Eight ethical eyewear brands worth watching
Ethical fashion is rapidly becoming a common choice for many fashion consumers who chose to make informed decisions about what they wear. But that is extending beyond apparel and footwear in to the accessories space, including eyewear, and recently a raft of new brands have sprung up to cater for the new conscious consumer.
Presented here are eight of our favourite, new generation ethical eyewear brands – with a focus on a range of issues from ethical and sustainable production to support of social causes – that are worth tracking.
Pala Eyewear is an ethical eyewear brand that puts people and the planet before profit. This brand not only creates stylish sunglasses but also aims eradicate poverty through funding grants to eye care projects in Africa. Pala also focuses on incorporating ethical and sustainable techniques in its production process.
For Pala, eyewear is not just a fashion accessory but is an invaluable economic tool that helps empower its wearer. Pala’s “Buy One, Give One” model helps people in disadvantaged African communities with eyewear that can enable reading, learning and better access to education, which ultimately paves the way towards a more prosperous future.
The grants that Pala gives are very much vision-focused and include building new vision centres and supporting outreach programmes — all sustainable, long-term solutions that facilitate eye care, eye-tests and the provision of spectacles. Through funding these projects Pala calculates a "cost per patient helped", so for every pair of sunglasses sold, a pair of spectacles is given to a person in need.
Monc is a sustainable British sunglasses & optical brand that produces in small batches, using highly trained craftspeople. The brand is committed to lowering consumption through carefully sourcing and researching every element that goes into its frames, enabling complete transparency and traceability.
Monc recently introduced its new Conscious Collection using sustainable materials and responsible product design, with plans to expand CC production across the entire range by the end of 2020. Typically, eyewear frames are cut from a sheet material acetate with a staggering 80% of this plastic sheet going to waste or incinerated by brands and factories around the world. Monc's new Conscious Collection re-evaluates this waste and uses only sustainable materials across the entire product experience (from bio-acetate, biodegradable frames to packaging made from recycled cups).
Frames in the new collection are inspired by neighbourhoods across the globe. All designs are produced in family-run factory in Italy, where the brand hand crafts frames. Global culture from Príncipe Real in Lisbon to Monti in Rome, is injected throughout the design and craftsmanship of each area each exceptional eyewear piece.
MØY ATELIER is a British independent luxury brand specialising in eyewear. Moy Atelier takes an avant garde approach to eyewear and is recognised for its super sleek yet ethical frames. Since it launched in September 2017 in conjunction with Harvey Nichols, the brand has developed a niche customer base and made a name for itself in the industry. It this been named as number one independent eyewear brand to watch by British Vogue and has been worn by the likes of Kate Moss, Lena Dunham and Jourdan Dunn.
Translated from Norse, MØY means a young woman, someone who is open to new ideas yet knows nothing of societal boundaries. The brand combines unique designs with highest quality, sourcing materials from France and Italy, before sending them to Japan, where each frame is handmade by artisans to feature anti-reflective and UV-protective lenses available in a range of hues.
w.r.yuma combines current technology with craftsmanship to create stylish 3D printed recycled eyewear. All eyewear is designed and created in-house on demand to reduce wasting factory space. The brand believes in the circular economy through producing sustainable sunglasses from waste and then recycling them till the end of their life cycle. This eyewear brand launched in September after a successful kickstarter campaign. It is the very first company in the world to create 3D print sunglasses from recycled plastics, using materials made from car dashboards, fridges and plastic bottles.
Bambooka is a sustainably made eyewear brand that uses its profits to sustain people and the planet. This super cool sustainable eyewear brand creates sunglasses made from bamboo which are incredibly stylish and available in shades of natural colours. Each pair of sustainable sunglasses sold gives an eye test and vision correction in five African countries. The brand also helps the charity "PEPE", which supports communities to identify and recognise their strengths by teaching basic life skills.
Social enterprise brand, Waterhaul, based in Cornwall is intercepting plastic from oceans and transforming it into high-quality, functional products, including classic unisex styled frames. "Intercepted from oceans, redesigned for adventures," the eyewear brand’s sustainable sunglasses range is produced from 100% recycled fishing nets with recyclable mineral glass lenses. The minimal aesthetic incorporated in the Kynance frames make these sunnies an ideal choice, for everyday wear and abroad.
All frames include a "Recycle and Replace" lifetime guarantee. Any damaged frame components are re-immersed into their recycling loop.
This brand sources stand-out vintage frames and restores them to their former glory. All frames are not just sustainable but help plant a tree to help offset the carbon footprint. All glass cleaning cloths are made from 100% PET recycled plastic bottles.
UK based eyewear label Tens creates warm and orange tone sunglasses scientifically proven to put you in a better mood. All pieces are designed in Scotland and each pair is handcrafted to ensure high levels of craftsmanship. All frames are made from plant-based Italian acetate, all originating from the renewable resources of wood pulp & natural cotton fibres. Tens claims that the impact on the environment is dramatically lower than regular plastic sunglasses. This brand offers the perfect retro frame, available in stylish gold tones.