 countries worldwide.[4][failed verification]

Safilo presently is the third largest company in eyewear. The company traditionally trailed Luxottica, later EssilorLuxottica, as the second largest company, though slipped to third when both LVMH and Kering began manufacturing eyewear for its brands rather than having Safilo produce eyewear for their fashion houses; Kering Eyewear subsequently became the second largest in 2022.[5][6][7]


The first manufacturing site opened in 1878 to produce lenses and frames in Calalzo di Cadore, in the Venetian Alps. Guglielmo Tabacchi bought this production site in 1934 and founded a new eyewear company, Safilo, today the oldest player in the Italian eyewear industry.[8]

Throughout the years, the group's exports expanded to countries in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and South America. During World War II, Safilo was forced to produce only one type of eyewear, a celluloid frame in two colors - amber and reddish Havana brown - that were all sent to Germany. After the war, exports to other European countries resumed and operations expanded to Rome and Milan with exports beginning to the United States.

In 1974, the founder of Safilo died and his sons took over. In the 1970s, Safilo opened sales offices in various European countries, patented the Elasta hinge, and introduced a popular UFO model of sunglasses.[8]

In the 1980s, Safilo developed designer collections[9] and gained full control of the American eyewear company Starline Optical Corp. It subsequently acquired then sunglass-maker Friuli-based Oxsol and was introduced on the Milan Stock Exchange in 1987.[8] In 1989, Safilo started to produce Gucci's eyewear, and extended to more PPR-owned (today Kering) brands such as Yves Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta and Alexander McQueen.[8][10]

In the 1990s, Safilo entered the Asian market, in Hong Kong, opened branches in more countries in Europe, South Africa, Japan and Brazil. Safilo Group acquired the American sports eyewear maker Smith Sports Optics, Inc, and Austria's Carrera Optyl.[8]

In May 2001, Safilo's chairman Vittorio Tabacchi (grandson of Safilo's founder) launched a takeover bid to acquire full ownership of the Safilo Group. Still in 2001, the company inaugurated its new centralized warehouse at its Padua headquarters. In 2002, Safilo acquired the Solstice Sunglasses chain in US, which was then sold in 2019 to focus exclusively on the wholesale business model. Roberto Vedovotto was CEO of the Safilo Group from 2002 to 2006 and relieved the group's saddling debt by selling 40% to Crédit Suisse First Boston.[8] The company returned to the Milan Stock Exchange in December 2005. That year, the Safilo Group made $1.1 billion in revenue and produced 2,500 new eyewear designs.[9] Roberto Vedovotto returned to lead Safilo as CEO in November 2009.[8]

In January 2019, HAL Holdings N.V., through its subsidiary Multibrands Italy B.V., increased its shares in Safilo to 49.8%. In 2020, the Safilo Group completed the acquisition of Blenders Eyewear and Privé Revaux, two digitally native brands powered by a strong e-commerce business model. The eyewear group also partnered with The Ocean Cleanup to create sunglasses made with ocean waste plastic.[11]

Safilo owns its private collection about the history of eyewear and of the company.[12]

Eyewear brands[edit]

House brands:[13]

Licensed eyewear brands:[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b 2018 Financial results
  2. ^ Official Press Release
  3. ^ "Production Sites". Safilo. Archived from the original on 7 September 2009.[self-published source]
  4. ^ "Licensed Brands". Safilo. Archived from the original on 23 September 2009. Retrieved 13 Nov 2009.[self-published source]
  5. ^ WW, FashionNetwork com. "LVMH-owned Thélios reportedly interested in buying Safilo's Italian factory". Retrieved 2023-08-30.
  6. ^ Chevalier, Michel (2012). Luxury Brand Management. Singapore: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-118-17176-9.
  7. ^ McCauley, Sean (2023-03-13). "PRETAVOIR.US | Online Opticians | Shop Sunglasses & Glasses". Pretavoir. Retrieved 2023-08-30.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g "Safilo at 75" (PDF). WWD. 23 March 2009. Retrieved 10 October 2022.
  9. ^ a b Tagliabue, John (2006-03-24). "An Italian Rivalry Born of Expertise in Glass". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-10-10.
  10. ^ "Safilo e Gucci continuano a guardare nella stessa direzione". (in Italian). 14 November 2008. Retrieved 2022-10-10.
  11. ^ Dimama, Elena (2020-10-26). "Safilo introduces sunglasses made with ocean waste plastic". DFNI. Retrieved 2022-10-10.
  12. ^ "Official Museum website".
  13. ^ a b Turra, Alessandra (18 December 2013). "Safilo Group Names Global Commercial Director". WWD. Retrieved 18 December 2013.

External links[edit]