Last night, CBS‘ 60 Minutes investigated a “little-known but very big Italian company” called Luxottica, a name that you may never have heard before but from which you have almost certainly bought a pair of glasses.
You see, Luxottica is the world’s largest eyewear manufacturer, producing frames for everyone from Prada to Chanel to Ralph Lauren, to the tune of 65 million pairs in 2011 alone. In the segment, reporter Lesley Stahl interviews CEO Andrea Guerra, who estimates that there are half a billion people wearing glasses manufactured by his company at a time.
Other tidbits you may not have known? Luxottica also owns Ray-Ban, which they “refurbished” from a $29/pair gas station brand into the top-selling sunglasses name in the world. And not only that — they own LensCrafters, Sunglass Hut, Oliver Peoples, Target optical, Sears optical, and several boutique chains. PLUS EyeMed, the country’s second-largest vision care plan. Guerra contends that there are “lots of things” his company doesn’t own, but as glasses-wearers ourselves, we’re starting get the unsettling feeling that they pretty much own us.
That being said, we do think Stahl pulls off last Spring’s swirly Prada frames with aplomb. Watch the clip for yourself below, and let us know if you’re planning on hightailing it to lower-priced e-tailer Warby Parker next time you’re in need of some specs, or if you dont mind shilling out more for the big name brands: