Author: Clodagh Norton

Interview of the Month
September 18, 2018

Growth and ambition for the future

Anton Janssens, KOMONO founder and managing director

Founded in 2009, the award-winning eyewear and accessory brand KOMONO is described as “one of the fastest-growing businesses in Belgium”.

To ensure another decade of steady growth, the company recently introduced changes to its management team and updated its business models throughout Europe.

20/20 Europe found out more from founder and managing director, Anton Janssens.

Q: You have recently made changes within your management team. Explain the new appointment/s.

A: To expand KOMONO’s strong framework into the future, we have appointed Charlotte Arts as creative director and Michael Arts as commercial specialist.
Charlotte Arts is a former student of the Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts with a background in high-fashion retail buying. She joins the team from Raf Simons where she was commercial director and from Willy Vanderperre where she functioned as studio manager. In her new role, Charlotte will oversee all creative output for the brand across both design and image.
Michael Arts has substantial experience in the fashion industry – co-founder at Bellerose, sales manager Europe at Polo Ralph Lauren and executive vice president at Tommy Hilfiger. More recently, he served as executive vice president at PVH Corporation, which holds brands such as Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and Van Heusen. In his new role, Michael Arts will focus on all commercial matters.

Q: Renewal of the partnership with Sample&Supply in France has been announced this month. Explain your focus in the French market and how this partnership will move forward.

A: Since 2013, KOMONO and Sample & Supply have been in close collaboration towards the development of the French market with great success. This partnership will now be deepened with Sample&Supply changing from a distributor to an agent model. Heightened investment from KOMONO in the French market in terms of marketing and merchandising will accelerate the speedy growth the brand is currently occurring.

Q: For the German and Italian markets, you are also making changes. Please explain how you will operate in these two key markets.

A: Present in the country since 2011, KOMONO is proud to announce an exciting new chapter for its business in Germany. Following a recent change of management, KOMONO found a renewed confidence and decided to take all of its business activities in-house. This across both eyewear and watches. All sales will from now on be handled by a new agent team, led by Max Morgenstern. Max previously worked as a sales representative for the company and has now been promoted to lead a team of dedicated sales agents for the German market.
In Italy, KOMONO teams up with lifestyle imprint Slam Jam for the distribution of its watches and eyewear range. Both at the forefront of contemporary fashion, KOMONO and Slam Jam found common ground in its shared interest for contemporary design and urban subcultures. Slam Jam will take over all business activities for the brand within the country.

Q: Comment on other strong markets and any developments or new regions you are working on.

A: We are in the process of creating a hub in Hong Kong. We have been servicing the Asian market from Belgium, but we will be able to better track the region shortly. Another focus is the expansion of retail. We opened our first store in Antwerp two years ago and are currently investing heavily in expanding our network (Brussels, Amsterdam, Tokyo and Barcelona, among others, following Antwerp).  This autumn will also see the re-launch of our website.

Q: The season for new launches is underway. What can you pinpoint by KOMONO that will distinguish your offer in 2019 – both for optical and for sunwear?

A: For Spring/Summer 2019, KOMONO explores the art of care-free living through its time and vision pieces. Inspired by the balmy heat of summer and the captivating landscapes of the Balearics, KOMONO introduces fresh new shapes and effortless updates of its contemporary styles. New colourways, such as pacific, nude and rum are introduced, reminiscent of tranquil beaches and hideaways found around the world.
A combination of rhythm and modern design, the striking Pulse collection finds inspiration in the geometric landscape of sound waves. Spring/Summer 2019 also sees the return of KOMONO's signature lightweight frames, the Elementary Collection. Updated accessible shapes come in vibrant new colours. Inspired by the sun’s impact on tidal wave, the Wave Collection’s colourways mimic dawn, noon and dusk. The Solid Collection puts a fresh spin on rectangular and cat-eye frames. Featuring all-new temple designs and colorways with beachy vibes, the season-stealing Solid Collection is KOMONO’s cure for the summertime blues.

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