In the realm of luxury eyewear, few brands have reached the same level of success as Gentle Monster. The South Korean brand, founded in 2011 by CEO and creative director Hankook Kim, has emerged as a fashion trailblazer beloved by many. Its avant-garde and unqiue approach to redefining contemporary eyewear is constantly pushing the boundaries of accessory design, with many of its signature sunglasses and optical frames having been donned by the biggest celebrities including the likes of Lisa, Billie Eilish and Travis Scott.
Aside from its viral products and alluring campaign imagery, there is also a certain finesse when it comes to the interior designs of the Gentle Monster retail stores. Each store is filled with surrealist sculptures and sci-fi references, all of which driving home the succinct creative vision of the brand. There have are also been a lineup of retail spaces that have been introduced to the Gentle Monster universe through the years, from the opening of the Haus Dosan concept store to the launch of cosmetics store Tamburins. These spaces boast intentional and thoughtful designs, helping carve out the brand’s own unique identity within the the industry, one that effortlessly blends art, fashion and technology.
Sought-after collaborations have certainly also catapulted the brand into the cult status it has today, with an array of hyper-successful partnerships with several of the biggest designers and artists in the scene. Gentle Monster’s ability to always stay on the cusp of emerging trends and perfectly balance the old and the new is certainly something to note.
Below, Vogue Singapore breaks down several of the eyewear giant’s most momentous collections to date.
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Gentle Monster x Ambush collection (2021)
In a second iteration with popular streetwear brand Ambush, the collaboration explored the themes of adventure and climbing. With the prevalence of the pandemic at the time, there was notably a newfound love for the outdoors that later birthed the ‘gorpcore’ stye trend—marking the collaboration as an extremely timely one.
The collection’s campaign showed models in hiking gear shot against digital backdrops of sci-fi futurism, accompanied with an exclusive collaboration track that looked at fashion’s ever-evolving relationship with music.
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Gentle Monster Bold collection (2022)
Titled “Galaxy of 9 evenings”, the inaugural launch of a new line for the brand was one that blurred the lines between art and science. Lensed by trailblazing photographer Heji Shin and encompassing a meaty lineup of 12 new designs, the variety of silhouettes and colourways made it a collection for the masses. Sleek cat-eye frames and refined ovals were perfect everyday staples, whilst sporty aviators and embellished angular options made for statement offerings.
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Jentle Garden collection (2022)
For all the Jennie fans around the world, Gentle Monster’s second collaboration with the South Korean singer, rapper and actress was heavily anticipated to say the least. The collection was heavily inspired by the beauty and tranquility of a blooming garden, and saw a mix of optical frames and sunglasses in oversized silhouettes.
The campaign images, captured by French photographer Hugo Comte in his signature style of saturated hues and textures, screamed of a Y2K nostalgia that was right on the nose of the fashion zeitgeist at the time.
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Gentle Monster x Maison Margiela collection (2023)
Continuing its penchant for dynamic collaborations, the brand partnered with industry heavyweight Maison Margiela in February last year. Conceived to be genderless and experimental, the collection fused the inventive codes of the South Korean label with the exquisite craftsmanship present at the storied Parisian house.
Multidisciplinary artist Katherina Jebb was brought in to produce a digital campaign, utilising high-resolution scanning techniques to create a series of images that resemble a collage of pixels living together. The end result was a melding of visions—one that was timeless yet innovative.
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Gentle Monster x D’Heygere collection (2023)
To the initiated within fashion, the brand D’heygere is no stranger. The French label has long been known for its eclectic offering of jewellery and accessories, and looked to expand its universe with this collaboration. This collaboration reinterpreted both brand’s identities through a melding of jewellery and eyewear, with the products’ sleek frames adorned with little studs, gems and earrings.
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Gentle High School collection (2023)
For its 2024 optical collection, the brand depicted a glimpse of high school life, officially launching and opening the doors to “Gentle High School”. Featuring Japanese actress-model Nana Komatsu and musician Shinichi Osawa, the campaign saw the prolific creatives donning traditional school uniforms as they participated in a mix of martial arts and mechanics courses. Showcasing six new frame styles, the campaign hugely resonated with a younger audience while pushing the ever-futuristic narrative of the brand.
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Gentle Jelly collection (2024)
Inspired by gummy candies of the 2000s, the “Gentle Jelly” collection that launched earlier this month saw a spectrum of eclectic designs that tapped into one’s childhood memories and imagination. The five pairs of shades boast vibrant shades and youthful embellishments, building on the younger fanbase that the brand has amassed over the months.
The launch was also accompanied with larger-than-life pop ups hosted in Seoul and Beijing, showcasing a giant jelly pouch sculpture complete with assorted jellies and amusing jelly creatures that donned pairs from the collection.
The “Gentle Jelly” collection is available at all Gentle Monster retail stores and on the brand’s official website.