Beyond their obvious dashing looks, what do blogger Elva Ni, actor Eric Kwok and model Kenta Sakurai all have in common? The answer, surprisingly enough, can be found in a shopfront on the corner of Tai Ping Shan Street in PoHo. KHROMIS, located a stone’s throw from Man Mo Temple, is an independent eyewear brand that’s fast becoming a favourite amongst the city’s detail-orientated consumers and KOLs. Vivid colours and enlarged frames are the order of the day, with the Hong Kong-based brand offering over 30 styles — many of them unisex — which reflect a fascination with light refracted into shapes and hues.
KHROMIS is, on its face, another cult label with a finite shelf life, trading on the goodwill of fashionistas and its prime positioning along Sheung Wan’s most photogenic thoroughfare. But upon closer examination, you’ll find that it’s taking a refreshingly thoughtful approach to designing eyewear, and the results, thus far, seem promising.
European tastes, Japanese make
Unlike most of the Luxxotica Group brands which dominate the Hong Kong market, KHROMIS combines an Italian sensibility — one that wouldn’t be amiss amongst a lineup of international eyewear designers — with a provenance hitting much closer to home. Styles like the Pompei and Messina capitalise on Japan’s history of technical manufacturing at a very high level. Original and innovative features like a segmented five barrel hinge (for durability) or adjustable silicon nose pads (for comfort) have been incorporated into these models, and that attention to detail is complemented by widespread sourcing of the best acetate money can buy — straight from Cadore. What consumers end up with is a product which has all the hallmarks of a fashion accessory (i.e. something that’s trendy and aesthetically impactful) whilst being sturdier than the average equivalent from Sunglass Hut.
The KHROMIS signature style is also a point of differentiation from bigger labels. The late 2000s saw the proliferation of geek-chic: Thanks to brands like Warby Parker, smallish, rounded designs inspired by vintage looks cropped up everywhere. And while models like the Momo — a play on the classic Clubmaster — are sure to satisfy devotees of that look, KHROMIS has made a concerted effort to align such styles with the rest of its offering — going bigger, more eclectic and fashion-forward.
The KHROMIS bespoke programme
The KHROMIS ready-to-wear range is complemented by an in-house bespoke programme that’s divided into four phases (measuring, designing, assembly, polishing). For those who’d like to take advantage of the brand’s more technical innovations (for example, the aforementioned five-barrel hinge) while expressing a unique personal style, the programme is bound to be of interest. As with all bespoke, the process places significant emphasis on capturing a wearer’s unique facial features, ensuring a comfortable and symmetrical pair of frames. Customisation is another central part of the programme, giving the wearer the opportunity to detail their glasses with everything from laser engraving to graduated laminate.
Come for the eyewear, stay for the coffee
Store design is one of the key areas in which independent retailers can outmanoeuvre big brands — an opportunity that KHROMIS appears to have seized on. Enlisting the aid of local design firm A Work of Substance — the team behind last year’s much-publicised rebranding of The Fleming — the flagship’s interior makes use of numerous mirrors to reflect light and manipulate perspective. A high glass-to-surface ratio allows customers to experience the brand’s various products from all angles, and the space proves especially inviting in the daytime, with warm natural light curving gently throughout the shop.
What’s more, specialty coffee roasters Hazel & Hershey have taken up residence inside the flagship, offering freshly prepared espresso, nitro and drip coffee on-site. The acclaimed micro roaster’s participation, in conjunction with a clever store layout and outdoor terrace, look set to make KHROMIS an enduring lifestyle destination for Hong Kong’s well-heeled eyewear enthusiasts.
KHROMIS, 1 Tai Ping Shan Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, +852 2772 2373