THE HISTORY OF THE L’AMY EYEWEAR MANUFACTURE
FROM ARTISANAL FRENCH EYEWEAR MANUFACTURE IN THE 19TH CENTURY TO THE INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION OF HIGH-END, MODERN GLASSES.
The Lamy family was one of the families involved in developing the craftsmanship implicated in eyewear manufacture. It is thanks to Louis Félix LAMY, born in Les Rousses (Jura) back in 1779, that this company was set up in 1810. In the beginning, Louis Félix LAMY focused on selling eyewear to Switzerland and Italy on account of their proximity to the Jura. Trading with these other countries brought the business international success. In 1879, his grandson, Auguste LAMY joined the company and began exporting his grandfather’s frames to Australia. This initiative also proved successful and the LAMY collections won an award at the international exhibition in Sydney, as well as in Melbourne the year after.
In 1883, Auguste constructed France’s first modern factory for making glasses, located on Rue Gagneur in Morez. It was directly behind the family home and employed 15 workers. The new factory was even more innovative and pioneering. It was the first electrified factory in Morez, with machines powered by hydroelectricity. This is how the company known as Auguste Lamy Fils was born.
By 1900, Auguste LAMY Fils had doubled its workforce. The two wars forced the LAMY family to put their activity on hold to join in the war effort. In spite of the economic and political conditions, the company survived into the 1940s.
In 1945, following in the footsteps of his grandfather, Robert LAMY took it upon himself to revive the family eyewear business and set about forging links with the National School of Opticianry in Morez.
The wars had inevitably weakened the company, but Robert LAMY used the family legacy and expertise to design his own frames and even went so far as to deliver them himself on his bike. He was able to produce frames in cut plastic and then metal thanks to subcontracted tools. This saw LAMY’s fortunes revived. In 1954, Robert’s younger brother Jacques LAMY also joined the family business. AGUSTE LAMY & Fils now counted around 40 employees.
THE MODERN ERA OF EYEWEAR MANUFACTURE
In 1963, LAMY was a common name in the Jura area, so to help the business stand out from other companies in the region with the same name, Auguste LAMY & Fils was shortened to LAMY and an apostrophe was added to make L'AMY its new name. With the factory on Rue Gagneur being too small, new premises were built. L’AMY moved to 216 Rue de la République in MOREZ in 1964.
With their passion and expertise, brothers Robert and Jacques made the company one of the leading names in the eyewear industry. To develop the company still further and improve the distribution of their collections, a company called SYGMA was set up in 1965 on Rue de Turbigo in PARIS. Sygma was later renamed L’Amy Diffusion Lunettes.
In 1970, L’AMY was no. 1 in its field in France, producing 1.2 million pairs of glasses per year with a 75% share of export sales.
In 1978, the L’Amy INC subsidiary was created in Connecticut in the USA to increase distribution of its eyewear collections on the other side of the Atlantic.
In 1981, the management team was expanded to include Marc and Hervé LAMY.
In 1989, two more subsidiaries were formed, L’Amy SRL in Milan and L’Amy Australia based in Sydney.
Having proved itself as an eyewear manufacturer, the L’AMY Group attracted attention from renowned brands wanting to produce collections of ophthalmic glasses and sunglasses. In 1981, L’AMY signed one of the very first contracts for the design, manufacture and distribution of an eyewear collection under licence, with the LACOSTE brand. A partnership that would last 25 years. Other brands followed the example set by LACOSTE and chose L’AMY to create their eyewear collections too.
The years that followed were dedicated exclusively to the manufacture of glasses under licence with special attention paid to the quality of frames, design, price and service offered. In 2009, an online catalogue was launched to meet the needs of present-day clients.
2010 saw steps taken to further improve the quality and care shown to clients with the group establishing an online customer service with orders delivered within 24 hours (orders placed before 1:30 pm on week days).
Today, the L’AMY Group has a whole portfolio of complementary brands focusing on two segments: “Fashion” and “Lifestyle”. Specialising in producing glasses under licence, L’AMY is one of the last remaining French eyewear manufacturers in existence.
Proud of its heritage and roots in the Jura, the company makes a point of producing part of its collections under the Made In France label, promoting French eyewear manufacture and meeting the needs of opticians, as well as developing its expertise at the factory in Morez.
In 2017, the Lamy Group acquires the Henry Jullien brand and found the Henry Jullien factory with the aim of developing a production center for exceptional materials and treatments. In 2018 Henry Jullien Manufacture receives the prestigious label "Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant". In the same year, the Lamy group intensifies its offer and creates four divisions, each of which addressed to a strong segment of the market:
- 0/15 years
- Access Price
- Atelier Couture
- Luxury and Innovation