Boston Club has been attracting a lot of attention recently in eyewear manufacturer of Japan. They have retail outlets in Minami-Aoyama and Ginza, two of Tokyo’s most fashionable neighborhoods. Chief designer Kasashima Hironobu has been with Boston Club since 1996, when the company launched its first proprietary brand, Japonism. This pioneering brand’s lineup of frames, created on the basis of world-class technology, reflects a distinctly Japanese aesthetic—helping to drive the popularity of “Made in Japan” eyeglasses. The company’s strategy to stay ahead of its Chinese competitors had for a long time been based on designing products that could only be made with Japanese technology, but the company’s approach has changed recently, as Kasashima explains:
“Traveling to international fairs overseas allows me to see with my own eyes what today’s consumers are looking for. This experience brought home to me that constantly emphasizing the technical know-how we have built up over the years is not enough to make us internationally competitive. I realized how important it is, in this day and age, to appeal to the consumer by going beyond technical prowess. We need to promote the worldview expressed by our brand and appeal to the consumer by emphasizing the values that lie behind it.”
Boston Club was looking for a brand concept that would be easily understood and appreciated around the world. Eventually, the company decided to market itself by emphasizing longevity; namely, eyeglasses people can use for many years without tiring of them. It was a concept that turned the previous design conventions on their head. Along with longevity, the company’s eyeglasses also offer customers outstanding functionality. For instance, Boston Club developed the new Rudder Hinge that can be detached and replaced when necessary. This sort of feature encapsulates Japanese craftsmanship and technology that go beyond the level of superficial design.
“Our glasses were well received at trade fairs in Europe,” Kasashima explains. “I think we were successful in making people aware of the possibilities of Japanese eyeglasses. We want to go beyond attractive designs and traditional technology. Our aim is to find a way of expressing a distinctly Japanese way of looking at the world through the design of our glasses. I’m confident that there is a global demand for this kind of Japanese aesthetic.”
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