KAMO International is one of the past year’s standout labels. The summer was dominated by the brand’s confident approach to men's vintage sunglasses frame design, incorporating the best elements of vintage frames while updating each style with premium components and modern sensibilities. It’s not only this aesthetic that has made KAMO our go-to retro sunglasses brand, the Danish company also prides itself on its sustainable manufacturing processes. We wanted to get to know the brand that made our summer so enjoyable, so we got in touch with founder Tim Hancock to see if he had a moment to delve deeper on his newest venture.
We create a narrative for every brand but really it comes down to how the client interprets it, it’s a very subjective situation.Tim Hancock
Can you introduce yourself?
What are your earliest creative memories?
Since finishing school, I’ve always carried a notebook wherever I go. I make a conscious effort to make time to sit down every day and brainstorm without any specific direction. I might think about fragrances, travel, or just write about the people that pass me. If any of the ideas jump out to me I’ll take a bit more time to develop it. This habit is all about me learning to communicate an emotion through my creations and I’ve had this urge since I can remember.
When did your love of sunglasses begin and why?
I’d say that it’s coming up to 20 years of obsession with men's vintage sunglasses. My private collection is growing at a healthy pace as I can’t stop updating it with vintage frames that catch my eye. I love everything about a pair of glasses, even the packaging and the little details that surround the main product. When it came to designing for KAMO, I wanted the packaging to be almost generic but extremely high-quality. This places more of a focus on the frames themselves.
What sparked the idea for KAMO?
KAMO isn’t the first brand that I’ve started but the preparation of KAMO as a label represented the first time in a long time that I had the chance to really reflect – to look back not only on my work but also the ways in which people were receiving the work. We create a narrative for every brand but really it comes down to how the client interprets it, it’s a very subjective situation. I’ve always found that really interesting, so I think that the subjective experience of creating another brand has been a driving factor throughout the KAMO International project.
I see it as the opportunity for my customers and myself to understand what a new look and style could mean to them. I think this relationship between myself and my supporters is the main thing. It’s not about creating the perfect label, it’s about realising a new idea and allowing people to make something of it, whatever that may be.
What were the biggest obstacles in starting the brand?
I think it was working out how to launch another luxury men's accessories brand. Each time I begin a label, it becomes a big part of who I am, I get really attached to them. When it came to KAMO, we worked on the idea that nowadays we can buy anything anywhere, so we set about creating timeless, handmade sunglasses that were limited in availability. This allowed us to nurture the special feeling of discovery.
How would you define KAMO’s style?
The design work that I’ve done for KAMO has been very specific to this brand. I couldn’t really carry over any styles that I’d worked on in my other brands. I’ve always tried to make sure that the shape of each KAMO frame was unique but made a strong reference to traditional styles.
Which frame is your favourite?
It changes a lot, but right now my favourite frames are the black Palermo frames with the Mediterranean blue sun lenses or The Dude in gold with yellow lenses. I think that both of these styles embody the KAMO ethos of timeless design with a modern edge.
Still looking to upgrade your accessory collection? Read up on why an About Vintage watch should be on your wrist.