50 Years of Excellence
A world success thanks to know-how and visionary design
“What a remarkable achievement. My congratulations to the company on your anniversary. I personally rely several times each day on Silhouette eyewear,” said Patrick Dempsey, star of the series Grey's Anatomy, who is delighted with Silhouette.
Tom Cruise, has worn it, too, just as have Cate Blanchett and Tali Lennox. Barbie has adorned herself many times with it. Silhouette eyewear – that stands for innovation and wearing comfort, a great feel for materials and a stylish accessory that is up-to-the-minute.
From the revolutionary Titan Minimal Art Collection to the reinterpretation of the legendary Futura sunglasses — Silhouette sets new standards year after year by employing the best materials, latest technologies and a compelling design. The Austrian eyewear brand is now celebrating its 50th anniversary.
Silhouette is one of the few eyewear brands in central Europe that is still in family hands after being founded in 1964 and that is produced exclusively in Europe. Whether rimless ophthalmic frames or sunglasses — each and every model is produced with high-tech know-how and precision tools as well as with loving handicraft, and during its production, is constantly controlled for perfect quality of execution.
Silhouette eyewear – that stands for future-oriented technology, research and development down to the hundredth of a millimeter — made possible through highly trained employees, unique technological know-how and commitment. Silhouette eyewear – that stands for the perfect combination of innovation and craftsmanship. “We wanted to make eyewear more than just a visual aid. Our goal was to make it an accessory for seeing better and looking better,” so goes the motto of company founders Arnold and Anneliese Schmied. The brand has been pursuing this goal for 50 years now.
1964 — 2014
The success story of the Austrian company began in 1964 with the realization of a vision: Anneliese and Arnold Schmied decided to free spectacles from their sober image as a visual aid and instead position them as an accessory. With a staff of five and designer Dora Demmel on board, the couple founded the Silhouette brand.
The first collections were sold in Austria, Belgium and Denmark. The products quickly became an export hit: After just one year, the company was also delivering to Germany, Norway, Switzerland and France. Soon thereafter, the company conquered Canada, the USA and Asia.
Today Silhouette belongs to the top group of eyewear manufacturers worldwide, with more than 1,500 employees. Silhouette eyewear is available on all continents, in 150 countries. The company’s location is still where it has always been, where it was founded – in Linz, Austria.
The quality of the products makes the company unique: Silhouette is the leading brand of quality, primarily rimless eyewear with the greatest potential for individualization.
Stars love Silhouette
The list of prominent, satisfied wearers is long: Silhouette eyewear has been worn on the red carpet, in Hollywood blockbusters and in TV series. Superstars wear them in concert and when they are off-stage. It is impossible to imagine not seeing Silhouette eyewear on TV talk shows and on the faces of newscasters.
Not only did Tom Cruise fight his way through the movie ‘Collateral’ in 2004 wearing a pair of Titan Minimal Art sunglasses, but he also had a bespoke pair of Titan Minimal Art made according to his wishes for his personal use.
Since their 2008 New Year’s concert, musicians of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra – considered by many to be the best orchestra in the world — have been wearing rimless Silhouette eyewear and so can freely look at both the notes and a TV audience of billions around the world.
After toy manufacturer Mattel kitted out the most famous of all its dolls – Barbie – with two different pairs of sunglasses from the Silhouette Futura Collection in the 1970s, she complemented her fashionable outfits in 2009 by wearing the Titan Minimal Art and Horizon models.
Since the turn of the century, Silhouette eyewear has been sighted on the catwalks of numerous fashion shows in Paris, New York, London and Milan.
Prominent faces of Silhouette
At Silhouette, compelling communication goes hand in hand with high demands for design and technology: in 2009, Silhouette engaged Nick Knight, one of the most significant and innovative fashion photographers in the world, known for his unmistakable style of photography. The Brit photographed top model Nadja Auermann for Silhouette wearing a Special Edition of the Titan Minimal Art. In 2010, Nadja Auermann and Helena Christensen staged the first Silhouette Kristall Collection.
Carla Bruni, model and singer, presented the Luxury Collection of Silhouette. Model Markus Schenkenberg appeared in three collections of the brand and also took part in Silhouette’s 40th anniversary celebrations in 2004. Model Alex Watson presented Titan Minimal Art in one of his first campaign shoots. Among the prominent photographers of the testimonials is also one of the few stars from Austria, Elfie Semotan.
The new series Titan Minimal Art — The Icon was presented in 2013 by star actors Cate Blanchett and Patrick Dempsey, captured again by a legendary photographer: Peter Lindbergh, discoverer of the Supermodel Phenomenum, known for his black-and-white settings. In 2014, It girl Tali Lennox was photographed by Lindbergh for the campaign of the Futura Anniversary Collection.
