The top ten best selling eyewear brands

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Sunglasses have become big business, and just a few big brands dominate the designer eyewear market.

Even those brand names are not all they seem. Top-selling models from the luxury fashion houses are owned by just a handful of conglomerates.

The Italian-based Luxottica Group is the giant of them all with revenues of €7.3 billion last year and 77 million pairs sold.

As well as owning high flier brands like Oakley and Ray-Ban outright, they also licence eyewear from Chanel, Prada, Tiffany, Versace and Burberry to name but a few.

Fashion houses come up with the designs, but Luxottica manufactures and sells them in deals than can last up to 10 years.

Nine of the brands in our top ten come from the Luxottica stable. Here is the list that's taken from worldwide sales so far.

1: Oakley wins with high performance

US-based Oakley specialises in sports eyewear with a side-line in lifestyle sunglasses. The company relies heavily on research labs to develop innovative materials and precision optical lenses. The combination of performance eyewear and relaxed street style has made Oakley the biggest selling brand in the sunglasses market.

2: Ray-Ban keeps going and going

When Luxottica took over Ray-Ban from US company Bausch & Lomb it gave the brand a massive overhaul, upgraded the product and launched a series of major marketing initiatives. Now Ray-Ban is one of the most popular and longest lasting eyewear brands in the world and best known for its iconic Wayfarer and Aviator styles.

3: Maui Jim shore up success

Another US-based sunglasses manufacturer makes it into the top three. Maui Jim eyewear, inspired by Hawaiian culture, is aimed squarely at the holiday beachwear market. High quality, durable materials and a wide range of models offering different looks, frame colours and lens options have helped put this brand at the forefront of the beachwear market.

4: Fendi for flirtatious appeal

Luxury lifestyle and sophistication are the hallmarks of this Italian brand which produces sunglasses of choice for many of the world's top celebrities. Fendi is a long-standing fashion house headed by designer Karl Lagerfeld. Its eyewear collections are aimed at women and come with a flirtatious fun appeal that's also luxurious and sophisticated. Fendi glasses have an undisputed elegance yet colourful and slightly daring.

5: Gucci goes for Italian grace

French-owned owned but based in Italy; Gucci is known for creative, fun sunglasses, injecting exceptional Italian quality and craftsmanship with a modern vitality. Gucci eyewear is just one of a range of luxury accessories produced by the fashion house. The sunglasses designs take their inspiration from Gucci's clothing with a reputation for classic frames adorned with the house brand icons and decorated in luxurious detail.

6: Armani makes a bold choice

Another Italian fashion house, Armani has long been one of the most popular eyewear brands. Armani sunglasses are renowned for bold designs that are never too complicated, managing to combine a look that marries radical chic with unassuming simplicity. Never vulgar or garish, Armani eyewear has that smart, sleek, sexy appeal that appeals to all ages. The Emporio Armani has dominated the trend for retro eyewear by giving a classic style a contemporary twist.

7: Prada stalks the catwalk

Italian luxury fashion houses help to fill out the middle order in the top selling list with Milan-based Prada, founded in 1913 and one of the leading-edge luxury fashion houses. Prada sunglasses take their cue from the catwalk with cult accessories to match each season's theme. With standout designs that ooze elegance, Prada sunglasses set trends rather than follow them, often pushing the boundaries with alluring designs that delight in challenging taste and captivating new audiences.

8: Versace stands above the crowd

Versace is yet another Italian brand, this one targeting the market for luxurious opulence. Versace is a fashion and lifestyle brand that looks to stay at the leading edge with a unique style that stands apart from other brands. It's a thin line between lavish and vulgar but somehow Versace always pulls it off and its luxury eyewear is always a fashion statement to set the wearer separate from the crowd and this makes the brand one of the most glamourous to be found.

9: Dolce & Gabbana in lap of luxury

This Italian fashion house is one of most famous of brands with sunglasses that fuse traditional with unconventional. Patterned frames predominate as does extravagant luxury in designs inspired by its fashion house winners. Always on the lookout for new ideas, D&G sunglasses are a near perfect blend of designs and functionality with a luxury ambience supported by materials and manufacturing standards of the very highest quality.

10: Burberry for best of British

It's good to see a British brand featuring in the top 10 for sunglasses sales. This quintessentially British luxury fashion house homes in on accessories, fragrances, cosmetics and, of course, eyewear. Sophisticated sunglasses designs evoke quality, elegance and craftsmanship, while it's emphasis on 'couples' collections have grabbed a worldwide audience. Known for the use of innovative fabrics and historic styling Burberry has a knack of making the traditional look sharp edge contemporary.