KOMONO Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp 6th Edition

KOMONO x Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp - 6th edition eyewear

For the sixth year uninterrupted, the Antwerp-based fashion and optical brand KOMONO gives an opportunity to Masters graduates from the Fashion Department of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp to share their vision of innovative design. Selecting 3 promising talents for a collaboration, the process results in a limited edition run of extraordinary eyewear pieces. This year’s collection highlights the personal stories and unique journeys of these emerging designers, each bringing their distinct narrative to life through original sunglasses designs. It is a true testament to the power of authenticity and creativity in the fashion industry. The infusion of personal identity into design is crucial for innovative fashion and is the basis of the fashion education program at the renowned Antwerp Academy. Brandon Wen, the Head of the Fashion Department, continues to emphasize this philosophy by fostering greater individual expression among students and boundless conceptual creativity.

Gabrielle Szwarcenberg

KOMONO Gabrielle Szwarcenberg design eyewear

Being able to think and work experimentally is the most treasured part of fashion education. For her Master’s collection Gabrielle turns to her childhood – a time of unlimited imagination and inner freedom. Her ephemeral collection explores childhood pursuits as rites of passage, celebrating the imaginative ways we entertain ourselves with everyday iconography. Whether it’s turning a string into a cat’s cradle figure, building sandcastles from grains of sand, or folding a piece of paper into an airplane, each represents ingenuity born out of boredom. The sunglasses’ design draws inspiration from Beatnik artist Harry Smith’s String Figure archive, a universal game of loops and knots. This tactile hand dance, learning tool, and storytelling device all-in-one, connects people and passes the time. “Working within the limitations of a continuous piece of string and ten fingers, I was fascinated by the endless variations and patterns it offers” says Gabrielle. This experiment helped her to reach the goal of merging the features of the face with overlapping wires to create a unique combination of functional sunglasses and beautiful facial jewelry.

Uliana Dobrovskaya

KOMONO Uliana Dobrovskaya design eyewear

Uliana’s Master collection celebrates raw authenticity over perfection and tells a coming-of-age story; exploring themes of self-consciousness, expectations, dreams, and ambition. It is a juxtaposition of desires, aspirations, and insecurities, capturing the essence of youth and growth. Sunglasses play a key role in expressing this narrative. The design draws inspiration from the headband, a major symbol of femininity and effortless control. The concept was inspired by the character of Blair Waldorf from the iconic 2000’s series “Gossip Girl,” who famously refers to her headband as her crown — a representation of power and strength, marking her as the high school queen. On her quest to embody an ideal, she discovers realness, embraces her imperfections, and uncovers her true self. The sunglasses embody this philosophy; representing a living, touching, and slightly clumsy girl navigating her insecurities and ambitions. The idea of merging sunglasses with the headband materialized from her personal habit of wearing sunglasses as a headband. The combination of functionality and fashion is practical and adds a modern twist to a classic accessory.

Byeongho Lee

KOMONO Byeongho Lee design eyewear

Social environment plays a crucial role in shaping personal identity. Growing up in the heart of Seoul, Byeongho was surrounded by traditional palaces and cultural heritage, while also being immersed in the capital’s most complex area with its towering skyscrapers and bustling activity. Through his Master collection, Byeongho aims to highlight the strong contrast between the artificial cityscape and traditional elements by reinterpreting the visual similarities between the street market surroundings where his parents run a grocery store and the dystopian world of Blade Runner. The inspiration behind his sunglasses design refers to a particular street in his hometown known for its souvenir shops selling traditional decorative masks. He draws a parallel between the masks being used to express emotions at parties and modern sunglasses, both serving as a medium to cover the face and convey emotions. The leading approach was to merge traditional and contemporary elements, aiming to blend the old with the new in a harmonious way which resulted in a unique and stylish pair of sunglasses with a personal story behind it.

 

About KOMONO

KOMONO is a fashion and optical brand from Antwerp that pioneered accessible luxury and continuously keeps pushing boundaries by capturing the culture of today.

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