We get to know Nick Garfias, the vice president of design at Oakley who tells us more about the Oakley Kato – the stylish eyewear that’s set to revolutionise the face of sport and more.
First we take a closer look at the Oakley Kato, which was born from 45 years of disruptive innovation and engineered to shatter the boundaries of sport performance.
Oakley Kato’s purpose-built design features an innovative, frameless lens, crafted with an extended wrap and built-in retention to mimic the structural properties of a typical frame. The result is a product intended to fit close to the contours of the face, creating a mask-like feel.
Here’s a closer look at the cool shades and its colour options:
During development, a select group of elite athletes were equipped with a prototype, testing the durability and performance attributes that sets Oakley Kato apart. This resulted in the Kato’s final design, which sees an adjustable rake system and multiple nose pads to enable a customised, seamless fit like never before.
On top of that, the strong yet lightweight O Matter stems provide durability, and Unobtainium earsocks are moulded over the stems to deliver all-day comfort with no-slip grip.
To give consumers a first-hand look at the product and show-stopping virtual reveal, Juju Smith-Schuster took over Oakley’s Instagram channel, to chronicle the unboxing experience from his point-of-view.
Juju was also live on his personal account giving viewers an insight into his reaction to the AR experience and product.
“The Oakley Kato is 45 years in the making and we’re thrilled to be finally sharing it with the world. This entire process has been a labor of love and the reaction from people all over the world has been overwhelmingly positive which makes all the long nights and early mornings worth it. We’re excited to continue revolutionising the face of sport in the months and years to come,” shares Nick Garfias on the revolutionary eyewear.
The master of design
Having been with Oakley since 2011, Nick Garfias along with his team are in charge of all eyewear, helmets, military and some footwear that the company designs.
Among the notable Oakley products designed by Nick and his team include the Style Switch, Jawbreaker, Radar EV, Froglite, Latch, Flight Deck, Ahyris Collection, Sutro, Sutro Light, Plazma, and now the Kato, among many others.
1. What attracted you to join Oakley?
BMX was a major part of my early professional life. My beginnings were on a Schwinn Sting-ray in the late 70s. As I grew older into the 80s, BMX began to grow. It was then that I was introduced to the Oakley brand. It was the grips and goggles that really changed my life. Someone was talking to us. Someone was into what we were into and that was cool! Ever since then, it’s been a dream to work for Oakley.
2. What are your design inspirations, and especially for Oakley Kato?
I take inspiration from anything and everything. It could be nature, athletics, art, cars, you name it. For Kato, we started with a very abstract idea: if you covered your entire head with fabric, what would it look like? That led to the mask-like features in the final product, with months spent on engineering and design in between.
3. What makes Oakley Kato stand out from other sports sunglasses?
Oakley Kato features an innovative, frameless lens, crafted with an extended wrap and built-in retention to mimic the structural properties of a typical frame. This required a complete overhaul of the fabrication process – from moulds to optical axis machines and lens adhesive. Conventional approaches were abandoned in order to achieve such a unique aesthetic.
4. Are there any particular sports which Oakley Kato helps with?
We had a Team of Oakley athletes from a variety of sports test Kato, from cycling to skateboarding, football to baseball. The feedback they shared led to the final design, which features an adjustable rake system and multiple nosepads to enable a customised, seamless fit which enables all types of athletes to perform at the highest level.
5. What would you think of someone who wore the Oakley Kato for a (relaxing) day on the beach?
While our main focus is always on sport performance, look and feel are always top of mind. Oakley Kato’s unique aesthetic makes it a great frame to wear during every part of your day, from the playing field to the beach to the red carpet.