Schau Schau Brillen

“You are so different” – A Peek Through Schau Schau Eyewear

The eye catchers by Schau Schau eyeware have been drawing my attention for years – either I am enthralled by the amazing show at presentations or I marvel at particularly unique models of glasses.

The black and white WIEN PRODUCTS city map marks the shop in Rotenturmstrasse as the address. This is where I can get information on the eyewear manufacturer in Perchtoldsdorf and so, I am on my way.

The production building is located on Hochstrasse – I admire the glasses that were developed in cooperation with FALCO in the shop window. Peter Kozich welcomes me and shows me around the world of Schau Schau eyewear. When I ask him about Falco, he explains that they used to be close friends and the popular Viennese singer was always just “Hans” to him. Together, they not only designed eyewear models, but went jogging and hung out together. We leaf through a book illustrating the history of Schau Schau eyewear and I discover pictures of several Austrian celebrities – from Peter Alexander to Wolfgang Ambros and Georg Danzer.

“It used to be an exciting and fascinating time back then,” revels Peter Kozich, who carries the title Kommerzialrat. He did not just want to be another optician after he had finished his training… By the end of the 1970s, he hand-crafted pairs of glasses that have become classics now. The, then, still young father took his designs and went to New York, where he found fame. Of course, a bit of luck was also involved – however, many people took notice of the outstanding eyewear. “You’re so different,” was a phrase Kozich kept hearing wherever he went – this spurred him on.

A company that could transform the designs into reality perfectly was found in Hartberg, a sales location was set up in New York — as well as the shop in Rotenturmstrasse – and many famous faces wore Schau Schau eyewear and the company took off from there.

The Vienna facilities where the glasses were made were soon too small and, as a result, the workshop in Perchtoldsdorf was established.

The family company not only produced hand-made spectacles, but also organized exhibitions and even theater productions that became very popular.

However, the glasses that are always a fashion statement, as well being an aid to vision, have been and still are the main focus.

We take a tour through the manufacturing area and each production step is explained and shown in detail. There are dozens of machines that make spectacle frames from Indian buffalo horn and acetate from Italy. Schau Schau uses natural materials, as many people are intolerant to synthetic materials and metal. The color and design range of the acetate, which consists mainly of cotton fibers, is wide and inspiring – this is where everyone is guaranteed to find what he or she is looking for. Those who are into pure organic products will love the buffalo horn.

However, exact dimensions must be taken before the materials undergo a very elaborate and complicated crafting process. Master optician Peter Kozich explains that this stage is very important – each head is different, each face unique – we go into these details in both terms of design and production – after all, the glasses are worn on a permanent basis and should not be in the way, but have a perfect fit and aid vision.

I watch as a piece of acetate becomes a spectacle frame. This is quite exciting – you have to know exactly how to use the cutter so that the materials do not break or crack under the stress. This process is followed by extremely fine manual work – the shape is carved out to the millimeter, the edges are sanded down carefully by hand and polished with a special machine that uses different grades of abrasives.

At the end of the process, the frame has a perfectly smooth surface and exact fit. The making of the hand-made frame takes at least one day – the company puts a great of emphasis on the highest level of quality, something that is appreciated by its customers.

Word about the excellent craftsmanship is spread around  – stars from all over the world come to the Kozich family on a regular basis to have their own, custom-made eyewear designed. The entire family has committed themselves to eyes – Peter Kozich’s wife Edith is responsible for the business administration and their two sons have trained as a master optician and ophthalmologist, respectively.

The company always provides good vision, shows humor and an innovative spirit. Dozens of eye glasses were designed for special occasions, such as the Vienna Opera Ball or Life Ball, for special anniversaries or for taking part in contests – here, the glasses were also able to win several prizes.

“Do you know what – you have to stay curious,” eyewear designer Kozich tells me as he says goodbye. That’s right I think to myself after I left the workshop – my own curiosity for extraordinary eyewear design will certainly lead me back to Schau Schau eyewear in Rotenturmstrasse – the quality is definitely worth the walk there.