BLACKFIN – NATURE & TECHNOLOGY
4SEE FINE CRAFTSMANSHIP – BLACKFIN: Blackfin takes the standard of “Made in Italy” to a whole new level by combining local production with precision technologies, only the best materials, and minimal designs. From cutting the frames to distribution, everything takes place under one roof. Even more remarkable, the modern glasses are produced far from any bustling city in the small town of Agordo, northern Italy. Blackfin’s key to success lies in the authenticity, connection, and passion that the team around CEO Nicola Del Din ardently pursues everyday.
Photography BERT SPANGEMACHER
Text DAGMAR SCHRAMM
Gleaming rooftops during summer and sparkling snow in winter; Agordo is truly a paradise on earth. Here, between the peaks of the Dolomites, Blackfin has been located since 1971. This is no accident. Eyewear giant Luxottica established itself in Agordo in the 1960s, and many smaller businesses followed suit, quickly making Agordo the hub of Italian eyewear production. Maria Pramaor, the mother of the present-day head of Blackfin Nicola Del Din, was an employee at Luxottica right from the start. Soon she decided to open her own business called Pramaor and began producing frames for Luxottica and other big eyewear brands. But then pricing policies got worse — and Pramaor was in crisis.
Together with her son Nicola she managed to change the course of the company when they decided to start producing their own frames by creating a new label called Blackfin. Success has followed this decision: in 2015 they produced 90,000 glasses, for 2016 production is estimated to go up to 110,000 pairs. Blackfin recently renovated their building in the style of high-tech Silicon Valley startups and now it is an über-modern company in the middle of Italy’s idyllic countryside.
The label’s exciting and original spirit strongly shapes the pared back designs of their eyewear. Nicola created the term “NeoMadeinItaly” to sum up the brand’s philosophy. “We are a company with an extremely high technological standard. At the same time, we’re surrounded by inspiringly beautiful nature. This combination of global connections, captivating ideas, perfect organization and communication as well as a deep bond with our home is what defines Blackfin.” Nicola himself loves this region more than anybody: “If I had to live somewhere else, I’d rather die!”
Nicola’s 60 colleagues also live by the label’s philosophy. Most of them went abroad to gain experience that now benefits Blackfin. All steps of production take place under one roof, even the colors are developed and produced in-house. Outsourcing production to Asia is unimaginable for Nicola Del Din: “Of course it is much more expensive to produce in Italy. But because we produce everything ourselves and forgo any in-betweens, we can truly claim the label ‘Made in Italy.’ It is so much more authentic and emotional for a company to completely take control of production. And that is our strength.”
Pure titanium is shipped from Japan to provide a perfect base for Blackfin’s no-frills frames. The sheets are only half a millimeter thick, resulting in extremely light, durable, and comfortable glasses. At the moment Blackfin concentrates on optical frames, only 10 percent of this year’s production models were sunglasses. The biggest inspiration for the label’s designs comes from Scandinavian classics, and yet there is nothing classical about them — Blackfin prides itself on being highly modern.
New models and an expanded sunglasses collection are in the works. “We are ready for the next level,” Nicola says. “Our new space and our perfect manufacturing conditions provide a great platform for new ideas. We are going to present some fresh concepts before the end of the year.” Without a doubt, Blackfin is going to surprise and excite us with their precision technology and crystal clear design.
This article originally appeared in the POWER issue // published in September 2016.