Brands | October 21, 2018

From past to future

Born in the area of the Eifel, Hoffmann Natural Eyewear celebrates its fortieth anniversary by retracing the salient moments of its history through an exclusive collection which presents the original designs of the past decades with a fresh and modern look

words Elisa Zanetti

Imagine a luxuriant green area, where fields, woods and hills greet one’s gaze wherever it falls, where tranquillity reigns supreme and where the sounds of nature fill the air. This area takes the name of Eifel and is located in Western Germany. Of volcanic origin and positioned on a plateau which guarantees it a privileged position, the Eifel contains an impressive, four, nature reserves, Venn-Eifel, Rhineland, South Eifel and Vulcanic Eifel, lovely places to lose oneself on a walk or bike ride. Then, imagine a skilled craftsman, Josef Hoffmann, fascinated by the world of eyewear and eager to offer an exclusive product of the highest quality, convinced that each pair of glasses represents a unique and personal companion, an artisan who is able to work a precious material like horn – certain of its extraordinary potential. Forty years ago, these two elements joined together never to part, and thus, what in 1978 was called Hoffmann Natural Horn Frame, known today as Hoffmann Natural Eyewear, was created. A brand that has made quality and uniqueness its banner and which has chosen nature as its chief inspirational muse. Today, to celebrate this important milestone, the German brand presents the Anniversary collection, retracing past decades, once again offering great classics with a new and fresh look. It starts from the seventies, going on to cover the different trends which have led up to today. “If we think of the frames in the Anniversary collection, we could say that our style in the seventies was based on integrity. In the eighties, oversized glasses arrived, while the nineties were dominated by a strong geometric style. Nature returned to the eyewear world in 2000, although for us at Hoffmann it has always been a special point of reference. Then it was the time of big, surprising models, and finally, the cut-out effects of today which underline the uniqueness of each pair of glasses,” says Jutta Kahlbetzer, CEO of the company, recalling the salient stylistic characteristics of every decade. “The current dedicated model stands out instead for its bold form and the ultra-opaque horn finish. It stands in contrast to the aspect of lightness and seems to say to us: ‘Who wants a rimless frame, when you can have this kind of frame?’.”

In addition to the continuous improvement in know-how related to the use of horn – an extraordinary material which offers over 500 different colours and shades – the brand’s growth has also gone through important technological achievements with the application of the best innovations at the service of traditional craft skills. Among these, we cannot fail to mention the introduction of thinner and lighter horn frames onto the market, the application of a special hinge which made glazing much simpler, or the introduction of other innovative and natural materials, such as wood and slate which have joined the natural horn within the brand’s collections. Another important turning point in the history of Hoffman Natural Eyewear was definitely the year 2000, when Jutta Kahlbetzer and Wolfgang Thelen took charge of the company, enhancing its capabilities and expanding its sales activities. Also, thanks to their work, today, Hoffmann frames are available in over 50 countries and the company has around 90 employees. However, the growth of the brand has never led to the loss of its identity and so in an age marked by serial production, Hoffmann Natural Eyewear continues to proudly maintain its handicraft credo and takes full charge of the production process of its eyewear. From the sketches to the finished frame, each stage of the journey is performed inside the Hoffmann workshop, immersed in the lushness of nature, which with its shapes and colours, now as ever, is the first source of inspiration for the brand. Just like a tree, the roots of the brand are firm, but the branches reach out to the wind: for the years to come Hoffman Natural Eyewear imagines natural, sustainable glasses, but which are also increasingly united with high-tech materials. In 2019, ‘Back to the Earth’ will be presented, a collection whose details are still secret, but which will certainly place the emphasis on natural materials.