“For me high quality design equals good business”
– Han Kook Kim
Han Kook Kim, founder of the Seoul based brand Gentle Monster, took a break during a hectic day at the Silmo fair in Paris to chat with We Love Glasses.
Please tell us about the inspiration for the latest collection you are presenting?
Our philosophy and keyword is “experiment”, I established Gentle Monster in 2011 because I felt that the range available in the stores were boring and not very special. So I decided to start my own brand focusing on making frames more unique through experimenting.
The word “Monster” in our name stands for creating attitude and uniqueness, but we also need to be humble and make wearable designs so that is what the word “Gentle” stands for. My aim is to create a balance between these two words, however we also do very expressive eyewear for image that might not be for people to wear everyday.
The funny thing is that people actually like to buy the extreme models we have.
So your philosophy is to be experimental, how have you implemented this, in what way have you been playing with this theme?
The most important thing as a designer is to be able to see what is happening in the world. When I create a collection, I’m not only producing eyewear. People get together in places like Silmo to experience design and take part of the atmosphere.
When I think about form and experimentation I search for inspiration in places outside the world of frames.
I will show you an image from our lookbook, this is a photo of our office in Seoul. As you can see there is a boat placed in the boarder between outside and inside. Half of the boat is part of the interior, and half of it is outdoors. For me this is experimentation and an example of where I find inspiration.
Which Model is your favourite from this collection?
From this collection I will have to say a frame we did for women. I like it because it has an edge that leans downwards slightly and that makes a very cute impression. As a designer I care a lot about the small details, they make the difference between a satisfying design and not.
It is also important for me to find models that have the balance between image and sales, something that is different and pushes the boundaries but still is wearable.
My favourite models are usually the ones that are more towards image and attitude but still reasonably sellable.
So you create fashion? Is it correct to say that you create a haute couture collection and a ready to wear collection?
Yes, that correct! I’m not working in the eyewear business, I’m working in the fashion business.
The essential of fashion is change, so we change every season, always searching for something new.
This season we are presenting twenty-seven new models, that’s a lot, but we do it to keep up to date and give people the choice to find something new and unique.
Gentle Monster is still a quite young brand, what is your prospective for the future?
As I mentioned before, for me working as a designer the details are very important. We are still not very experienced in the business and we work very hard to constantly improve our products.
For the future I would like to continue working with quality of the details and be able to add more details without having to raise the price for the customer. For me high quality design equals good business.
More about Gentle Monster
Gentle Monster’s official website