Oakley today will launch the Kokoro Collection, a sporty eyewear line made in collaboration with Japanese artist Meguru Yamaguchi.
The collection is comprised of 11 performance and lifestyle eyewear styles including the Sutro, Frogskins, Flight Jacket and Jawbreaker, to name a few, all crafted with Oakley’s Prizm Lens Technology and bearing Yamaguchi’s signature art style. Prices range from $150 to $250.
Yamaguchi, who has collaborated with the likes of Nike, Uniqlo and Billionaire Boys Club in the past, was drawn to Oakley for its “passion,” said the Brooklyn-based artist in a phone interview through a translator. He added he believes Oakley possesses a serious devotion to high-quality performance for athletes.
“This is a collaboration that is one-of-a-kind,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting Oakley to translate my signature brushstroke on such a small product and I see the product as a piece of art to take with you.”
Yamaguchi intentionally selected the bright pink and blue color palette for the sunglasses so the pair could be inclusive of all nationalities. “If I choose red and white, that represents Japan,” he said, adding that he landed on the bright pink color for the pair to be visible from a distance.
He also chose the red and white color because the collection was initially intended to coincide with the opening ceremony of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. But the coronavirus caused the postponement of the Games until next summer.
In fact, the coronavirus partly inspired the name of the collection, Kokoro. The word means “heart; mind; spirit” and Yamaguchi chose the name to unite all athletes and people all over the world.
“In the beginning of lockdown, it was tough to create because I could not get to my studio as I used public transportation to travel,” he said. “I spent some great quality time with my family but was soon itching to get back to work. I rented a new studio nearby and in this new space, I am able to reset my mind-set to create and focus on staying as positive as I can in the midst of this pandemic.
“During this pandemic, it was a good part to uplift the community to stay positive and keep everyone connected,” he said about the collection. “From my experience visiting headquarters, I was touched by everyone’s passion and the beauty of humanity, too.”
Oakley is donating $200,000 to support the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization.