AM Eyewear – Glasses from Down Under
Many start-up companies owe their initial spark to a common scenario: The founders are unable to find their objects of desire anywhere on the market – and decide to take things into their own hands. This is exactly what happened to Andhra-Kumar, aka Simon Ponnusamy. About 13 years ago, Simon was searching high and low in his native Australia for old school-style eyewear frames – but to no avail. This state of affairs ultimately led to the launch of AM EYEWEAR, Simon’s upcoming glasses company from “Down Under.” When we first met the creative designer at the Paris tradeshow in 2013, we instantly fell in love with his signature design style. Two years later, the stylistic evolution continues as AM EYEWEAR is available to an increasingly international retailer base. Here’s the lowdown on AM EYEWEAR.
came up with the concept after not being able to find frames I liked in the industry.
Launch first collection in Australia (sold-out in a matter of months). Stayed a domestic and New Zealand brand until 2008.
the iconic “Samantha” frame is purchased by Beyonce, Rihanna and Lady Gaga and request start coming from International fashion stores.
enter Korean, our first International market.
enter Hong Kong , China and South East Asian market.
entered the UK market
entered the French, Spanish, Dutch market
entered the German market
SIMON’S PERSONAL BACKGROUND
Any attempt at understanding AM EYEWEAR needs to start with the founder and designer behind the brand: Andhra-Kumar, which is his Hindu name, grew up as the son of an Indian father and a German-Italian Christian mother with Jewish roots in Australia. His mother’s Christian influence is reflected in his alternate first name: Simon. But Andhra-Kumar – or Simon – likes to leave it for people to choose how to address him. We’ll follow his dad’s example in this story and call him Kumar. Simple. The rest is a bit more complex. At 38 years of age, Kumar’s poly-religious approach blends a mix of philosophies and beliefs that might just have the potential to make the world a better place, should everyone adhere to them. Did we mention that his parents were hippies? Maybe that also explains the brand slogan “Be Kind To Others.”
BRAND HISTORY, MANUFACTURING, SHAPES, AND MATERIALS
From a European perspective, the rise of AM EYEWEAR comes a tad bit out of left field. While the label rose to fame rather quickly across Australia and New Zealand, the brand remained an underdog in Europe for quite some time. Instead, development focused on gradually opening doors across Asian markets, before approaching Europe in 2012. But once leading style ladies such as Beyoncé, Rihanna, and Lady Gaga began buying the glasses directly from Down Under, the floodgates opened and AM EYEWEAR’s rise to international fame began.
The brand philosophy behind AM EYEWEAR is rather straightforward: The Australian label is out to create eyewear that is not only beautiful, but exceptional and unique. Eyewear that stands out from the rest of the pack. True to the high quality standards pursued by Kumar and his team, all frames are manufactured by hand – all the way from the hand-drawn design sketches to the final polishing of the frames by seasoned craftsmen.
On the manufacturing side, AM EYEWEAR relies on close relationships to proven raw material suppliers and workshops. Their acetate is sourced from the renowned Mazzucchelli workshops in Italy, while the titanium glasses are made in Japan. In some models, raw materials are sourced from as many as five different countries. And in order to prevent manufacturing blemishes from finding their way into retail, the quality control process relies on a three-tier inspection routine. Also reflecting the close attention to quality, AM EYEWEAR is among the few international labels that offer official co-branding with renowned German lens crafters Carl Zeiss.
Throughout its 13-year history, AM EYEWEAR has not only become a staple at fashion runway shows across the planet, but also played its hand in numerous charitable initiatives. In 2014, the Australian label cooperated with fashion photographer Pierre Toussaint on a capsule collection under the moniker Saint: True to the name, 10% of proceeds are donated to the charitable initiative Optometry Giving Sight.
SALT ON SKIN
AM EYEWEAR’s current Salt on Skin collection pays homage to the natural elements and their unique effects during the summer months, when we emerge from the ocean freshly bathed and the sunlight leaves a slight trace of salt on our skin. Befitting the warm summer vibes, the glasses are convenient and lightweight, featuring cat-eye and club shapes in an array of colors such as gold, milk white, and navy blue. The contemporary, cosmopolitan look is supplemented by a range of exotic materials including leather, Japanese titanium, and a special blend of acetate. In Kumar Ponnusamy’s mind, all glasses are a direct reflection of the love and dedication invested by everyone involved in the manufacturing process. And each pair of glasses fulfills its ultimate destiny in the moment when a new wearer takes it out of the box and slips it on his face. Meanwhile, actually having ocean water leaving salt on your skin is not a prerequisite. It’s the thought that counts, and keeping your mind on the sunny side of life goes right along with the vibe of AM EYEWEAR, the latest rising star from the land Down Under.
And always remember: Be Kind To Others.