Gentle Monster named GENTLE MONSTER (Hangeul: 젠틀 몬스터) is a Korean fashion sunglasses and eyewear brand founded by Hankook Kim in Seoul in 2011. As of April 2018, the company has 41 Directly operated stores worldwide, including in Korea, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and United States. Gentle Monster hires 6 people to design its eyewear products and 60 people to design the store’s visuals. Its products are displayed like museum pieces in “an immersive and experiential offline shopping experience.”
Jun Ji-hyun worked in Gentle Monster. For example, in May-August 2016, its New York City flagship store was transformed into an underwater experience with aquarium designer Justin Muir and glass sculptor Ivan Lee Mora, influenced by the French film Le Grand Bleu. In February 2021, Gentle Monster opened a new space, “Haus Dosan,” to represent the brand’s direction (future retail). In addition to products from Gentle Monster’s own brand, cosmetics brand “Tamburins” and dessert cafe “Nudake” have been established here. Serial entrepreneur Jae W Oh invested about $100,000 in 2012 and Gentle Monster started making frames in Daegu, which was once a manufacturing hub for Luxottica and China, because acetate frames were manufactured. illegal in Korea. The brand’s designs favor oversized frames much more than Western brands because its Asian customers prefer frames that create a smaller face image.
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Gentle Monster is a Korean eyewear brand launched in 2011 by the company IICOMBINED. Gentle Monster immediately became popular in the market after its launch based on two outstanding characteristics: unique fashionable sunglasses and more importantly, eye-catching store design. The brand offers two lines of eyeglasses and sunglasses at premium prices ($200–$500). Its products are very unique in design and the variety is very limited. Gentle Monster sunglasses are famous for their striking designs with oversized frames and low bridge fit. The brand presents seasonal collections similar to a couture house, and each collection includes an average of 50 to 60 sunglasses and 20 eyeglasses. The Gentle Monster store is themed and uses art objects and sculptures to transform this sales venue into a performance space. Parent company IICOMBINED asserts itself as a retailer and aims to convey a strong store brand identity to its customers. IICOMBINED continues to experiment with creative ideas for spaces in its stores. This intuitive merchandising strategy, store branding and innovative products have helped Gentle Monster achieve incredible success in the marketplace. The company’s total revenue in 2016 totaled $145 million, nearly tripling the previous year, with an operating profit of 32.7% (Lee, 2018).
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Gentle Monster has a total of thirty-five stores in the country, including seven flagship stores and 25 franchised stores in department stores in major cities, such as Seoul, Busan, and Daegu (Gentle Monster, 2018). Since 2015, Gentle Monster has expanded its distribution network by opening stores in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and the United States. The brand has opened stores in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Guangzhou in China. The Chinese market entry turned out to be a success as sales from the Beijing store reached over 100 million RMB in just one year. L.Catterton Asia, a LVMH family company based in China has decided to invest $53 million in this brand for its promising business in China (Sim, 2018). In the United States, the Soho store opened in 2016 and the store in Los Angeles in 2017. Gentle Monster is actively looking for celebrity partnerships and marketing. Recent projects with Alexander Wang, Dutch brand Moooi and Tilda Swinton have brought the brand to trend-seeking consumers in the United States. Gentle Monster plans to open a store on Regent Street in London (UK) in 2018, known for the presence of a series of luxury fashion brands. As such, Gentle Monster is constantly striving to expand its global business.
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In 2013 and 2014, Korean actress Jun Ji-hyun wore Gentle Monster sunglasses in the movie My Love From the Star, and this greatly expanded the brand’s exposure to mainstream audiences. In February 2016, the company’s first US store opened on Grand Street in SoHo, New York City. Its second US store opened in downtown Los Angeles in October 2017. French luxury goods group LVMH invested $60 million for a 7% stake in the company in September. 2017. Tilda Swinton collaborated with Gentle Monster in February 2017 to design three sunglasses and appear in a promotional video campaign. The brand performed at New York Fashion Week.
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In 2016, the brand collaborated with Danish designer Henrik Vibskov, Hood by Air, and Grand Opening. In 2017, the brand collaborated with Dutch furniture designer Marcel Wanders, founder of Moooi. In 2018, the brand collaborated on an exhibition called Burning Planet with Korean rapper, Winner’s Song Mino. In 2019, the brand partnered with Chinese technology company Huawei and released smart glasses. In 2020, the brand teamed up with BLACKPINK’s Jennie Kim to release the J Bentley Home collection. It was a great success. Later that year, the brand teamed up with Chinese-Canadian singer and rapper Kris Wu to launch the Gentle Wu collection. The brand’s celebrity clients include Jennie Kim, Beyonce, Rihanna, Gigi Hadid, Susan Sarandon, Tilda Swinton and Billie Eilish. And don’t forget to update the latest news from Storepc.
Articles for further reference: Gentle Monster – Korean Wave