NORWALK, Conn.—Together, L’Amy America
and American Optical
(AO) are announcing a new manufacturing partnership for Champion Eyewear. The creation of an exclusive series of American made ophthalmics and sunglasses for Champion, a joint venture, “cements L’Amy’s and AO’s shared commitment to fuel the revitalization of American eyewear manufacturing,” the companies said. L’Amy America CEO and president Stephen Rappoport said, “ American Optical’s highest-quality manufacturing and engineering expertise combined with L’Amy America’s design, marketing and distribution strengths create a powerful synergy greatly enhanced by the resurgence of one of America’s iconic athletic and lifestyle brands, Champion. We are absolutely thrilled to partner with AO who, much like L’Amy, possesses one of our industry’s richest and longest enduring product and service histories.”
“The Champion brand in 2019 will celebrate its 100-year anniversary of being America’s original athletic brand,” said L’Amy America’s Connie Reiss, worldwide business unit manager. “In 2019, L’Amy America, in partnership with American Optical, will honor the heritage of Champion by releasing the first series of its new ‘Made in the U.S.A’ collection.” She added, “The combined brand strengths of Champion, L’Amy and AO perfectly coincides the heritage brand upward trajectory in the sport and eyewear marketplaces today. Our combined story provides an unparalleled authenticity. Our centuries of experience will allow us to tell an exciting story, but more importantly will yield an eyewear collection of the finest craftsmanship entirely made in the U.S.A.”
American Optical owner Alan McKinley stated, “We couldn’t be more excited about working with L’Amy America to produce for Champion, one of the world’s most iconic brands. It is a perfect blending of AO’s brand and manufacturing authority in the optical industry, along with the brand awareness of the Champion brand among fashion and sport enthusiasts and, of course, L’Amy America’s expert ability to bring this new collection to all markets. Combining these rich heritages into this unique frame collaboration is a sure win for the optical consumer. We consider it a great honor to be part of this heritage program especially because of how it strengthens and showcases ‘Made in America’ frame manufacturing.”
AO Eyewear, Inc. is wholly owned by Mary and Alan McKinley of Southbridge, Mass., who purchased the company in 2005. American Optical was originally formed in 1833 and is well known for its contributions to the optical industry including many “firsts” in frame and lens technology. Formerly the Metal Frame Division of American Optical, AO Eyewear now holds a license to manufacture and distribute high quality AO branded frames of all materials from its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Southbridge.
Since 1919, Champion Athleticwear has offered a full line of innovative athletic apparel for men and women including activewear, sweats, tees, sports bras, team uniforms and accessories. Champion uses innovative design and state-of-the-art product testing to ensure uncompromised quality and innovative apparel for consumers. Champion Athleticwear can be purchased at department stores, sporting goods, specialty retailers, and at Champion.com. Champion is a brand of Hanesbrands Inc. (NYSE: HBI).