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Upcoming Austrian label NEUBAU EYEWEAR has been launched in summer 2016, less than one year ago. With this in mind, the size of the collection, quality of brand building and extend of their distribution network are downright impressive. Especially since the core team at NEUBAU EYEWEAR’s headquarter in the town of Linz only consists of five people, plus key support on production and technology by parent company Silhouette International. We spoke to Global Brand Director Daniel Liktor about how NEUBAU EYEWEAR got to this point, as well as the label’s “See & Do Good” campaign.
Hello Daniel, since when have you been married to NEUBAU EYEWEAR?
Since May 2015, but I would say that NEUBAU EYEWEAR is more like my baby – or the entire team’s – than a spouse. We really had our hands on every step from the concept stages to the launch. So it makes us all really proud to see our baby grow up into an increasingly strong brand.
What exactly does your job entail?
I’m in charge of the entire brand aspect. It’s super exciting, since I cover everything and work very closely with my team on design, technical product aspects, as well as brand building and distribution.
How would you describe the brand?
Inspired by Vienna’s creative neighborhood, known as the Neubau, we at NEUBAU EYEWEAR blend young, fashionable design with the extensive know-how of our parent company Silhouette International. Urbanity and sustainability blended with authenticity and humor – that’s how we like to describe NEUBAU EYEWEAR.
How does the fashion aspect fit into the picture?
We constantly work with fashion designers, among other things. These cooperation projects offer exciting opportunities to flex our design chops and position our frames in a thrilling, creative environment.
What are some recent examples?
Last year we presented at New York Men’s Fashion Week together with upcoming men’s fashion brand Rocheambeau, followed by collabs with Gringko for Milan Fashion Week as well as Berlin-based designer Hien Le.
Aside from fashion-driven attitude, what’s the common denominator between your products?
Our glasses embody contemporary design, extravagant colorways, as well as perfect fits and premium quality. We offer glasses crafted from stainless steel as well as polymer as well as mixed materials – meaning a combination of both materials in one frame.
Does your collection favor sunglasses or prescription models?
Prescription models constitute the majority of our collection, while sunglasses still play a major role.
What kind of wearers do you have in mind for your glasses?
We create glasses for all people who view eyewear as a lifestyle accessory. The typical NEUBAU customer is looking to express his personality through his stylistic choices and sees glasses as part of his outfit. At the same time, customers place major emphasis on product quality and contoured fit for all-day comfort. Sustainability is another aspect that’s dear to our target group.
On that note, let’s talk about the inspiration behind your motto “See & Do Good”.
“See & Do Good” represents our commitment to integrating environmental stewardship into everything we do. We are dealing with sustainability while acting with our living space in mind.
Is this concept tied to the current collection or more of a long-term brand philosophy?
For us, “See & Do Good” is not a short-lived campaign theme, but part of the fundamental NEUBAU EYEWEAR philosophy. Urbanity and sustainability are our two core brand values – and that’s not going to change.
How does this reflect in the manufacturing of your glasses?
It means that all of our plastic glasses are crafted from a highly advanced and environmentally sound polymer. The name for this novel material, sourced from renewable resources is naturalPX.
What makes naturalPX better than conventional acetate?
More than two-thirds of naturalPX are based on renewable resources, the oil of the castor-oil plant, to be specific. Simply put, we rely on plants instead of crude oil for our polymer frames. But at the same time, for us it is equally important to maintain a high quality standard in this process. As an advantage, the resulting frames from this new material are much lighter and more flexible than acetate frames. And from a production standpoint, naturalPX is also much less resource-intensive than acetate.
Mainly because manufacturing with an injection molding method hardly creates waste. Much unlike acetate, which is milled from a polymer plate while 80% of the material ends up being discarded.
How large is the share of naturalPX frames in the overall collection?
Since April 2017, our entire line of polymer glasses has been crafted from naturalPX. For our metal frames, we continue to rely on stainless steel. The overall split between polymer and stainless steel is about 50/50.
In what other areas do you implement sustainable methods?
In terms of product presentation and POS materials. We want our glasses to not only feel nice on the nose and ears, but also rest easy on the conscience.
Could you please be a bit more specific?
Our new cases are based on cellulose and assembled entirely without the use of glue, which makes it ideal for recycling. Our cleaning cloth consists of recycled PET-bottles, while our entire packaging is free of plastic.
And what about the POS materials?
We no longer use PVC banners and have transitioned to recyclable paper. Our displays are crafted from wood and are intended for long-term usage. We implement new campaign themes via exchangeable chipboard plates.
Aside from your own products, do you also support projects to protect the environment?
That’s correct, there so many exciting projects that provide opportunities to drive sustainability, which we want to support as a brand.
What are some specific projects you have worked on?
There are several, both large and small. Since the beginning of this year, NEUBAU EYEWEAR has been supporting the Honey Bee Conservancy, a US-based organization dedicated to protecting the honey bee. In New York City, two NEUBAU bee hives have already been installed. Research has proven that green spaces frequented by bees make a stronger contribution to the city climate. We see it as our own small share of making sure that the trees in Central Park continue to blossom.
Sounds like a great initiative. And where is the road headed for your eyewear journey?
Well, I’m already really proud of what we have achieved within one year. We already convinced around 2000 opticians in 20 countries with our brand, and our collection is growing continuously. Of course we are always striving for more and are focused on growing the collection, especially in the high-end segment. We will have some news in that aspect in Spring 2018, I promise!
We will take you up on it!
More info: www.neubau-eyewear.com/