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French manufacturing: historical know-how for high-end glasses

Tardy glasses are entirely made in our Oyonnax workshop. The French anchoring of our production ensures the quality and robustness of our models. Explanations.

Origin of the French eyewear industry and role of Oyonnax

The origin of the French eyewear industry dates back to the end of the 18th century. The glasses were until then generally imported from England and awfully expensive. A craftsman from Morez, Pierre-Hyacinthe Caseaux decided to make his own frame with… wire. The French eyewear industry was born and developed in the region. In Morez, metallurgy’s local hub, they naturally specialized in metal frames.

Not far from there, in Oyonnax, acetate frames were set to become the norm. The city was historically specialized in the manufacture of horn combs and the arrival of plastic revolutionized the manufacture of these objects. The craftsmen of Oyonnax started to master a new material, including its very high-end version: acetate. At the start of the 20th century, Oyonnax's eyewear industry thus developed on an exceptional ground: local mastery of acetate combined with regional eyewear expertise.

Asian competition and offshoring

However, in the 1980s Asian competition started to blow. Cheap labour drived a price war at the expense of quality. Many historic eyewear companies relocated and the number of French employees in the sector was divided by four. The blow was hard for many including Tardy, which closed its doors in the mid-90s.

Facing the shock, the French industry has gradually reorganized and has focused on its century-old know-how to justify higher costs. Eyewear workshops decided to innovate and work more and more on the quality, elegance and robustness of the frames produced. The race for volumes made no sense to face Asian and Italian competition and the French sector started focusing on the very high end.

French manufacturing: a no-brainer

Associated to the original know-how, the qualitative bias of the French sector corresponds perfectly to Tardy's expectations and achieved convincing us to have all of our frames made in France.

After discussing with multiple players in the sector, we decided to partner with the Roussilhe workshop, which shares our "slow-fashion" values, ​​to anchor our production in Oyonnax. All our frames are thus labeled “Origine France Garantie”.


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