Chic, Fashionable, Trendsetting. WestGroupe is a leader when it comes to eyewear fashion and design. Their pieces have donned the faces of countless celebrities and their collections have captured the eye of fashionistas around the globe. Vice president of product development Beverly Suliteanu shares the inspirations that keeps WestGroupe among the top eyewear companies in the world.

What is WestGroupe passionate about?
I would have to say that WestGroupe’s passion comes from the long term relationship that we have forged with our team members and our customers. For the past 53 years,
we have strived to be a leader in the eyewear industry by developing, creating and supporting innovative products and services that allow our customers to succeed. Our aim in developing new products, programs and systems has always been to help our customers become stronger, more competitive and more efficient.

How does WestGroupe develop a new piece of eyewear?
The development process is an ongoing, continuous process. We are constantly researching the seasonal trends in fashion and design as well as the evolutionary trends that are happening in our own industry. We work closely with our factories in developing new colours and colour applica- tion techniques in order to make our designs stand out in this ever crowded marketplace. Once our season concepts are finalized,
the prototyping stage is probably the longest part of the process as we work on a prototype until the fit and look is perfect. This may
take four or five prototype revisions. Once the prototype is finalized we then work on colours and finishes until the model
is finalized.

How would WestGroupe define their client?
Due to the diversity of our brand portfolio, we can cater to a wide cross-section of clients. Our client base currently ranges from owner operated optical stores and optometric practices to national chains and buying groups. As our brand portfolio is quite deep, we cover most segments in the marketplace. We have the Superflex and Superflex kids brands for the value segment and Bertelli, Izumi, Perry Ellis, Jill Stuart, and Elizabeth Arden for the mid market dispensaries. Kliik, Fysh, Evatik and Stepper cover the affordable luxury segments that many optical dispensaries are now focusing on and SPY targets that young, urban hipster. The addition of the Hello Kitty and New Balance kids collection has really rounded out our product offering for children.

What is new for fall 2014?
Fall is always an exciting time in our indus- try as everyone gears up for the second half of the year. We are very excited for the 2014 Back-to-School season with the introduction of Hello Kitty and New Balance Boys.
The initial reaction has been so fantastic for both collections that we advanced our Hello Kitty release schedule to include 6 new models that were originally slated to launch in early 2015.

How is WestGroupe leading the way in the industry?
WestGroupe continues to focus on creating eyewear that resonates with our Canadian consumers. Although we are selling many of our brands in the global marketplace, our focus is and will always be to design for the Canadian consumer. Although fashion is a huge part of the DNA of our brands, our collections are optical brands and
we have the freedom to design frames that incorporate the trends in the optical industry as well as the fashion industry. This is a luxury not a lot of brands have.