November 19, 2020
Fashion & Beauty
From its humble beginnings in early 2000s Berlin, Mykita has been seen and worn on every person in the scene from Europe to the States to everywhere you can think of. Known internationally for its hand-assembled prescription frames and sunnies, they’ve had some pretty major collabs from Margiela to Moncler. Because of the time and precision it takes to make each pair of glasses, you can immediately tell they are special as soon as you put them on. With an imagination as big as the stars, founder Moritz Krüger has ensured that every time you wear a Mykita piece you feel as special as you are. PUSS PUSS got the pleasure to sit down with Moritz to pick his brain on everything from the past & present of Mykita, his hopes and dreams for a brighter future and what a typical day is like to the incredible and intimate factory where everything is made.
Mykita glasses, Front General store tank
Mykita glasses, Area top and skirt
Jo Rosenthal: How did you get your start in the eyewear industry?
Moritz Krueger: As a young man I had about 18 months experience working in an eyewear company, and pretty quickly felt drawn to entrepreneurial ideas – energising a group of people and building your own thing. In 2003, four friends – including myself – got together and founded MYKITA. The company was born out of this pure wish to create and build something of our own design, and the right moment came along to give it a try. We really didn’t have a grand strategy, more like naïve confidence and energy to make things happen, but also a pretty clear aesthetic vision.
JR: Who are some of your glasses wearing inspirations?
MK: Growing up my father was always wearing glasses; he had that stereotypical university teacher look. In the late Eighties or early Nineties, he bought a pair of Armani panto glasses on a trip to Italy and I remember being impressed by that style. Now I own his whole collection of glasses from the Sixties to the Nineties – of course from around 2003, he could not choose his own frames anymore and was drawn into a pretty strict MYKITA endorsement deal.
JR: What’s your favourite thing about what you do?
MK: My favourite thing is getting to do things with an inspiring bunch of incredibly nice and talented people, and transporting this diverse, creative environment via a physical product to a global audience. Eyewear is such a personal product – especially an optical frame might be the most conscious selection you can make as a customer, you wear it every day and it’s right there in the middle of your face! – for me it’s inspiring to engage with people from all over the world on such a personal level. Also, there’s a transparency of process and innovative energy that comes from having all our departments together under one roof. At our Modern Manufactory, the team guides each product through every stage, from initial concept to shop delivery. What’s special about this approach is it creates a consciousness that permeates the whole company defining our business and our product. Maintaining this consciousness, and the authenticity that so resonates with our customers, is an important accomplishment for me.
JR: What is your favourite thing about being an international brand?
MK: It’s enriching … As MYKITA, we were quite bold from the beginning, and entering the international market meant taking on many challenges but at the same time I felt sure it would leverage us as a company. We started out with MYKITA Japan early on and this helped us develop and improve immensely. The expectations of the Japanese market are high, especially for a foreign company, and the feedback is subtle, you really have to earn the trust. Since then, each new region for MYKITA has had its individual cultural aspects and specific feedback – for example, in the U.S. customer service is the really important topic – that has let us and the product and collections develop and improve, becoming more balanced and complete overall. Also, MYKITA has its headquarters in Berlin, but we have attracted talent from all over the world. There are over 30 nationalities working at the MYKITA HAUS – this diverse, creative family and the constant dialogue with our international colleagues enriches everything we do.
Mykita glasses, Norma Kamali dress
JR: Because of Covid, many industries have changed – how has your industry changed for the better, and what do you hope to see in the future?
MK: Being an independent company with our own in-house manufacturing meant that MYKITA was in the fortunate situation to be able to secure our processes and production – not without challenges and restrictions, of course, but the situation confirmed our concept for me. Speaking more broadly, the situation that arose from COVID-19 has in many ways opened our eyes on the world and provided a sense of focus. It has also acted as a catalyst for many developments and trends that were happening also before the shutdown. For those not affected negatively by serious health or economic concerns, the general feedback has been positive – slowing down allowed the essential things to come into focus, to crystallise. The question of what do we really need and the realisation that it may already be available around you. A great revelation has also been the power of governments to achieve drastic change when the focus is there – imagine this power used to tackle any one of other equally urgent issues, such as climate change.
JR: What is a typical day like for you?
MK: I leave the house with my dog Karl in the bike trailer and my daughter Polly in the bike seat. After dropping her off at Kita [kindergarten], I ride to MYKITA through Mitte and the Museumsinsel, letting Karl run along the bike most of the way. I have a coffee and a chat at the little Kioski, my version of the quick Italian-style coffee bar in the MYKITA courtyard.Work starts with any number of topics – meetings with design, brand, or production. I try to always make time for a nice lunch, especially during the darker months it’s important to get out, breathe in the city atmosphere. We’re located in Kreuzberg which is an exciting area, lots of great little places. More work in the afternoon and then I try to get home before 20.00 to see my family. On a special night there might be a good football game…
JR: What is something about you or what you do that most people don’t know?
MK: I’m sort of religious about sauna; it’s a great inspiration for me. We have a place outside the city and I built a sauna in the garden there and I’ll actually even go for sauna in the middle of summer when it’s 35°c or something – it settles and reorganizes my brain. Also, I wear Birkenstock all year long, without socks mostly. I like cold feet, keeps me alert.
JR: What can we see from Mykita in the future?
MK: We will be getting closer to our customer with retail stores, so expect more MYKITA capsules popping up in new areas. The MYKITA | LEICA collection is arriving to stores in November and this is really something of a milestone for us – beautiful eyewear design that naturally brings all things that are important right now – quality, functionality, longevity – in its shared DNA. Through COVID-19 we also pulled the topic of protective eyewear into focus – something that has been mostly neglected by the eyewear industry. To create MYLON GUARD ONE, we collaborated with closely with doctors and the medical field, letting us into a totally different product world that has nevertheless been as inspiring and engaging as collaborating with a fashion house like Maison Margiela. Yes, so powered by our independent spirit MYKITA is continuing its deep focus on manufacturing and innovation, alongside new surprises from the world of music and arts – cultures we are opening up to more. We are here, humble and happy, constantly developing with both feet on the ground.
Mykita glasses, Maryam Nassir Zadeh blazer & bag, Front general store shirt, The shiny squirrel earrings
Mykita glasses, Front general store tank
Mykita glasses, James Veloria top
Front General store jeans & tank
James Veloria top
Mykita glasses, Norma Kamali dress, The shiny squirrel earrings
Martina Cox top, Clyde hat
Norma Kamali dress, Mia Becar shoes