By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
They’re one of the most essential accessories for summer, but sunglasses do more than make you look cool (and hide tired eyes!)–they also protect your peepers, and in the case of those selected here, the planet, too.
Sunglasses need not be made of cheap plastic polymers–there are plenty of planet-friendly materials out there, too. Here, Eluxe has selected 5 brilliant eco sunglasses brands for the summer of 2014. Why not take a “look”?
The cleverly named FEB 31st highlights the fact that the beauty of these sunglasses is as rare as an impossible day of the year. Made out of coloured wood in Italy, the glasses are the creations of designer Valerio Cometti, who ensures all the wood he uses follows Forest Stewardship Council Certification. Elegance, poise and some whimsical colours are all the elements you can find in FEB31st eyewear.
ECO is more than short for ‘ecological’ here. In fact, it stands for ‘Earth Conscious Optics’ in this case. But of course, these glasses are also ‘eco’ friendly, as they are made with 95% Recycled Materials and boast an Environmental Claims Validation™ (ECV) from UL Environment (ULE). Italian CEO Alessandro Lanaro has lived in the heart of the Dolomites of Northern Italy, so he knows the importance of protecting the eyes from UV rays. Thus, in 2008 ECO came to life combining the concept of eyewear made from recycled content with powerful initiatives such as planting a tree for every product sold, and finding an easy way to allow customers to donate their unwanted frames to those in need. So far more than 791,202 trees have been planted and they’re still counting!
DRIFT creates funky sustainable glasses by hand, utilising reclaimed driftwood from the Louisiana bayou. The fashion-forward company is based in Chicago, and is on the forefront of optical care and eco-friendliness, too. DRIFT claims that every one of its designs tells a story: from the sourcing of sustainable hardwoods, the engineering of a new process, or a partnership with a meaningful nonprofit, this brand makes every effort to create designs that prove that glasses can be more than just functional accessories.
This Boulder, Colorado based business is a bit different from our other eco-friendly sunglass brands because it offers the latest trends in sports and fashion frames, as well as sports goggles. This eyewear label is extremely focused (pun intended!) on having a minimal impact on the environment in a creative way. They use plant-based materials in 100% of their frames: instead of using crude oil, Zeal converts castor beans into an eco-clean resin to make the materials for their full line. But this doesn’t jeopardise the high-class design of the the sunglasses, which have that sporty-sleek allure characterised by the E-llume Optimum clarity in a plant-based lens, which are the world’s first lens using a plant-based bonding agent, replacing petroleum-based materials.
The concept for SOLO Eyewear was developed in a classroom at San Diego State University when Jenny Amaraneni (now CEO of Solo Eyewear) was enrolled in their MBA Program. While completing an International Entrepreneurship course, she was given the option to read Paul Polak’s ‘Out of Poverty,’ which unveiled to her that according to the World Health Organisation, approximately 1 billion people have no access to eye care, and what’s more, nearly 80% of the world’s blindness is preventable. This was her call to design her own eyewear with the highest quality of eco-friendly materials and the pledge that every pair of sunglass that is sold will fund eye care for people in need. So far SOLO Eyewear has restored vision to 9,094 people around the world, and counting.
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