Antwerp-based eyewear and watch brand Komono was founded in 2009 by ex-professional snowboarders Anton Janssens and Raf Maes. Since then, they have brought glimpses of the future with their modern and colourful Belgian eyewear, sunglasses, watches, and ski goggles.
Komono aims to deliver innovative design, accessibility, affordability, and viability of long term use of sustainable materials. They want to minimise environmental impacts whilst supporting local communities.
In 2015, Komono launched the Neutro collection, which had a reduced carbon footprint. After this, they continued their search for sustainable materials and started integrating them into their fashionable designs. The starting point for the more sustainable eyewear and watches Komono now offers!
Komono works with selected suppliers in China. Their team visits their factories several times a year. Annual audits are undertaken by an independent auditing company to ensure compliance with the code of conduct they have established with the factories. The main points of Komono's code of conduct are that there is absolutely no forced labour, child labour, fair wages, acceptable working hours, and safe buildings and production processes.
They choose Chinese factories because of their specific expertise. Moreover, they have been working with the same four factories for eyewear and the same one for watches for years. These are all relatively small factories, with about 50 to 100 people working in each factory.
Not all Komono glasses and watches are made from the same eco-friendly materials, but the brand is well on its way to making this the standard after all! For instance, there are frames made of regular acetate, cellulose propionate, and stainless steel, but also of eco-acetate and recycled acetate.
Stainless steel is used in Komono eyewear as well as watches and is a pretty durable material. In theory, it can be recycled infinitely without loss of quality and the material is harmless to humans during production and use. In addition, it is a robust material, products made of stainless steel can last a long time, and it is resistant to fire, chemical attack and corrosion.
Cellulose propionate (CP) is obtained from cellulose (from wood) that reacts with propanoic acid (the reactant). CP is an organic ester and is a polymer of the thermoplastic type. It is not biodegradable, whereas bio- or eco-acetate is for the most part.
Acetate is a material that we often find in spectacle frames. It is a material made of fibres based on cotton and wood pulp. A plasticiser is needed to convert the raw organic material into usable acetate. With regular acetate, the plasticiser consists of fossil fuels. All acetate eyewear produced by Komono from now on (end of 2021) is made of eco-acetate.
The glasses made of eco acetate consist entirely of renewable and natural raw materials. Their suppliers make this material from leftovers from production. These are then melted and dyed to make recycled black acetate.
Other environmentally friendly materials include bioplastic made from castor beans for eyewear and recycled PET bottles for watch straps. The watch straps are crafted using stainless steel, leather, or silicone.
The glass cases are made from recycled PET bottles, where the recycled polyester is GRS (Global Recycled Standard) certified. No new raw materials are required to create the cases. The glass protection is compostable and is made of corn and FSC-certified paper. The packaging is also designed with reusability in mind; for example, the children's collection includes metal boxes that can be reused as pencil cases.
Komono eyewear is in principle vegan because it is not made directly from animal materials, although it is unknown what kind of finishing materials are used for the frames. For the watches, leather is sometimes used, but since Komono does not openly communicate the origin of this leather, we cannot say what the living conditions of the animals were before they were killed for the leather. For the watches, leather is used sometimes, this leather comes from China and Italy. Komono says the collection other than leather is growing all the time, featuring vegan leather, metal and recycled polyester.
Depending on the components and materials, not all can be reused or recycled. Combined material compositions make it challenging to recycle or even reuse. Theoretically, products made of 100% stainless steel, acetate or polyester are less complex to recycle due to being melted, whereas eco-acetate is largely biodegradable.
Komono has products already made of recycled materials such as recycled acetate and recycled polyester. COSH! is happy to see that Komono is taking such sustainable steps.
If your Komono glasses or watch break down, you can go to the retailer where you bought them or to the brand itself. The brand can provide spare parts so you can repair the item yourself or with selected retailers. All Komono products have a 2-year guarantee for European consumers.
As from 2020, Komono's transport is CO2-neutral. They compensate for their emissions from boats and trains.
As long as you choose a frame or watch that suits your style, you can enjoy it for a long time. Most watches have a timeless and minimalist look. The glasses and sunglasses are more striking in design and colour, though there are classic frames available. Komono is an authentic Antwerp brand whilst also known for its unique style. The brand enables avant-garde to be accessible and affordable. In addition, Komono undertakes various collaborations with the Antwerp fashion academy and the Amsterdam-based brand Daily Paper. The choice is plenty!
The raw materials for Komono glasses and watches come from countries in Asia (India, China) or Europe (France, Italy). Therefore we can say that Komono has quite a long supply chain, because they produce in China (the European raw materials are transported there first for production) and the head office is located in Belgium.
Are you looking for a new pair of glasses, sunglasses, or a watch? Then Komono is the right brand for you. Whether your style is futuristic and flashy or classic and colorful, You will be sure to find something that suits your face or wrist! Find out where you can shop Komono near you on the COSH! map below. When shopping, look out for the labels with a smiley face on them - these are the sustainable products!