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HomemifashionMaking of a Mako Man

Making of a Mako Man

Mako Mondottica is responsible for the design and manufacture of high quality polarised sunnies for men. We spoke to Daniel Burgess, a member of the Mako design team and the company’s brand manager, about what makes Mako – and what makes a Mako man.

Mako sunglasses are named after the infamous Mako shark, a well-known game fish and apex predator with large dark eyes.

The brand, which started in Australia 20 years ago, is manufactured by Mondottica and exported internationally. Impressively, Mako maintains its place alongside the world’s biggest manufacturers of polarised sunnies by focusing on carefully considered product evolution and using the highest quality components across the range.

Mondottica Australia has many eyewear brands under its wing across both optical and sun, including JAG, David Lawrence and Ted Baker, to name just a few. As the company’s first 100 per cent polarised brand, Mako has enjoyed a significant investment in time and research. Now, with the recent relaunch of the Mako brand, we’re about to see some exciting new initiatives that will expand Mako’s range and market.

…one thing that won’t change is the ‘face’ of Mako. Andrew ‘ET’ Ettingshausen has held a long association with the brand

However, one thing that won’t change is the ‘face’ of Mako. Andrew ‘ET’ Ettingshausen has held a long association with the brand. A classic Australian role model, his sports profile and love of the Australian outdoors fits Mako perfectly.

Q. Tell us about Mako’s relaunch… what’s new, changed or improved?

For Mako sun we’re concentrating predominantly on finding the highest quality polarised lenses available on the market.

Our new range will incorporate some really exciting new lenses. We have new lightweight photochromics, an incredibly strong yet flexible material to make some exciting new rimless designs and we will be expanding the new high definition (HD) glass lens range that has been very popular. We have also started using some new frame manufacturing techniques, which really increase the quality and robust nature of the frame. Our new TR-90 frame has a hinge design that can be virtually stretched out flat without breaking the hinges, it’s quite unbelievable. In fact, you need to see it to believe it!

In the Mako men’s optical range, which is fairly new, we are going to start experimenting with some really cool functional materials that we are currently sourcing. We will also be working on an Rx program so that we can supply single vision and progressive scripts in our own specialised lenses in all our popular frames.

Q. What makes Mako unique?

First and foremost, it would have to be our polarised lens quality. We are always testing and developing polarised lenses from all over the world placing importance on longevity, clarity and efficiency. Mako has always produced sunglasses that will last many years, in fact, we regularly hear from consumers who have owned the same pairs of sunglasses for more than five years.

I won’t go into too much detail about our lenses as some things are best left a secret! Our new glass HD lens that we launched last year has had an amazing response. There is only one way to explain the difference and that is clarity. Take a pair outside against any competitor and the difference is nothing short of amazing. This year we have some more new lens materials so it will be another exciting time ahead.

Q. How would you describe your typical customer?

Mako has typically designed and manufactured sunglasses for men who want polarised lenses. However, with the increasing popularity of polarised lenses and the increase in consumer product knowledge, we find more and more men, as well as women, are now looking for glass polarised lenses. That said, our customer base remains very male oriented and we are finding the new Mako optical range, which is currently only men’s frames, is working very well.

Q. How did you come to work with Mako?

I graduated from university in marine science and spent five years working in fishing media, on magazines and producing fishing DVD’s. I then worked for the Australian recreational fishing market before taking over the reins of the Mako brand for Mondottica.

Q. Who designs Mako eyewear?

At Mondottica Australia we are lucky enough to have fantastic designers who are responsible for some great fashion brands. We also work with designers internationally from Japan and Hong Kong. First, we decide on the functional attributes needed from a particular style and then we get additional input to make sure each style looks the part too. It can be a long process, as the concepts go through several designers’ hands, but the end result is well worth it.

Q: Where do you seek inspiration for your designs?

Inspiration for design comes from spending many hours in the ocean and outdoors with a swag of frame designs and, more importantly, different polarised lenses from around the world. It’s amazing how well different lenses perform under different conditions. We aim to have the best polarised lens for any situation.

Q: How do you maintain the iconic ‘Mako’ style?

It’s hard not to get too caught up in the latest trends but we find we have to make sure we spread our new ranges across a few key areas. One being the iconic Mako style – lightweight and comfortable glass polarised lenses. It’s difficult to design a pair of sunglasses that give good coverage, with frames that support glass lenses and are light and comfy, but we are constantly testing our products and refining them. Designs for our optical range need to maintain a couple of these key elements too.

Q: What does Mako have planned for the future in terms of design?

Currently we are looking at designs to potentially fill some gaps in our range and overall expand our consumer base. Some of our designs are specifically geared towards the marine market, like a new floating model. For other markets we will be introducing some super lightweight three-piece designs that use new lens materials. We will also take inspiration from Mondottica’s younger designers to create some more street/surf style entry level Mako sunnies.