Challenge the rules

Antonella Reina


Creative and irreverent, but also disciplined and aware of the turmoil in which we live, the eyewear brands are challenging the sector’s most established principles in an innovative and at times anarchic way.

What does disruption mean? “It implies a ‘rupture’ and indicates sudden changes that lead to new ways of acting, thinking or interpreting our surroundings that are different to those of the past,” notes journalist giovanna prima, in an article for the Sole 24ore. She continues, explaining that “nowadays, the term is often used in connection with innovation and the world of digital technology.” We like using the term to describe the interesting ‘disruptive’ attitude of an emerging group of brands that are ‘stirring up’ the calm waters of eyewear, making it more dynamic and interesting, with product proposals and communication strategies that are revolutionary, to say the least. Clean Waves eyewear, born from and for the sea, is not merely a brand but a multidisciplinary platform that promotes eco-innovation in fashion and industrial design. Their aim is to create a truly global movement that can redefine the rules of luxury and stimulate creative fusion and sustainability.

The project began with parley for the Oceans, a large network of creatives, thinkers, leaders and environmental groups who joined together to raise awareness of the beauty and fragility of the oceans and to collaborate on projects to prevent their destruction. “Clean Waves is a new idea of a luxury brand, a creative fundraising platform where artists, designers, activists and material scientists unleash their skills to drive the material revolution alongside the protection of islands and oceans. Every Clean Waves collection is designed to provoke a future of creativity, collaboration and eco-innovation – with the goal of creating a world where humans live in peace with the ecosystems of nature” explains Cyrill gutsch, founder and CEO of parley for the Oceans, during the launch of the new eyewear collection made from marine plastic debris and recycled fishing nets.

The range includes a main ‘Archetype’ model, available in 14 different versions, and an exclusive capsule collection of sunglasses collaboration with the artist and activist Mathangi ‘Maya’ Arulpragasam – aka M.I.A., “These glasses are a symbol. The best thing about these sunglasses is that they come from the ocean, and the coordinates on them connect you to a place on this planet that you’re helping to clean up from plastic pollution. They’re also designed to be timeless; they’re not just a trendy thing for one season, they’re something meaningful – but if you are done with them, you can send the glasses back to me and we’ll recycle it and make another pair. All pirates need shades because it’s not easy being at sea, and we need to look cool and let it fly” notes the singer.

Maxi sunglasses, Frame 04 collection, TOL

Maxi sunglasses, Frame 04 collection, TOL

Sunglasses designer by M.I.A. for Clean Waves

Sunglasses designer by M.I.A. for Clean Waves

The emerging VOA Collective brings art from a utopian future into the present, through an unconventional aesthetic shaped by various subcultural influences. The creative director does not reveal his name but clearly states the intent behind his work: “VOA is set to make a bold statement in the industry, disrupting with its rules, and the ‘Season 01’ collection is just the beginning.” Made by Japanese artisans as if they were mini wearable artworks, the ‘Season 01’ frames feature a design produced by a skilful and innovative play of discordant geometric shapes, creating a new type of wearable harmony. All the frames in the collection are crafted in pure Japanese titanium and plated with 24-carat gold. Precious materials and creative synergy seem to be the pillars on which this new ‘disruptive’ trend is based, as if to prove that breaking the conventional rules governing the sector allows the creation of other, more iconic rules of greater value.

Another example of this is TOL, the Dutch brand founded by Linda Tol and Marieke Meulendijks, who collaborated with Cathrine Boerter, designer of pearl Octopuss.y, to create an exclusive bridge between eyewear and jewellery. Each model in the ‘frame 04’ collection is paired with a chain made with freshwater pearls, which can also be worn as a necklace. The combined aesthetic creativity of the two brands has led to a redefinition of the standards of contemporary classicism, giving them an audacious modern twist.

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