The great art of eyewear manufacturing depends not only on design, but also on technological know-how and the best materials. With its ambitious team of researchers, Silhouette has been a pioneer time and again and in many cases remains unequalled today. Not only has the company taken eyewear to the catwalk, but it has also continuously developed new materials to make fashionable eyewear lighter and more comfortable.
Already back in 1973 the company succeeded in creating metallic eyewear with coloured rims. In 1982, the first model with Chinese lacquer, applied by hand, was produced in series. From 1983, the development of the new SPX plastic (S stands for Silhouette, P for polyamide, X for the secret technology) opened up a new dimension in eyewear design for Silhouette. The basis of this elastic, resilient and particularly flexible material is a beady plastic granulate that allows for undreamed of scope in design. A further Silhouette development is the SPX®+ polymere composite — today the basis of many Silhouette models.
An additional innovation is the revolutionary titanium alloys that have made extremely light – and especially rimless – eyewear possible from the beginning of the 1990s. The Titan Minimal Art has been produced since 1999. It is a masterpiece of purity and lightness: 1.8 grams light, the first screwless, hingeless, rimless eyewear; a model that can be individually tailored to the needs of its wearer. It is the company’s most successful eyewear and is revolutionary: Up to now, Titan Minimal Art has been sold more than nine million times worldwide and has been considered for many design prizes.
The lightest eyewear in the universe
The lightness of Titan Minimal Art, paired with its extreme robustness and flexibility, also excited the US space agency NASA: Since 2000, Titan Minimal Art is standard-issue eyewear for all NASA astronauts. The screwless and hingeless rimless eyewear weighs only 1.8 grams and its elastic temple guarantees a perfect grip, even in the zero gravity of outer space. It has accompanied dozens of astronauts on more than 30 missions in space. “If you move your head quickly in space, it can happen that the eyewear flies away – that does not happen with a Silhouette, it always sat there, where it was supposed to: on your face,” said astronaut Michael Bloomfield, praising his Silhouette.
Since 1991, the company Silhouette International has been producing sports eyewear with sophisticated functions under license for the brand adidas eyewear. adidas eyewear stands for the greatest functionality and quality in the sports eyewear and ophthalmic eyewear sectors. The brand has several patents and is available in more than 100 countries. Protection, fit and design have the highest priority in sports eyewear, too. The evil eye performance sunglasses, an adidas eyewear highlight, unites all these traits.
The future of Silhouette
“To create the most beautiful eyewear and take greatest quality as a matter of course, that has always been Silhouette’s aspiration” – that is the motto of company founder Arnold Schmied, Sr.
Today some 1,500 employees under the direction of Chairmen Daniel Rogger and Thomas Windischbauer are taking this aspiration into the future. Always a step ahead due to intensive research, innovations, state-of-the-art know-how and unique materials, Silhouette guarantees in the future, too, the highest standards in quality as well as eyewear made in Europe. “We will further expand our position as leading eyewear manufacturer in the top sector through qualitative growth as well as building up in new markets, particularly in Asia and South America,” said Daniel Rogger, who as CEO is responsible for Marketing, Sales, Design and Human Resources.
“As an independent family business, we are able to make decisions quickly and autonomously – in the interests of our employees, our partners and the spectacle wearers themselves, who treasure the high quality and wearing comfort of Silhouette eyewear,” added Thomas Windischbauer, Chairman, responsible for Production, Technology, Finance, Logistics and Administration.
For Silhouette, the future has already begun – with the reissue of the legendary Futura Collection, created for the 50th anniversary by designer Gerhard Fuchs; it is innovative and futuristic, in Silhouette’s distinctive design.
With the launch of the Futura Collection, the brand has succeeded in creating a groundbreaking reinterpretation of one of its highlights with the use of state-of-the-art technology – and with it, the future prospects of eyewear history.
“The success of the past 50 years spurs our designers, researchers and technicians – all those who have made their mark on Silhouette – for the future,” said Rogger and Windischbauer. And to conclude: “We will not stop making new, fascinating and truly innovative eyewear.”
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What began in 1964 as a vision of glasses as a decorative device, is today the world’s leading brand of light and high quality glasses – Silhouette. This is the brand of the world’s lightest glasses, made with great attention to detail, a large proportion of work by hand, an individual design approach and the use of the best materials and the latest technology. Made in Austria, they are exported to 100 countries worldwide. In 1999 Silhouette revolutionized the eyeglass world with its Titan Minimal Art glasses weighing only 1.8 grams, without screws, hinges or rims. Silhouette glasses have been 35 times with astronauts in space; they travel around the globe with the Vienna Philharmonic as well as with a number of celebrities from entertainment, business and politics.