January 23, 2019
Anton Janssens, Founder and Managing Director KOMONO
Pure aesthetics, minimalism, expressive colours, and distinctive styling vibrate throughout the KOMONO Collection.
The Belgian company celebrates its 10th anniversary with dashing new designs that are globally recognised.
Anton Janssens, Founder and Managing Director of KOMONO, discusses the creative vision that is the foundation of the brand and the international KOMONO community.
Q: What was the concept behind the creation of the KOMONO label, and the brand name that means “small things” in Japanese?
A: In 2009, this idea of accessible luxury was just introduced into the fashion industry, but only in terms of clothing.
There were no accessory brands doing it, you had the choice between either a really expensive watch, or a pair of glasses, or else a quite generic style with low quality. With KOMONO, we wanted to bring high-quality and innovative designs at an accessible price point.
Q: KOMONO targets customers primarily in the 18-45- age range. What is the corporate strategy for the focus on this market?
A: At KOMONO, we pride ourselves at being off the beaten track – doing things always a bit differently. As an independent player, it’s hugely important we can differentiate ourselves sufficiently from our competitors. This attitude is reflected within the whole company culture and strategy. This ranges from our designs to how we produce and market our products.
Q: The KOMONO label enjoys international respect and recognition. Does the customer profile differ in various countries?
A: What connects the KOMONO community is a shared passion for innovative design and a rebellious nature.
Our customers are fearless, unique personalities whose sense of style is defined by their identity, not a trend. In that sense, we’re trying to create designs that are equally unique and stand out on their own. We’re not trying to pigeonhole certain groups of people.
Q: From lace to leading fashion designers Diane von Furstenberg and Dries Van Noten, Antwerp and Belgium have a unique fashion environment. Is this history insightful for KOMONO's innovative vision?
A: Definitely, we’re very much influenced by the history of Antwerp and its place within fashion. The city is quite small, meaning it’s perfect to connect with people and exchange ideas. On the other hand, it’s also very international so you can easily get new impulses. There is a real sense of style and an extensive knowledge on fashion so this also pushes us to go above and beyond.
The collaboration we did with the Antwerp Academy this year very much proves how far you can go in design when you put creativity and innovation first.
\\ The Anton Goggle – launched as part of the anniversary celebration, and a hint towards Anton Janssen’s days as a professional snowboarder.
Q: Please tell us about your corporate collaboration with Tomorrowland.
A: There are quite a lot of similarities between KOMONO and Tomorrowland. We both come from Belgium but have a very international outlook and appeal. More importantly, our brand values match in the sense that we both stress inclusivity and appeal to a community of dreamers. This year marks the 4th consecutive time we partner with the creation of an eyewear and watches capsule collection.
Q: As KOMONO celebrates their 10th Anniversary, are there special designs, events or specific promotions planned?
A: For our 10th anniversary, we went looking into our past to create a capsule that is both celebratory in nature but also has a firm eye on the future. We’ve worked together with design agency Mirko Borsche and reinterpreted some of our archival print designs such as tie-dye, animals, flowers, camouflage and paisley. This time however, we very much embraced the experimental, and re-worked these into watches and eyewear to surprising effect. Also, as part of our ten-year celebration, Komono will introduce our first foray into winter sports. Using enhanced lenses and anti-slip rubber straps; the Anton is the first goggle to combine perfect fit and ample protection with a fierce attitude. Staying true to KOMONO’s roots of going off- piste, it adds superior design and a touch of playfulness to the skiwear category.
Q: Nowadays, with challenging market and political conditions around the world, how does KOMONO foresee development for the future growth of the company?
A: As we grow our company, it’s important we stay true to our roots and brand DNA. We very much believe now, more than ever, in the value of making luxury accessible.
Instead of exclusivity, we thrive on mutual inspiration. This is something we will continue to focus on during the next couple of years.