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  • Nacky crafting a pair at his studio in Kobe, Japan      
  • A style specially made for the Philippines  
  • Another exclusive pair for Makati customers  
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  • Nacky's made-to-order wood arms celebrate their 10th anniversary

09/16/14 Eyewear artisan Nacky

Since he was 17, Naoki Nakagawa (aka “Nacky”) had his eyes set on eyewear. It’s all he’s known. Frustrated with the glasses available in Japan, he took things into his own hands and spent eight years learning the craft and commerce of spectacles. With 5,000 pairs of glasses made under his bespoke eyewear label Nackymade, you would trust your peepers with this guy. Or trust that he’ll offer you a quality handmade pair both out of sight and out of the box.

Despite 20 years in the specs business, Nacky manages to keep his fresh perspective on design. His frames can be schizophrenic, where a camouflage print dips into shades of maroon or electric shock blue. There are arms fashioned into crocodile or rhino heads. And in the trunk shows this traveling artisan holds from Hong Kong to London, new pairs are always unveiled.

Holding consultations at UNIVERS on his 4th trunk show in Manila recently, Nacky spoke to NOUS about some special frames he made just for Filipinos, what he likes to see in his downtime, and how he found his all-time muse in Yoko Ono.

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Great to see you back in Manila, Nacky! Have you brought us some new styles? 

Yes. Like…this is exclusive (grabs pair): bamboo finish. Also, this dinosaur (shows dinosaur-tipped arms). This cat’s eye style for women customers. Many things. I made these after the last trunk show. My wife wore the cat’s eye style and the customer saw them and liked them, so that’s why.

How long does it take you to make a pair of glasses?

It depends on what I make but usually about more than one day.

What’s the most challenging part of the process?

One of the most difficult things is to make the right size for each customer. Totally different face sizes—some customers have very big face, very small nose. Everything is totally different.

And for consultations, what are some important questions you ask your clients?

What is their purpose of wearing glasses? For business, for pleasure? I usually ask which color they like to wear because skin color is also very important. Each customer has a personal color.

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What style are you obsessed with now?

I like classic styles but I also like something new like camouflage.

Before you started making glasses, what were you doing?

I was always making glasses, for 20 years. Since I was 17. Because I couldn’t find good glasses, I decided to make it by myself. It’s more good to wear. So 1994 or 1995, there are no good-designed glasses. Usually, glasses and sunglasses were still very conservative—not for fashion. Too mature.

You apprenticed in every aspect of making glasses. What was the hardest part to learn?

Because I didn’t have a teacher to making glasses, I did it by myself. Everything was very difficult for me. But most important thing for me in making glasses for customer is that some customers are still conservative in wearing glasses, but other customers are really into correcting glasses. So there are so many different types of reasons to wear glasses. It is for me difficult to find what the purpose of each customer to wearing glasses.

Are there any new materials or technologies you’re excited about in eyewear?

This kind of style—fabric sandwiched between plastic.

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Because it’s so easy to get laser surgery these days, why do you think people still like wearing glasses?

Many people still think sunglasses and glasses is a part of fashion. It describes their personality.

After the Philippines, where are you headed?

Hong Kong and New York. Here in Manila, I also make glasses for women but in Hong Kong, the places I go to are men’s shops.

When you aren’t making glasses, what do you like to do at home?

When I stay in Kobe, I always focus on making glasses in factory so no time to enjoy (laughs). But I like going to the mountains to enjoy riding motorcycles. There are so many good nature in Kobe. I think I would recommend that to foreigners.

Does anybody famous inspire your glasses?

Yoko Ono, who is John Lennon’s wife. I made her glasses about four years ago. It affected me. She completely followed my suggestions so that was surprising (laughs).