KAMURO began as a tiny eyewear shop that opened in the Ginza district of Tokyo in 1996. Our owner, Daigo Kamuro, was inspired by the concepts of Beauty/Look/Fun & Play, which defined the philosophy of the store.
In those days, Japanese opticians usually only had glasses that looked all alike, although they came with famous brand logos. Wearing glasses was not regarded as positive either, as people tended to think of glasses only as a purchase that had become necessary because of failing eyesight.
KAMURO's staff and our owner visited the trade fairs in Europe, the source of the latest trends and cutting edge developments in this field, because we believed in the concepts that defined our shop. There, we discovered glorious color combinations as well as shapes and forms that were statement pieces, all created by small European house brands, and which were exactly what KAMURO’ s concepts called for.
We brought these frames back to Japan, and introduced them to our clients, who were bored with the tired and unimaginative choices that they had had to put up with. Our customers were ecstatic: and when their fashionable friends saw how good eyewear could look, the word began to spread – glasses were fun. More and more people shared in this discovery.
The difficult part was how to reach out to even more people, and to transform the way that society thought about eyewear. Many Japanese believed that eyewear was supposed to be unobtrusive.
Frames that came in colors and shapes that they had never seen before were regarded with bewilderment.
European designs were also tricky to fit, because our bone structure was so different. Many frames came in vivid colors, and sometimes, the colors were a bit difficult to carry off, because our complexions are not Caucasian.
Making too much of a statement is, for many Japanese, embarrassing. So what we stood for was considered to be a niche market, but slowly and steadily, we saw that more and more people had begun to think of eyewear as something that could be fun, rather than merely endured.
That is when our owner and the KAMURO staff began to think about how we could help to make glasses that are unique and individual become the norm.
The solution that we came up with was to think of the fun and joy that European frames gave us, combine that with colors and tones that suited Japanese and Asian complexions, in sizes and dimensions that were right for our bone structures – and to do it ourselves. We decided to position these originals as a primer to eyewear and the wide selection of fantastic glasses that could be found in our shops. Production began with limited lots, and these items were only available at KAMURO.
This was the start of the KAMURO collections.
Designs were created by the entire KAMURO staff. No restrictions were set regarding design styles or tastes. And these designs were created by the staff that came into daily contact with people who regularly wore glasses, resulting in eyewear collections that never became too extreme, while definitely providing a certain something that set you apart, which helped to increase the number of people who came to change their feelings toward glasses.
There were still differences between those who lived in major population centers such as our hometown, Tokyo, and the smaller cities and towns in other parts of the country. The differences were evident not just among customers, but existed between shop owners and the staff who worked at opticians as well.
By this stage, the KAMURO team felt that we wanted to share the solutions and ideas that we had refined in our shops after many hours of thought – not only through our stores, but with people all around Japan, and Asians around the world, who share similar physical characteristics.
In autumn 2005, the first KAMURO eyewear collection was launched at the IOFT in Tokyo, and at SILMO in Paris .
The KAMURO eyewear brand was born.