KOMONO // INTERVIEW THE ART OF TRANSFORMATION
KOMONO LAUNCHES SS21 COLLECTION
KOMONO counts among a new wave of really new brands that set out a few years ago to shake up the eyewear business with fresh ideas. The label based in Antwerp, Belgium, is committed to offering opticians a product portfolio in a highly attractive price segment, replete with a clear direction in terms of design and customer messaging. Judging by the products and marketing communications, the Belgian lifestyle has already found its recognizable brand DNA. In the latest collection, also on display at KOMONO’s own flagship stores, the main theme is metamorphosis. According to founder Anton Janssens, it’s all about moving things forward.
Hi Anton, it’s already been three years since we visited you at your Antwerp headquarters. What has changed since then?
Well, we all got a little older (laughs), but the spirit is still here and we’re all looking forward to the new season.
Last time we met, KOMONO was still a rather young brand with revolutionary aspirations. And now?
We still are! I would say that we grew up over the past few years, but we still have that same mindset and aspirations. Nothing’s changed at the bottom line: making luxury products accessible and contemporary in terms of design with a kind of rebellious youth at heart. What has evolved is the quality in our manufacturing and materials.
Like several other labels also offer watches in your portfolio aside from glasses. Why are these products so often offered under one brand?
For us it works. We’re an accessories brand and from the beginning our DNA contained vision and timepieces. We were one of the leaders in our market and have had great success, so of course others will follow.
How important is eyewear in your overall portfolio?
Extremely important! Sunglasses are currently our biggest market and the interest in our optical collections is growing rapidly. We’re adapting to this growth by investing and experimenting in design and materials.
While covering several product categories, has your general brand philosophy survived over the last years?
It certainly has, like I mentioned before, things did not change at the bottom line. More than ever we are focusing on what makes us unique: being innovative and offering design, experience and the highest quality at a great price.
Do you still see yourself as a label for a rather young target group?
KOMONO is timeless. Our campaigns may focus on a younger and more design-oriented target group, but we make eyewear for everyone who shares our philosophy and values. Our collections contain outgoing and on-trend styles, but also a lot of strong contemporary classics. I’m convinced to say that we have the perfect style for everyone.
Speaking of trendy styles, your roots are in the fashion and lifestyle segment, but a few years ago you decided to work closely with opticians. How satisfied are you with this cooperation?
We are very satisfied! It has been a huge success so far and we really appreciate all the feedback we receive from our opticians. Since we have a team of sales representatives who are always on the go, we enjoy great personal contact with each optician.
But opticians tend to rely on tried-and-tested products. How could you convince them to try KOMONO?
What makes KOMONO unique in the optical world is that we offer amazing design and a real design language at a competitive price point. Aside from products, we value storytelling, we work with renowned photographers and collaborate with like-minded brands. We try to listen to the market and the needs of the optical stores, bringing a young, fresh and fashionable spirit into our collections.
Aside from optical stores, you also sell glasses online yourself. How does that fit together?
We strongly believe in selling the KOMONO Opticals collection only at opticians, because we take our customers’ eyes seriously. We do not work with big chains or big online players in our key markets. Nor do we sell our optical glasses online. We only showcase the collection on our website so our audience can see which styles they can find at their local optician.
You also sell at your own flagship stores. What makes them important to you?
We have multiple KOMONO stores around the world, and recently opened a new flagship store in our hometown, Antwerp. These stores are extremely important for us to tell a bigger story, and to show the brand in all its facets to the general public. We want to offer the full KOMONO experience.
On that note, you remain based in Belgium, but you consider yourself as an international brand. Where does KOMONO work best?
KOMONO is a worldwide brand, and that’s also what we pursue. We aim to conquer all markets and our concept works all over the world, with great success in Europe, Asia and Latin America. But we will always be a Belgian brand, with a Belgian train of thought and a Belgian aesthetic. It’s in our DNA, we are perfectionists, and this is deeply rooted within us and in Belgian design in general.
Let’s get to the products… What is the signature trait of all your glasses?
We always experiment with new shapes and materials. That makes us unique and innovative in the eyewear world. At KOMONO we believe in inclusivity and our design approach describes that: there is no gender or category, only shapes that feel cool once they are worn.
Which materials do you prefer to use?
We prefer to work with refined acetate and stainless steel, depending on the design. This season we’re also introducing eco-acetate, a completely recyclable and biodegradable natural material. We are strongly committed to using eco-friendly materials and packaging in our upcoming collections.
You are now launching the Spring-Summer 2021 collection. What inspired you to create this line?
The vision for the Spring-Summer 2021 collection is metamorphosis, or the art of transformation. Befitting these turbulent times, we believe change represents progress and development. It causes us to improve and helps us to transform our current environment.
Is there a specific design language? And what is new compared to older collections?
This season we renew our creative vision and explore radical new design propositions. We are leaving behind common notions of identity and are reimagining our future. Shapes are distorted and deformed, materials manipulated, and colors reconstructed. An air of illusion is created with opaque and translucent substances while reflector finishes create a sense of distortion. A second reading is often required with subtle detailing blurring the boundaries between the real and the imaginary.
That sounds artful. Thanks for the interview.
Check out the Brand’s website here: www.komono.com/en_BE/