We’ve been riding the Korean culture wave for some time now but K-fashion has been rather elusive in Singapore, until now. One of its most popular eyewear brands, Gentle Monster, is opening its flagship in Singapore at ION Orchard. We’ve heard a rather famous Korean actor, Lee Dong Wook will be present for its official opening on September 26 in the evening. Gentle Monster’s funky and cool eyewear is popular with celebrities, fashionistas and Seoulites. Here’s everything you need to know about Gentle Monster.
1. It’s only 6 years old.
Gentle Monster was founded in 2011 by Hankook Kim and backed by Jae W Oh. In six years, the brand has gone from a S$150,000 startup focused on quality eyewear designed for the “Asian face” – low bridges and oversized glasses – to a S$200 million eyewear giant. It did so by acquiring two factories to control production, and developing an iconic design with thick frames and titanium rims.
2. Their flagship store in Seoul is called the BAT Building.
Kim describes his eyewear as exhibits and their displays are nothing short of stunning. So you can expect the Singapore store to be just as radical. There’s lots to be excited about based on our experience in the BAT Building, where gardens and classic Roman busts are part of the visual design.
While the local store will probably be a lot more compact compared with the Seoul outlets, we’re hoping there will be a similar concept in Singapore.
3. They do über-cool collaborations.
Earlier this year, Gentle Monster announced a partnership with the enigmatic Tilda Swinton. The collaboration showcased a series of great pieces, some of which were variations on the classic Gentle Monster design and others more creative in style. All in all, it created an incredible sensation within the Gentle Monster community. But that’s not the only partnership they’ve had. Other collaborations include Hood by Air, Places+Faces, Henry Vibskov and more. Check out the video of Swinton’s campaign with GM above.
4. Celebrities across the world are embracing the brand.
It’s not just Korean actors and actresses who are fans of Gentle Monster. The brand has made its way across the Pacific where everyone from the Kardashians to NBA stars (like Russell Westbrook, below) are donning the eyewear. It’s not just an ‘it’ eyewear for Asians.
5. L Catterton Asia just invested in it, so it’s going big. (Updated with a clarification.)
L Catterton Asia is the Asian unit of L Catterton, a joint partnership between Catterton, LVMH and Groupe Arnault. The private equity firm has tapped into everything from YG Entertainment to Crystal Jade. So it seems certain that Gentle Monster will soon become a much bigger enterprise and that’s good for the brand. We think there will be other opportunities arising from this investment for sure. If collaborations between cult brands and big luxury labels are your thing, keep your fingers crossed.