The story of Matsuda
by Mathias Stering on Sep 07, 2022
In a world that revolves around quick decisions and results, MATSUDA has anchored itself in the tradition of Japanese craftsmanship and thoughtful execution. They work consistently following a process that begins with the best imaginable material choices and ends with works of art in the form of arches that last and can be admired for a lifetime.
MATSUDA's factories are located in the city of Sabae, which is located in Fukui, Japan. This area is world-leading in eyewear production due to the technical know-how of the local craftsmen, experience passed down from generation to generation. Their bows are a true example of Japanese craftsmanship where handwork is mixed with innovative technology. In total, over 250 separate steps are required to produce each bow.
Founder Mitsuhiro Matsuda was born in 1934 in Tokyo, and as a young man was one of Japan's leading fashion designers. Moving to Paris with his best friend Kenzo Takada to find inspiration, he quickly fell in love with Art Deco, specifically the industrial metalwork of the late 1800s and the details of Gothic cathedrals. These influences are what most clearly inspired Mitsuhiro, both for his clothing collections but perhaps even more clearly in the detailed engravings on the bows, bridges and temples which are still MATSUDA's great characteristics today.
MATSUDA released its first eyewear collection in 1989, which quickly became a worldwide success. The big international breakthrough came in connection with Linda Hamilton's character Sarah O'Conner wearing their frame 2809H in the world hit Terminator 2. Those frames have been reproduced in a limited edition and are sought after collectors' items by connoisseurs of glasses.
What is significant about a pair of MATSUDA frames is primarily the frames' exclusive materials, such as Japanese titanium and solid 18k gold, the quality of the local craftsmanship, as well as the innovative design with the distinctive engraving details. Only two Masters of Engraving remain in Sabae, and one of them works exclusively with MATSUDA's production.