Since launching in 2003, MYKITA has become one of the premiere eyewear brands in the world, as well as one of the most prolific collaborators in fashion. The Berlin-based company has long-running partnerships with Maison Margiela, Bernhard Willhelm, and Damir Doma, and has also worked with the likes of Ambush, Martine Rose, and 424. Today, the brand announces its newest collaborator: Helmut Lang. Two new silhouettes, the HL001 and HL002, were debuted at Helmut Lang’s New York Fashion Week show.
To coincide with the announcement, we chopped it up with Moritz Krueger, the brand’s co-founder and creative director. He spoke with us about how the collaboration came about, how the two brands’ visions align, and what inspired the new collection.
Peep the interview below, and scroll through all the new shades above.
When you hear the words Helmut Lang what comes to mind?
It’s a name connected to an incredible design legacy that has had untold influence on the way we all dress today. I also think of other names like Yohji Yamamoto, Margiela, Issey Miyake, Comme des Garçons, Jil Sander – these figureheads of the minimalist movement in the Nineties that challenged the decade’s reign of glitz and glamour and revolutionized perceptions of what was seen as stylish or sexy.
Can you recall any pieces from Helmut Lang’s archives that stand out to you?
To be honest, during the heyday of Helmut Lang I was a schoolboy in a northern German town. Riding around the place on my Holland bike, the world of fashion was about as far away as the moon. The understanding of the impact label has had is something that came later.
Why did you choose Helmut Lang for the next MYKITA collaboration?
We saw the fantastic creative potential of a challenge like this – an opportunity to use our creativity and technical competence to interpret the influential codes of an iconic label and create a product that makes sense in a contemporary context. We couldn’t pass that up.
Can you explain bit about how the collaboration came about? How do you know what’s a good fit for MYKITA?
Having our own independent manufacturing puts us in a position to realize our ideas and makes us an attractive partner for collaborations. When we were approached by Helmut Lang and started working with Mark Thomas (creative director ready-to-wear Helmut Lang) it was immediately apparent that we share this clear, conceptual approach to the design process and a straightforward design language that gets to the essence of a product.
How does the MKYITA creative process align (or differ) from that of Helmut Lang?
The design and production comes together under the same roof at the MYKITA HAUS, so we see ourselves as coming more from the field of technology and industrial design than fashion. We obviously connect to the minimalist ethos at Helmut Lang and the next level of that which is deconstruction – reducing an object to its fundamental parts. Other than that we share the experimental approach to materials and an appreciation of fine craftsmanship. In a joint creative process, we value a partner that can bring new ingredients – inspiration, ideas, expertise – to the table, allowing us to create something completely new.
What inspired the product? What were you looking to achieve?
The current trend for eyewear includes many quite loud or eccentric frames. The idea was to create a design that stands apart, but which is not busy. The razor-thin chassis on the HL001 model creates an ultra-fine layer in the face. The strong visual impact comes from the pure shapes and clean lines; the reduction makes it radical. HL002 is a reduced interpretation of an aviator shape. The almost triangular shape of the rims, which is repeated in the side lenses, creates a fine graphic and symmetrical aesthetic.
How does a comparatively younger brand such as MYKITA find common ground with a storied label like Helmut Lang?
I see many parallels in the design principles that have shaped both MYKITA and Helmut Lang, the respect for material integrity, the value placed on craftsmanship. In our respective fields, both brands have created contemporary design classics that redefine the aesthetics of luxury.
Which piece from the new collection stands out to you?
I’m particularly happy with the styling elements across the collection. If we consider the Black/Black colourway as the original, I love how the different color options can completely transform its look. We are not adding any decorative elements, but only by exchanging the side lenses and adding neon for example, the model takes on an entirely new look. The original black model loses some of its radicalness in this deconstruction process and introduces a whole new theme. It can feel like time traveling.