Last January I had a visit at the Mykita headquarters to have a close up on one of the most promising eyewear brands today. I had the opportunity to see how the glasses are produced (they are all hand made) and have a lively conversation with Philipp Haffmans one of the four founders, who gave me a nice tour filled with humor and insight on the history of the brand.
Mykita celebrates this year it’s tenth anniversary, it all started when the four founders Moritz Krueger, Philipp Haffmans, Daniel Haffmans and Harald Gottschling, met in school and participated in a special design contest, they challenged themselves to use design and engineering to create a pair of glasses with “no screws”. As they succeeded they decided to formerly get together and launch the first metal frame collection in 2004. The name is part of the story; the word “Kita” is the abbreviation of “Kindertagesstätte”, name given to the daycare centers of the communist times, before the wall fell they where many as all women went back to work almost immediately after giving birth. Their first office was a former “Kita” that was left after the Berlin wall fell.
As the collection succeeded they continued creating collections not only in metal but in acetate which has more flexible in terms of design, regarding color and shape, but still keeping the same philosophy of “no screws” and taking away any unnecessary elements in the form, even the logo.
In my visit to the famous 5 floors “Haus” I witnessd every step of production that is totally handmade, from shaping the skeleton of the face, to putting the sides together, to laser engraving the brand in the interior, finishing with quality control and packing. Indeed a long and delicate process, that they have mastered and it is a core element of the values of the brand.
One of the facts that has made the brand catch the eyes of the world are their unique creative collaborations, all portrayed in their recent book Mykita 8. From Bernard Whillhelm, Alexandre Herchovitch, Beth Ditto, Damir Doma and Moncler Gamme Rouge. But still their own lines are the most successful, from optical frames that are very attractive because of their lightness and flexibility, to their sophisticated luxury sport lines. They recently launched Mykita Mylon with whom they had their recent collaboration with Moncler Rouge, the key of this collection is the patented polyamide material that permits to create unique shapes but also develop an in house technique for the finishing that gives it that original color and feel. Giving this glasses the fashionable touch and the practical use.
A little nice story? I did not know that the famous golden mirrored aviator glasses Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) used in sex in the city, where Mykita. At the time their famous stylist Patricia Field, was looking for mirrored glasses and she only would find them with Mykita, old story I know! but in some way shows the step in advance of the brand, the last years there has been a big come back on mirror glasses.
As I am always curious when I meet the founders of companies and projects, I love to ask them what is the key of the success of the company and Philipp responded, that team work and having all his team in the same building was key. “The fact that everybody in Mykita acts as part of the crew inside a ship, giving hundredth percent for the common goal/destination”. Indeed when I had the tour of the”Haus” I felt that way, each person is aware of the importance of their work, there is no “small” or “big” job, it is all important to create the end product, which could not be perfect without the every single step being so. A nice lesson to note down.
And for the future? There may be expansion in the line of products, but still we can’t talk about it, but I have a feeling that if we follow the same vision it will be innovative, fun and practical!
I want to give a special thanks to Lisa Thamm for the tour and Philipp for sharing the story.