HAFFMANS & NEUMEISTER / STAINLESS STEEL AT ITS BEST
Ever since its brand debut, HAFFMANS & NEUMEISTER has been causing a stir in the eyewear universe. This is less because of the notoriety and reputation of the label’s founders but more due to the delicate approach to designing optical products. The brand is known for a high level of expertise in stainless steel frames – but make no mistake: HAFFMANS & NEUMEISTER can also innovate and pursue new directions! Just recently, the Berlin-based outfit has restructured its entire collection offering. SPECTR talks to Philipp, Daniel and Tjarko about the ins and outs.
Hello Philipp, Daniel and Tjarko. HAFFMANS & NEUMEISTER has managed to position itself as a premium brand within just a few years. Now you are redesigning your collections. Why?
Philipp: The goal was to streamline the collections. Working in a narrow, special interest field, for instance as designers, you become hyper-aware of subtleties. And as a result, you tend to classify everything within those detailed nuances and parameters. However, that can be very impractical. So we decided to restructure our collection offering. Taking a step back and from a user perspective – from the optician to the consumer.
Did you feel like there were too few distinguishing features between the individual collections?
Daniel: It wasn’t that they were too few but when it comes to eyewear, we work with fractions of millimeters and these fractions are often not visible to the naked eye. From an internal perspective it was, and remains, important to separate these products. But for the general consumer it was not relevant.
Are there any collections that you have discontinued?
Daniel: Yes, the restructuring eliminated two of our more recent collections, ULX and Italic.
What will happen to the styles from these two collections?
Daniel: Depending on the characteristics of each individual model, the styles from ULX and Italic have been shifted to one of the three remaining collections.
What collections are you starting into the new season with?
Tjarko: The line-up of collections will consist of Ultralight, Ultralight Plus, and Bold.
How does that break down?
Tjarko: The collections separate from one another by their mix of materials and each occupies its own price category: All bare metal frames belong to Ultralight. Our Ultralight Plus models are Ultralights with an acetate addition. The third line is the Bold collection, which is made up of stronger and bolder metal as well as acetate combination frames.
Which of your collections particularly represents the DNA of your brand?
Philipp: The Ultralight collection is the embodiment of all the design philosophies that make up our brand. The stainless-steel skeleton is almost crude, however through a lot of patience and attention to detail, it becomes a piece of jewelry.
And what design feature is typical for HNH?
Daniel:It’s also in the Ultralight range where we first introduced our rivet hinge, a simple and aesthetic modular solution that has become an additional “red thread” tying all of our collections together. Innovation is very important to us but it’s also important that technology remains easy to understand and work with. It’s with this collection that we found ourselves again; a new design language that felt at home and truly represented us in the present.
What else distinguishes the Ultralight collection?
Philipp: The Ultralight collection is comprised of any piece that is a pure-metal skeletal design – no extras. Pure and simple, focused on refined forms, reduced silhouettes, and minimal weight.
How does that differ from the Ultralight Plus collection?
Philipp: Ultralight Plus consists of any model that is adorned with acetate, whether temple tips or lens inserts, for instance the Windsor Ring style. The subtle acetate extras are the “Plus”.
Your Bold collection is new. What materials are you playing with here?
Philipp: Bold is predominantly an acetate collection. However, all our collections utilize the stainless-steel skeleton as a base. It’s a question of how much is added to that skeleton. It’s just how a cappuccino, cortado, flat white, and latte are all coffees with milk but it’s the ratio of coffee to milk that defines them. This is similar to how our collections are now decided: the ratio of stainless steel to acetate. Bold is more milk to espresso.
You’re also running a collaboration with the stylist and interior designer Marcus Paul. What is special about the collection?
Tjarko: Our collaboration with Marcus Paul is fashion-oriented and characterized by the juxtaposition of our stripped-down thin metal with an especially chunky acetate.
But then what is the difference to the models from the Bold collection?
Tjarko: While the Marcus Paul mounting system, known internally as “the pin stripe”, has now made its way into our revamped Bold collection, the Marcus Paul models are noticeably more exaggerated. Not only is there the dynamic contrast between the very bare metal with acetate, but the acetate shapes themselves are pronounced and heavy on volume.
Will your new collection policy also change anything in terms of branding or sales?
Philipp: On the surface, restructuring the collections has very little to do with our branding and is more about curation. That said, our collection structure and branding has evolved quite a bit since we first launched.
Daniel: When we returned to the industry there were a lot of carry-over concepts and aesthetics from our previous brands. After all, it is who we had been for a very long time. Over the course of the last three years we’ve evolved, the brand has evolved, and we’ve come to a place which is just as much about discovering who we are now as it is letting go of who we used to be.
Do you have plans, where this evolution will take you in the coming seasons?
Philipp: We will continue to focus on pushing our limits and the limits of the materials we work with.
Sounds exciting. Thanks.
Find out more about the brand here.
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