Rocket Science In The Eyewear Ecosystem
German carbon eyewear specialists KERL EYEWEAR achieved numerous evolutionary breakthroughs over the last year. Aside from a new, expressive collection of eyewear, the brand launched innovative technical features. Plus, a new state-of-the-art online configuration tool for opticians and end consumers. SPECTR got the lowdown from KERL co-founder Dr. Jaro Ufer.
Hello Jaro. You guys launched KERL EYEWEAR five years ago. What has been your core mission since then?
We’re bringing rocket science into the eyewear ecosystem and creating the world’s lightest eyewear frames.
That’s summarized in your claim ‘Eyewear Driven by Technology.’ In how far does this maxim guide your actions as a brand?
We’re fully living this claim. As total tech fans, we just love new technologies and being able to transform them into new functionality.
What role do your personal professional backgrounds play in the mix?
Without our personal background in the high-tech industry, we would have had neither the development methods nor the tools to create our own technologies. And we’d probably have a different thought process.
Made in Germany is an integral part of KERL EYEWEAR. Does that still count as a seal of quality?
Not necessarily. There are also extremely good products from Asia and other countries. When it comes to our eyewear, I’m still convinced that we can only achieve the current level of quality, exclusivity, and the pace of our advancements by continuing to produce in Germany.
Many manufacturers focus on advertising their lightweight frames. What’s different about the lightness of KERL?
You don’t see the lightness in the designs of our frames. They have really fat, expressive contours and still play in the same weight class as rimless eyeglasses. No other manufacturer in the world can reach this kind of proportion between visible thickness of the rims and the low weight on the wearer’s nose.
As a carbon specialist, you’re incredibly proud of your proprietary Flexarbon® material. Please tell us the details.
That’s our specialized carbon for the eyewear industry. You need to be aware that there are billions of different types of carbon. But you can only reach the perfect characteristics for a certain application if you go and match the types of fibers and structures to that specialized application.
What are the advantages compared to conventional carbon?
It is far more flexible and stable than conventional carbon. That’s why we can implement it into thinner frames, which also brings down the weight factor.
You’ve already called it “the best eyewear material in the world”. Is that wishful thinking?
Perhaps we’re not entirely neutral observers, but here’s a quick comparison: Titanium tends to be hyped as the absolute high-end material for eyewear. But Flexarbon® only weighs a third of titanium while offering a specific – meaning compared to its weight – solidity that is more than ten times greater.
What other technical features make your offering unique?
For a comprehensive range of adjustability to the customers’ head shape, we have developed a building block system for temples that can be exchanged super easily. The foundation is a patented hinge that can be assembled without tools or screws.
Another innovation is your eyewear configurator that provides customers with a state-of-the-art tool for customizing their own eyeglasses. Where did that idea originate?
During the coronavirus pandemic, we were forced to change our way of thinking. We wanted to offer our opticians a high variety of products even with a rather small stock of eyewear.
What makes the configurator excel above the rest?
Among other features, we achieved a photo-realistic 3D-display of our eyewear models including the complex carbon surfaces as well as the deep, three-dimensional polished finish. This allows customers to personalize their own KERL eyeglasses in a highly realistic interface.
In how far do you integrate opticians into the process?
The optician is at the center: With its own log in, the configurator is displayed with optician’s logo. When the customer at the store shows an interest in KERL eyewear, but is not able to find the perfect shape, color or size right away, they can sit down with the optician and configure the perfect style and fit of a frame on the iPad or laptop.
The configurator also allows for customizing models from the new HEAVY-light collection. What makes these new styles stand out?
This new collection strategically leverages the advantages of Flexarbon®. We are offering a series of extremely expressive frames that offer an incomparable comfort of wear. Back in the day looking great often required some sort of compromise on comfort, but that’s no longer the case.
Are you introducing new technical features in the line?
We’re constantly advancing our eyeglasses. The latest detail is a hinge axis crafted from a rather robust and low-friction polymer that makes our hinges even more precise and durable.
Jaro, thanks so much for the update.