HAUSKA TAVATA is an optical store /showroom in Yokohama City, Japan and a distributor of exclusive eyewear, including RES/REI from Italy. Eyestylist was delighted to ask Meiko Takata and her colleagues about trends in Japan and their approach to eyewear selection – for those who enjoy a truly unique frame. An interview feature by Clodagh Norton.
Tell us about HAUSKA TAVATA and how you work? Miyao: HAUSKA TAVATA is an optical store open mainly by appointment. HAUSKA means “Fun” and TAVATA means “Meet” – together it means “Nice to meet you” in Finnish. We named it so that it could be a place where customers meet their new ‘self’. Our aim is to provide eyewear and services that will enhance the lives of our customers. We have a staff member who is qualified as a personal colour analyst, who can determine the colours of clothing and make-up that harmonize with a customer’s skin complexion, eye colour, and hair colour allowing us to propose a palette of tones for each individual customer we see.
How did you get into eyewear and optics in the first place? Maruyama: Initially, I was producing precision parts for office equipment and cameras. I was familiar with metal and synthetic resin materials so I was interested in materials, function and eyewear design. I was also enjoying spectacles as a fashionable product. One day I met a small brand called ELEMENTS in Hong Kong. I was totally thrilled when I first visited SILMO and saw designs that I had never seen in Japan before. In 2014, we exhibited ELEMENTS at the International Optical Fair Tokyo (IOFT) in Japan and received an award (Eyewear of the Year in the Men’s category). The following year, we introduced the handmade wooden Finnish brand KRAA KRAA in IOFT and received the Eyewear of the Year award (Function and Technology category). This encouraged me and I was able to start our optical store HAUSKA TAVATA, a store that introduces independent designer brands that are functional, well designed and use various materials. I am happy to be able to work with passionate designers and friendly staff members even in the current difficult economic situation due to COVID-19. Above: The Team at HAUSKA TAVATA Meiko Takata, Optician (left); Hideyuki Miyao, Optician/Store Manager (centre); Kazumi Yoshida, Optician/Personal Colour Analyst (right)
What would you say Japanese customers wish to wear most this year in terms of eyewear materials? Metal or acetate? Heavy rims or minimal? Natural sustainable materials or classics like titanium or acetate? Miyao: We are seeing an increase in the number of customers who would like eyewear made from sustainable materials. These customers pay attention to spectacles made of wood or buffalo horn that we have in our shop. However, the reality is that there are many people who do not pay special attention to materials. Titanium and acetates are certainly popular with customers in Japan this year.
Are there any eyewear trends in Japan right now that are very cool? Miyao: I feel the current trend is to be sustainable and to feel the diversity and unique qualities of every brand. Currently there is a good retail atmosphere in Japan, and customers can choose items that they can sympathize with from a wide variety of brands, from traditional designs to products made using 3D printers, and eyewear that is more eco-friendly.
Takata: In Japan, wearing sunglasses is not part of the culture here yet and people wear sunglasses less in their everyday life. At IOFT this Autumn, there were sunglasses designs with very light colored lenses which allow the eyes of the wearer to be seen. This will provide people with more choice when they want to protect their eyes from UV rays. The new lenses with partially shaded colour tints were proposed in pink, yellow, or grey – they provide effects that are like eye make-up when a user puts them on their face.
The number of people working from home has increased and this has raised the number of people purchasing new spectacles or starting to wear spectacles. I heard there are more people who are more aware of their eyewear due to the need to wear when on video conferences.
Maruyama: Eyewear made from sustainable materials such as bio plastics and green plastics is a new cool trend in Japan. At the trade fair IOFT, I saw some frames and hinges that decompose in the ocean or underground and eventually becomes carbon dioxide and water in 1 to 3 years.
Can you think of anything interesting about how your customers buy frames. Do they have one frame or many? One frame for all day and evening or other buying patterns and habits that you can explain? Miyao: The surveys suggest that people usually buy one pair of spectacles. In Japan, it seems that there is still little awareness of using multiple styles. However, this is not the case for our customers. Many of them are fond of eyewear and they are particular about quality and design. There is a customer who has purchased seven different colours of a particular model. Some customers come to us to find eyewear that nobody wears in the city. Some customers switch to acetate frames on the weekends and metal frames for weekdays! Each customer has different ways of approaching their frame and I enjoy that.
Yoshida: I feel many of our customers have been wearing a lot of eyeglasses in their lives. Many people come to our store looking for eyewear that is really different, or they want a different style from their current frame… or perhaps spectacles that will make them look fashionable in serious business occasions. There are many fashionable customers who enjoy wearing unique frames to fit their personality.
What are your favourite styles right now, and if you personally wear spectacles can you tell us what you are wearing? Miyao: I try to wear frames that I like – as simple as that. I feel proud when I go out wearing my favorite pairs. I use blue or green colour lenses and I like how the sky, the sea, the forests, and the mountains look more beautiful and vivid with these lenses. My wife sometimes doesn’t want to walk with me because wearing this type of coloured lenses makes you stand out, however that doesn’t stop me from wearing them! Wearing favorite frames with confidence, is my favourite style. I wear brand Bruno Chaussignand’s frames often these days. There is a model that is inspired by Mount Fuji. I was surprised when I found it!
Yoshida: These days, I wear a mask when I go out, so I choose a frame that matches the mask and eye makeup and brightens the impression of my face. When I am at home, I want to feel relaxed so I choose light and comfortable spectacles. I currently enjoy wearing RES/REI frames with rich and beautiful acetate colours, and I use a metal frame by a Japanese independent designer brand from Fukui prefecture, SHU KUMEDA – it is very light and comfortable.
Takata: My favorite styles right now are the spectacle styles that match my hairstyle (especially the fringe because I have short hair) and my clothing. I have a favourite which is a Finnish custom-made wooden frame by KRAA KRAA in navy. It is made using a Finnish woodwork technique and doesn’t have any hinges so it is light and the colour applied to birch wood is nice and matches skin tones. – www.hauskatavata.com
Meet the team:
Hideyuki Miyao is an optician and the store manager of HAUSKA TAVATA. He has been working in the eyewear industry for about 25 years. “I find the job rewarding and I enjoy that I help provide customers with lots of happiness. I will find value in my work as long as there are customers who will find pleasure in purchasing our spectacles!”
Kazumi Yoshida quit a job in the field of makeup 15 years ago and then entered the optical industry. “Eyewear and makeup are similar, both use “colour” on the face. I studied personal colour analysis to tackle the classic comment: “I don’t look good in spectacles” I want to see more people enjoying their eyewear by applying my knowledge as personal color analyst.”
Meiko Takata started working in the optical industry 6 years ago in HAUSKA TAVATA. My job is to talk and listen to requests from customers, and to recommend eyewear designs in the store. Every year, I was looking forward to visiting optical fairs in Europe and seeing attractive and inspiring designs and talk with motivated brands’ teams and designers. Nowadays, I visit optical fairs in Japan and talk with Japan based designers who design their eyewear very carefully and with passion. We are planning to introduce such Japan based eyewear brands in our website.
Takashi Maruyama is passionate about sustainability. “I think about how I can participate as a company and as an individual to be carbon neutral. I think we need to consider things such as the electricity used to produce eyewear and ensuring it does not use fossil fuels. I am also interested in lenses that are made in Japan that use biomaterials. As HAUSKA TAVATA, we want to introduce customers to wonderful eyewear which they will treasure – we offer a full menu of maintenance so customers can keep their frame for a long time. I believe this is one of the most important activities in terms of sustainability in our business.”