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Interviews | October 12, 2016

A chat with… Anton Janssens

Komono is not just an eyewear brand. It is the story of two friends, Raf Maes and Anton Janssens, who share the same passion. We talked with Anton to learn something more about the young and enterprising brand based in Belgium

words Antonella Reina

Before being Komono co-founders, you are old friends. Let’s talk about this friendship.

I met Raf while I was snowboarding. We were both chasing the dream of being professional snowboarders. After our snowboarding careers, we began distributing fashion and streetwear brands in the Benelux. We both share a kind of rebellious youth doing what we love.

When and why did you decide to start with Komono?

Because we both have a real passion for entrepreneurship and esthetics, we decided to do things differently. We felt like we were ready to start our own brand, after years of working in the fashion distribution. Our creativity and ambition made us start Komono together in 2009.

How do your personal passions and backgrounds merge in your brand signature?

Firstly, I have a passion for progression and innovation in life. My curiosity makes me question the status quo all the time, which often results in a more in-depth understanding of situations. Secondly, both Raf and I have a passion for esthetics and travel. I interpret the esthetics we encounter into Komono’s product design; whereas Raf will focus more on the visual identity of Komono via his photography. His pictures are still being used until today.

Your philosophy is “The perfect blend of Vision + Timing”. Can you explain it?

In a literal way, that is what we do and that’s what we are. We make glasses and watches. We have an advanced and clear vision for our watches, sunglasses and general branding. They need to be contemporary, inspiring and dedicated to craftsmanship. But it’s also important to keep our products affordable so nobody is being held back from looking great. Cause let’s be honest, accessories are essential for making your wardrobe complete.

How would you describe Komono’s style?

Everything we create is with an eye on contemporary design. We take inspiration from the past, but translate this into the future, because we want to create future classics.

You’re based in Belgium. How does this country inspire you?

Belgium straddles a crossroads of cultural influences. You’ve got the German dedication to quality and precision. On the other hand you have the French passion for style. Furthermore there’s the uniquely Belgian ethos of enjoying life while making it looking effortless. That’s also how Belgium got globally well-known for its fashion design.

You love to collaborate with artists and other brands, why?

For Komono, it’s an excellent opportunity to meet and work with innovative, creative minds. We feel very privileged to be able to work with people that inspire us.

How do you choose artists and brands to collaborate with?

Komono likes working with artists who give their work a powerful meaning but also keep it playful. We love an artist who’s blurring traditional boundaries between high art, fashion and design.

Is there any big news about Komono, you would love to share with us?

This year, Komono is going to present a lot of new and exciting products. We look forward to launch our optical eyewear. It will be exclusively available at selected opticians worldwide. It was very exciting to translate our 7 year of experience in product design and craftmanship into the new Opticals collection. The collection will contain 60 specifically developed products spread over 13 new styles. All are made of premium Italian acetate, stainless steel or mixed styles. The line will be available in October 2016.

3 words to define your brandnew Komono Opticals collection?

Gamechanger, exclusive and contemporary.

Any future ambition?

We still have a lot of new products to introduce. It’s our ambition to continually make people happy with our products. With our brand we want to satisfy the hunger for design and culture of our audience. That’s an everyday challenge. Being contemporary will mean something else tomorrow than today, so we need to innovate constantly. The challenge in getting better every day in what we do.