Through the words of Anton Janssens, co-founder and CEO of the Belgian brand, we retrace the evolutionary path of this reality that has made avant-garde design its core business.
Could you please tell us the highlights of these 10 years?
There have been so many during these past ten years: finding our very first manufacturers, the opening of our flagship store in Antwerp, participating in MIDO to present our optical collection, the collaboration with the Royal Academy of Fine Arts …
How are you celebrating this anniversary?
To celebrate our 10 years, we want to honour our heritage while also keeping our eyes firmly on the future. We have created a capsule collection that harks back to the Print series. This was a collection of watches, launched in our early years, which really kickstarted our international expansion. It consisted of prints on textile straps, something that was quite new at that time. This time, we took it one step further and hired the renowned Munich-based design agency Bureau Mirko Borsche to re-imagine the print designs on sunglasses, too. An allusion to archetypal print designs such as tie dye, animal, flowers, camo and paisley, the capsule collection rethinks traditional design ideas and embraces the experimental.
Why did you choose to collaborate with artists, schools...?
All collaborations have come about in a natural way. It was mostly a case of meeting someone and having an immediate connection or shared belief system with them. I believe it is very important to engage in collaborations only when there is a sense of mutual respect and a natural affinity for the brand. We’re very much looking for partners who share our values and communicate in a similar fashion to us. In that sense, we have been quite lucky to attract such a talented pool of people – from the Belgian-Congolese artist Baloji to the students at the fashion Academy of Antwerp.
How is your company organized on the continent?
In most European countries, such as Belgium, The Netherlands, France and Germany, we work directly with opticians and have agents representing us. These are markets we know well and which we serve directly from our headquarters. This way we can maintain the highest standard of service and maintain our brand image across the line. In countries where this is more difficult, we work with selected partners in a distribution model. In Italy, we partnered up with Slam Jam as we felt they immediately understood our brand and had a very similar sales approach to ours.
What do you think as a MIDO exhibitor, and what are the distinguishing features of this event?
There is always great energy at MIDO. While there are many trade shows, MIDO stands apart for its focus on design and innovation. It is where people come to find inspiration and see the latest trends. Much more than just doing business, it is a place of discovery.