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Hollywood sees the world through Austrian glasses

Glasses - Titan Minimal Art by Silhouette © Silhouette International Schmied AG

© Silhouette International Schmied AG

26. May 2009

It all begins in Linz – an Austrian saying that certainly fits the success story of family-owned company Silhouette. Founded in 1964, today the company’s elegant eyewear graces the faces of countless Hollywood stars. The glasses from Linz - which are 80% handmade - have even been to space, as they are worn on NASA missions.

There are certain products which are not as well known in their own country as they are everywhere else in the world. These include, for example, the ophthalmic frames and sunwear from the family-run Linz company Silhouette International Schmied AG . Anyone who’s anyone in Hollywood wears Silhouette, such as Tom Cruise or Dustin Hoffman. But it’s not just the A-list of American actors who swear by the sophisticated design of these Upper Austrian glasses which are 80% handmade. Space agency NASA also trusts in Silhouette glasses: as the frames are fixed without any screws, they are the only frames suitable for space travel. Every year around 2 million pairs of frameless glasses are produced in Linz under the Silhouette brand.

The scope of activities of Silhouette International Schmied AG covers the design, production and marketing of ophthalmic frames and sunwear in metal and synthetics. In addition to its own brand Silhouette, the company also manufactures frames under license for the brands adidas eyewear and Daniel Swarovski crystal eyewear The company, founded in Linz in 1964, employs around 1,630 staff worldwide and is now run by the family’s second generation, brothers Arnold and Klaus Schmied. Almost 3 million eyewear frames leave the plant every year and 95% of production is exported.