a young brand’s success story

Author: Clodagh Norton

Feature Story
March 28, 2018

Claudia Brotons, Creative Director of Kaleos Eyehunters

20/20 Europe first visited the KALEOS start-up in 2015 in their home city of Barcelona when they were a team of two.

Since they launched the collection in SILMO in 2014, the brand has established a presence in leading fashion and optical stores worldwide.

20/20 Europe interviewed Creative Director, Claudia Brotons.

Q: KALEOS is one of the fastest growing independent eyewear start-ups. Tell us about your journey so far?

A: I have a background in fashion and accessories. I have also been fascinated in eyewear, the construction and the architectural character in the creation of a pair of glasses. After a year of development, Juan Gassó and myself first launched KALEOS at Silmo in 2014. We were surprised to find that on the first day we were already receiving orders and we confirmed our first distribution agreement in Greece. As it was a project that we launched without being sure how it would turn out, we both decided to continue with our jobs outside the business initially. We were working on the Kaleos collection at odd hours, at night and at the weekend.

Gradually our orders were increased, and we needed to open an office and create a company and a small team. We work with a new theme every six months to develop our optical and sunglass collections. We design many different models to find what we really like.

Once we have confirmed the final shapes, we work on the technical details of each frame and the specifications required to make it exactly how we imagined it to be. We are very meticulous in this area because the small details make the frame stand out. Once we have the technical planning in place we send this to the factory to make the prototype. Once we receive the prototypes back we do detailed revisions and then, once all is carefully approved we are ready for production.

The process of the production of one pair of glasses or sunglasses lasts between 40 and 60 days. As well as attending the international eyewear fairs we rely on a commercial network which presents the collection to selected retailers. As a brand that is closely linked to fashion we have developed a presence in fashion retail stores such as Barneys and Matchesfashion.com who look for different up and coming labels.

Q: What do you think has helped the brand grow in the current market which is very competitive, particularly on price? Have you had success in markets that have been a surprise for you?

A: The design of our frames is different, particularly in the small details. We take care in finding new constructions, and offering a product that is on trend, with plenty of choice and colours that people love, without compromising on the comfort of the frames. Developing new shapes requires a lot of detailed technical work. When we start to design we are always thinking about the aesthetics but also the production, it has to be viable. We like to work with trends and offer new things all the time. The whole process of creating a frame is almost a year’s work. For this reason, if we want to design glasses that people love, we must be able to anticipate what they will be asking for many months in advance.

Q: What are you launching for 2018?

A: We are presenting Chromatics, a collection of 10 sun models and 5 opticals inspired by the summer sunsets. We have explored the colours of the sunset, and we have developed lenses which reflect the light and colours at these times of the day, combining them with tone on tone with the acetate frames. The lenses have an important role in this collection, whether it’s the form, the colour or the construction.

Q: Has your location in Barcelona impacted the growth of the brand? Where do you produce your frames and is this working out successfully for you? Italy, Japan, China or a combination of countries?

A: Barcelona is a wonderful, pluralistic and relaxed city and everyone falls in love with it. Barcelona is part of our DNA, along with a Mediterranean influence and European touches. But I think there are now lots of different influences on the growth of the brand. We believe in working with different countries for our production and have links with China and Korea. We work with the very best materials including Italian acetates and Italian lens companies. We are very demanding when it comes to the quality we require.

\\ Model Lund by Kaleos

Model Lund by Kaleos: a cat eye lens shape held in place by an acetate frame. The tones of the lenses match the tone of the acetate; the lens is graduated with the lighter part at the top.

\\ Model Radley by Kaleos

Model Radley by Kaleos: a flat floating lens is held in place with metal pieces that look like “staples”. The frame itself is made from acetate.

Q: What’s next and where are you setting your sights in 2018?

A: In 2018 we want to establish ourselves in the European markets and consolidate our international distribution.

Q: Are you planning other projects such as designer collaborations or special editions?

A: Our plan is to find the best partners to distribute the collection around the world. We have a lot of work to do to make this a success. As regards projects and collaborations, we can say that we are working on new ideas for presentation during 2018.

Q: What are your goals for 2018?

A: This year we are consolidating our progress with a new strategy team who will work to evolve and grow the brand, offering a new vision. For us, this is one of the most important points: to translate the quality that we have established in the product into more innovative, new, surprising concepts.


\\ Models Fairchild and Lord: unique angular shapes by Kaleos

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