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J.F. Rey

I hold a special affinity for family-owned brands. Though this founder recently passed the keys to his kingdom to new ownership, Jean-François Rey stands out as a prime example of a brand done right that still manages to hold it's independent title. Now, let’s travel through the annals of time to unveil how his exceptional contributions shaped the landscape of the present-day eyeglass industry.

In the 1980s, Jean-François Rey and his wife Joëlle led an eyewear revolution, transforming glasses from mere "medical devices" into fashionable accessories. Their unique styles and vibrant color choices brought authenticity and personality to eyewear, a stark departure from the bland designs of the past. Over decades, they elevated frames to mainstream fashion, establishing their headquarters in Marseille, France, and strategically placing subsidiaries in the US and Netherlands. With direct distribution channels in Europe and Japan, JF Rey's well-connected network of distributors has propelled them to global success, earning international acclaim.

Empowered by historical expertise and a commitment to the modern, this team of designers is dedicated to upholding the three core values that formed the foundation of J.F. Rey's success: Technical Innovation, Unexpected Designs, and Quality Manufacturing. Enriched with lasting values and a keen awareness of the times, J.F. Rey has undergone significant evolution over the decades. This transformation is evident through a diverse array of collections, each showcasing distinctive specialties. From their 1985 collection seamlessly blending nostalgic designs with a contemporary twist to the Teens collection tailored for girls aged 12 and above, allowing young individuals to explore their style identity without compromising on quality or personality. Collaborating with unconventional designers such as Hideo Kojima, a Japanese video game designer, J.F. Rey unveiled a limited collection of futuristic, cyberpunk-inspired creations. These instances highlight the brand's far-reaching influence in fashion, underscoring its ability to excel across diverse facets of design.

In 2021, J.F. transferred company ownership to a team of seasoned "eyewear managers," each set to receive a one-third share of the company. Jean-François relinquished his executive duties, yet he and Joëlle will continue supporting the design team for brand continuity. The new owners—Walter Pirinoli, Dan Levi, and Ralf Kmoch—are esteemed eyewear specialists, though my research yielded limited background on them. Despite my reservations, only time will reveal the brand's fate under their ownership. I hope Jean and Joëlle's presence with the design team will preserve the artistry of this renowned designer's original concepts and creations.

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