By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
As proven by the fact that Armani‘s Canaletto Walnut models have now sold out, it’s pretty clear that wooden sunglasses are definitely a ‘thing’ for the summer of 2015. But buyer beware: just because they’re made of wood doesn’t mean your sunglasses are eco-friendly. In fact, many, such as Armani’s and those made of Rosewood, Zebra wood and other hardwoods by well-known brands like Hatchet Eyewear, Schwood and Then and Now are probably actually doing more harm than good, not only by using endangered woods (and threatening forests) in their designs, but also by shipping lumber across the world to make their accessories.
While the most eco-friendly pair of sunnies would probably be vintage models found in second hand and vintage stores, if you do want to go with the wooden trend, here is our pick of the brands that are most conscious about their ethics, environmental sustainability, and of course, style.
Best known for their ethically made handbags, Kayu has now branched out into the world of sunglasses, crafting theirs from 100% UV gradient lenses framed elegantly in bamboo. Of course, as with most of Kayu’s products, they’re all made by well-paid artisans in South East Asia.
A pioneer in the world of wooden sunglasses, Shwood’s Canby flagship model evokes the classic wayfarer styling through refined aesthetics that laid the groundwork for an entire wooden eyewear revolution.
Proof sunglasses are designed with classic silhouettes and use quality hand-made wood sunglasses out of sustainable woods. As ‘proof’ of its dedication to sustainability, Proof gives back 10% of their profits to non-profit organisations.
Three Twigs has a retro, post-modern style that was born “out of a desire to stagger into the sun and wait, near the water for the wilderness to come and deliver some very wearable timbery treats.” Highly protective brown polarised lenses and bamboo frames are the perfect match.
Capital is handmade in the USA, using vertically integrated manufacturing, domestically sourced cherry hardwood and Optics by Carl Zeiss Vision. The wood is treated to bond natural fibres with a style that finds inspiration in Hollywood legends, such as Gregory Peck, or hip outlaws like Bonnie & Clyde.
6. Noah Eyewear
The name ‘Noah’ definitely evokes wood, and the ark-structure of these sustainable sunglasses welds the finest quality hand-made sustainable wood and bamboo with lenses that are 100% UV protected.
Woodlands brings you the classic design wooden sunglasses, made in Australia from beech, red wood, bamboo, and recycled wood, through the handicraft work of six designers who are constantly experimenting with eco-materials.
Hatchet may have had a bad rap in the introduction to this feature, but its not all bad. Hatchet actually have some eco-friendly designs that don’t include the use of endangered woods, and they’re actually pretty cool. Not that we have favourites or anything, but we’re particularly fond of the bamboo wayfarer. Just sayin’.
Quiksilver UK & Vuerich B. make a ‘totally rad’ team, as proven by their limited-edition wooden sunglasses made from recycled skateboard decks with polarised Carl Zeiss lenses that come in a variety of colours.
10. Palo Wood
Palo Wood is a fresh, new and totally eco-friendly brand in the eyewear world. Created in Barcelona in 2010, Palo Wood has creates up-to-the-minute eyewear styles with a passion for inventive designs using fast-growing wood that is sustainably grown and harvested from supervised plantations.
11. Termite Eyewear
Quirky by name, quirky by nature is the case for this innovative British brand. Half-opened laser-cut frames and coloured lenses define this design-led eyewear, crafted by Natalie Finch and Patricia Williams from reclaimed and recycled wood.
Perhaps one of the most eco friendly wood sunglasses brands around is Panda. Made of 100% sustainable bamboo and encased in a natural bamboo case, these sunglasses come in black, brown and blonde frames – one to match just about any hair colour! With both UV and UVA protection, the lenses will ensure your eyes are shielded from any harmful rays, too.