In an effort to transform geek into chic, Melville-based Marchon Eyewear Inc. is rolling out a collection of optical frames designed for Google Glass this month.
The DVF | Made for Glass collection, the first line of designer frames for Glass, is the product of a partnership between Google Inc. and fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, who has had a licensing agreement with Marchon since 2009 to manufacture her eyeglass designs.
Marchon, which was acquired by California vision care company VSP Global in 2008, is the third largest manufacturer and distributor of eyewear in the world, with combined net sales of about $1 billion a year.
"We believe that wearable tech is only going to become more prevalent in the market," said Mark Ginsberg, senior vice president of global marketing at Marchon. "I don't think it was a tough decision to partner with Google and DVF."
Fashion and mass appeal, it seems, have been a major concern of Google's recently. Last month, the tech giant replaced Babak Parviz, one of the engineers behind Google Glass, with fashion-industry veteran Ivy Ross to head the Glass project team. Previously, Ross worked as chief marketing officer of Art.com and executive vice president of marketing for Gap Inc.
As of now, the wearable smart device, which will clip onto von Furstenberg's frames, can only be bought through Google's Glass Explorer beta program at a price tag of $1,500. Although the market for Glass remains limited to a "very elite group of aficionados," Ginsberg says wearable technology will go mainstream.
"The technology is evolving into a very viable part of the industry of eyewear," he said. "Why wouldn't we want to be first?"
The DVF frames and sunglasses, priced from $120 to $225, will be available online starting June 23.
Marchon, founded in 1983, makes products for some other big brand names, including Calvin Klein, Michael Kors and Sean John. The company employs nearly 2,300 worldwide, including about 500 on Long Island. Marchon manufactured around 12 million frames in 2013 at its factories in Italy and mainland China.
The DVF Glass collection, which includes one optical frame in five colors and two sunglass options in four colors each, is targeted to female consumers of both fashion and technology, but Marchon hopes to make Glass frames for men eventually.
"We're only focusing on the DVF collection at the moment," said Ginsberg. "We have great hope that there will be great collaboration in the future."