Tokyo: US vice-presidential hopeful Sarah Palin’s fashion sense is winning applause in an unexpected quarter—in Japan, where the maker of her rimless glasses is enjoying a sudden boost in business.
The Alaska governor’s designer specs have become a hot topic on the US campaign trail, with some speculating that the 44-year-old former beauty queen is trying to show her seriousness.
In fashion: US vice-presidential hopeful Sarah Palin. Daniel Acker/Bloomberg
But whatever her reason, Masunaga Optical Manufacturing Co. Ltd is pleased with the media interest. The company makes Palin’s MP-704 glasses, designed out of titanium by Kazuo Kawasaki.
“Few politicians, especially women, go out with glasses. We’re happy to see her wear the glasses,” a company spokeswoman said. “We have already seen a positive effect,” she added, saying orders and inquiries from retailers and customers were increasing.
Masunaga Optical sells 6,000 to 7,000 frames of the MP-704 model globally a year, she said, while declining to say how many orders it received since Palin was picked by Republican White House candidate John McCain. The frames, part of the Kazuo Kawasaki PhD line, sell for 33,600 yen ($310) in Japan. Lens prices vary greatly, depending on the user’s needs and preferences.
Masunaga Optical was established in 1905 in the central prefecture of Fukui, some 300km west of Tokyo. Palin’s glasses may fuel a rivalry in the US presidential race in Fukui, home to the city of Obama, where residents have started a campaign to support accidental namesake Barack Obama.
Masunaga Optical sells the frames in the US through Italee Optics Inc., a distributor based in Los Angeles.