With so many options to choose from, it’s easy to protect your peepers in sustainable style.
When searching for a pair of new frames there is a lot to think about; style and design being at the top of the list. Durability, flexibility and cost are all factored in too and, of course, functionality. Depending on whether you are buying sunnies or prescription frames for everyday, there is a lot to consider.
Frames are traditionally made from metal or plastic, while lenses are typically made from acrylic plastics. Eco-friendly eyewear designers are opting to use more sustainable materials to create the frames such as bamboo, recycled timber, recycled skateboard decks, plant-based resins, castor-oil seeds and even citric acid.
Don’t let your old frames become landfill. Recycle them through Lions Recycle 4 Sight Australia. In the last 15 years, the program has delivered 2.5 million pairs of regraded spectacles to people in need all over the world.
Even high-fashion brands are launching eco-friendly lines of eyewear, including Gucci, Juicy Couture and Stella McCartney.
Stella McCartney’s sustainable eyewear collection is made from over 50% natural and renewable resources. www.stellamccartney.com
Queensland-based Fritz Frames uses off cuts from local veneer factories. The quirky frames are finished with a hardened, protective clear coat that is then meticulously hand-sanded. The result is an ultra smooth frame that is built to last. www.fritzframes.com
Australian designed and made, Sticks and Sparrow’s uses sustainable bamboo, adding a splash of colour to the mix. Jess Ainscough and I wore the 2 pairs pictured above during our Kind Fashion Week shoot. www.sticksandsparrows.com.au Below we chat with Director, Bec Bennett.
What inspired you to create this eco-friendly range of eyewear?
I always try to keep abreast of design innovations in the eyewear industry and love working with new materials. It excited me to be able to produce a range of sustainable bamboo frames that both minimised wastage and achieved an incredible result. It is also very satisfying to be able to work with a self-generating resource that looks beautiful in its natural state and just as lovely with a splash of colour.
Why did you choose to work with bamboo?
Bamboo is the fastest growing grass on earth. After harvesting, bamboo does not require replanting, instead its extensive root system continually sends up new shoots, naturally replenishing itself and making it one of the most renewable resources on earth. It can grow up to 1 metre per day in tropical climates and holds the promise of a sustainable, ecologically responsible alternative to widespread clear cutting of hardwood trees. Not only that, bamboo is super light in weight but as strong as steel which lends itself perfectly to eyewear frame construction.
What do we need to look out for when choosing a pair of sunglasses that will last?
It is important to find frames with optical quality hinges and also to ensure that the lenses provide 100% UV protection and comply with Australian Standards AS/NZS 1067. Also, look after your lenses by cleaning them regularly with a microfibre cloth and keep your frames in a protective case.
Where can we find Sticks & Sparrow?
The Sticks and Sparrow bamboo eyewear collection is landing in selected fashion boutiques and lifestyle stores this October. For a list of stockists go to www.sticksandsparrow.com.au
This article first appeared in Nature & Health magazine.