Alessio approached us early in 2018 about showcasing Vow London in his charming eyewear store located just outside the historic Italian city of Perugia. With first hand experience of working with some of the finest independent eyewear brands we quizzed Alessio on how he got started, his favourite brands and how he see's his business evolving in the coming years....
What inspired you to start Ottica-iSee?
My father was an optician, my grandfather as well, I grew up in my parents shop selling glasses to tourists and repairing broken frames since I was 12 years old, in the tiny shop that my dad was running 30 years ago in Assisi, a very small town in the center of Italy. In 2010 I decided to open my own shop and together with my sister Lucia, we are focused on designer glasses, allowing us to offer several brands that are impossible to find in high-street opticians in Italy
What do you love most about your job?
I like to discover new brands, I like to go and meet the mind behind the brands in their own country or as well meet the designers at the international tradeshows around the world; I also like to interact with our customers and at the moment, social media is a big part of my job: pictures, hashtags and great smiles are making me happy!
What are your three top tips for starting a business?
1) Take the risk even if other people will tell that you are crazy.
2) Don’t give up when you don’t see any improvements.
3) Take a plane and fly to another country and see how they work the same product you are selling, is inspiring
How do you go about discovering new brands?
Ha! My favourite question! Whenever I can, I fly to tradeshows and I love to discover new designers; a few months ago I went to South Korea to meet some guys from Seoul and I became the first European customer ever of their special glasses collection. Last year I went to Hong Kong and I met new and crazy designers and we became friends.
What is the reception like on new or otherwise unknown brands at Ottica-iSee?
At the beginning when we start the business was very difficult: Italians at that time were tied to famous brands (like Gucci, Dior, Prada) and for me it has been very difficult to introduce unknown brands on the market. Now I have to say that we have fantastic customers always ready to our new collections and I am very lucky that I also have brands that are happy to work with me!
What is your current favourite pair of Sunnies?
I am currently wearing a Carla Colour rounded black handmade acetate from USA and a hexagonal black and grey frame from my big friend Fa’ a.k.a. Pawaka.
I’m still in love with the old oversized glasses from the 70’s and the bold and crazy, sometimes impossible to wear 80’s glasses.
What are your trend predictions for next season?
It’s hard to say but I would say that metal frames will be still very popular but I am hoping to see back on the market a very strong and thick acetate maybe in oval shapes that now is missing.
What does the future hold for Ottica-isee?
We have recently updated our website, and next step will be to refurbish our shop!
What was your greatest fashion statement as a child?
I remember that Sid Vicious from the Sex Pistols was a big inspiration when I was child … torn jeans Dr. Martens and leather jacket have been my status for long time.
Find Alessio's selection of Vow London frames at https://ottica-isee.com/