Designer Life

Feature Story
March 04, 2017

A young entrepreneurial team of four friends, with a passion for eyewear and artisan design, GABE Eyewear entered the eyewear market in 2016.

Its focus?
Frames in natural materials with everyday functionality and a creative design orientation.

The Gabe Eyewear team - Mike Milkowski, Gabriel Kirschner, Ralf Kropf and Simon Klein – launched at Mido in 2016.

“People were very excited about our unique designs and our signature innovation, the “Snap-Joint” horn hinge that features the use of adaptable horn temples,” says Mike Milkowski, Chief Creative Officer.
“Our idea to make wood frames dates back to 2012. It was quite clear to us that we wanted to focus on natural materials – while not letting those be a burden for customers and opticians. Today we are using wood and buffalo horn, handcrafted in designs that offer unconventional styling and a touch of nostalgia.”

 “Recently we have been trying to go out for a beer in our favourite bar in Linz, Exxtrablatt, at least once a week after work. It is like a jour-fixe, to make sure that we leave the office from time to time to relax. We cherish our relationship and are very eager not to let anything come between us – so it is essential to us that our communication is honest and relaxed and as positive as possible.”

“As well as the four of us, we have two
more people working in the workshop.
We work out of a former factory, close to the city centre. Our work environment is very sociable, fun but also demanding.
We are all dedicated to making the
product perfect, striving for constant improvements.
We all know each other very well, and we are good at working as a unit. I think we have a clear understanding of everyone’s individual abilities and responsibilities.”

Model Mers from the STROM Collection,
a homage to the label’s hometown. The collection includes 16 signature pieces inspired by nature.
The styling underlines the wearer’s personality. Wood types include walnut, ash and olive.

“GABE Eyewear is a great adventure. Every day there’s a new challenge and
new things to talk about”

“We like being with our friends, listening to good music and it’s always nice to have a chance to be spontaneous. The other day after work we grabbed our skis and snowboards and went to a park on a hill in the city of Linz. An unusual, fun evening's entertainment! We loved it.”

GABE Eyewear has produced Behind The Scenes video content in collaboration with 2020EUROPE, available online at

Other articles

Browse by tags