Our Collective Memory: Less Than Human

If you have been keeping close eyes on the eyewear industry for more than 15 years, there is a name you mustn’t forget – “Less Than Human”, a Japanese eyewear brand with very eccentric design style and image. Apparently, the name “less than human” can’t be related to anything positive. However, from the outrageous mind of the brand designer, it’s a perfect name to describe the brand which is not created to design standard and normal eyewear but somewhat disordered design with peculiar concept.

Imai Yasuhiro (今井康裕), a very significant eyewear designer, was the soul of the brand and he was even viewed as the BAD BOY in the realm of eyewear. However, it is a pity that he died young. I still remember that we were so shocked by how he looked and the way he spoke when we first met at our magazine interview in 2003. He appeared to be unconcerned about his appearance, looking a bit wan and sallow. However, he was honest enough to share with us something which other people might not dare to talk about. He told us that he spent eight years completing the four-year university course, and he went to drug party and red-light district in order to find inspiration. Well…he really did make great sacrifice for art!

Different from other Japanese brands which focus on craftsmanship and classic design, Less Than Human is all about wildness and excitement. His style of ignoring the trend, not following any goal and rules broadened a lot the creative level of the brand. The eye-catchy and impressive eyewear design attracted great attention from loads of fashionistas at that time. The brand adheres to one philosophy: design for style, not for usual look. In addition, most of the brand’s frames are named by dark numbers to play with yellow jokes, such as 2828 implying big boobs, 6969 implying strong sex ability of men. Let’s go through some of the most iconic styles and image of the brand.

Interchangeable leather temples inspired by condom.