Foster Grant Celebrates 85 Years as the First Sunglasses Company in the United States

FGX International “Pair for Pair” to help improve the quality of life in developing countries

SMITHFIELD, R.I.--()--FGX International, a leading eyewear designer and marketer, is celebrating the 85th anniversary of Foster Grant, the brand credited with selling the first pair of mass-produced sunglasses ever in the United States in 1929. During the brand’s anniversary celebration, FGX will continue to donate a pair of reading glasses through its "Pair for Pair" program for every pair of reading glasses, including Foster Grant reading glasses, sold in the United States on readerglasses.com, the company’s online eyewear boutique, to Restoring Vision, a non-profit organization that distributes eyewear in developing countries. Throughout the past four years, FGX has donated more than 1.5 million pairs of eyewear to the organization, including those donated through its Pair for Pair program.

“85 Years ago, Sam Foster made a critical health accessory accessible and affordable to people throughout the United States,” said Gina Lazaro, Chief Marketing Officer at FGX International. “Before that first sale of 10 cent Foster Grant sunglasses, protection from the sun’s harmful UVA/UVB rays was limited only to those who could afford custom made sunglasses. Foster Grant’s relationship with Restoring Vision, continues that tradition of providing affordable eyewear that can impact and change people’s lives.”

“Thanks to the generous donations of reading glasses from FGX, we've been able to increase our volume for 2014 by almost 50% over 2013 and are now able to focus efforts on finding new groups in developing countries,” said Mark Sachs of Restoring Vision. “Studies have shown that correcting someone's vision can improve productivity by 35% and wages by 20%. For someone making just $2/day, that can mean an extra $100 annually in the family budget. It can mean the difference between a life of poverty and one of opportunity.”

As part of the 85th Anniversary, Foster Grant is partnering with popular actress and musician Kat Graham for a series of Foster Grant print ads this summer. Kat joins iconic actress and author Brooke Shields as the latest celebrity featured in the brand’s famous “Who’s That Behind Those Foster Grants?” campaign, which will run in the popular fashion magazines Marie Claire, Seventeen and Cosmopolitan.

“I am honored to be working with such a great brand,” said Graham. “There’s a rich history behind Foster Grant and this campaign and I am happy to be amongst such an amazing cast of Hollywood stars. I also really love the fact that Foster Grant helps so many people by donating eyewear across the world through its charitable efforts.”

Foster Grant catapulted to fame with the historic, “Who’s That Behind Those Foster Grants?” ad campaign, which featured iconic Hollywood celebrities including Raquel Welch, Anthony Quinn, Peter Sellers, Mia Farrow, Elke Sommer and Vanessa Redgrave. Prior to that campaign, sunglasses were used predominately for eye health, not fashion. Pop and film stars quickly adopted the habit of wearing sunglasses as part of their image – and the masses soon followed. Sunglasses became a popular culture fashion accessory sysnonymous with being stylish and chic.

Foster Grant remains the largest distributor of sunglasses in the world, selling more pairs than any other brand. In addition to its 2014 Summer Collection, the brand re-released a vintage-inspired anniversary collection that is available on FosterGrant.com. The entire Foster Grant collection features affordable, trend-right styles as well as polarized sunglasses that eliminate glare and a driving collection that features an anti-reflective back coating. Foster Grant sunglasses can be found in retailers throughout the US and Canada, and is available online at fostergrant.com.

About FGX International

FGX International Inc. is a leading designer and marketer of non-prescription reading glasses and sunglasses with a portfolio of established, highly recognized eyewear brands including Foster Grant®, Sight Station®, Magnivision®, Gargoyles®, Anarchy®, Corinne McCormack®, SolarShield® and PolarEyes®. FGXI also holds licenses for brands such as Ironman®, Body Glove®, Disney®, Field & Stream™, Dockers®, Reebok®, Nine West®, NASCAR®, and Panama Jack®. Based in Smithfield, Rhode Island, FGXI has approximately 500 full time employees. Additional offices are located in New York City; Ormond Beach, FL; San Luis Obispo, CA; Toronto; Milan; Stoke-on-Trent, England; Mexico City; and Shenzhen, China. FGX International is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Essilor International, the world’s leading ophthalmic optics company, whose mission is to improve lives by improving sight. With a consolidated revenue of over €5 billion in 2013 and more than 55 000 employees, the Essilor Group operates in some 100 countries.

Contacts

FGX International, Inc.
Sal Siano, 401-719-2160
ssiano@fgxi.com

The Vampire Diaries actress and musician Kat Graham and Foster Grant CEO Cesar Melo celebrate Foster Grant's 85th Anniversary, Thursday, July 17, 2014, at Gansevoort Park Avenue in New York. Graham is the latest star to be featured in the brand's historic "Who's That Behind Those Foster Grants?" ad campaign. Foster Grant is credited with the birth of sunglasses in the United States, selling the first pair on the Atlantic City boardwalk for 10 cents in 1929. (Photo by Diane Bondareff/Invision for Foster Grant)

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Contacts

FGX International, Inc.
Sal Siano, 401-719-2160
ssiano@fgxi.com