Eyes on sustainability
Words Alessandra Albarello
We have shifted from egocentrism to ecocentrism. More and more brands are fully committing to the cause of environmental sustainability. It is an urgent change of course that no longer allows for superficial attitudes...
For some time now, our daily choices have been significantly influenced by the urgent necessity to change our habits, shifting attention from the immediate satisfaction of our needs and pleasures to the impact that every single gesture could have on the ecosystem. From food to clothing, we feel (and are) increasingly aware that the changes taking place in terms of the climate and environment now depend solely on us. As such, many eyewear companies are making serious efforts to make their production responsible and sustainable by adopting various strategies. However, while once it was just a marketing operation to try to win over a niche clientele, now the widespread understanding of the need to safeguard our planet's now fragile balance has led to more radical and profound choices. One example are those of Mykita (in the opening photo), the Berlin-based company that, first of all, completely revolutionised its production process in 2022, deciding to make its glasses in Eastman Acetate Renew, a cellulose diacetate composed of 60% bio-based and 40% certified recycled content coming in part from eyewear production scraps. This material is made through Eastman’s innovative carbon renewal technology, reducing greenhouse gases. It is virtuous process that supports a circular economy, a topic also covered in a short film recently shot by Mykita x Eastman Acetate Renew. The company's extraordinary commitment is also reflected in other initiatives, such as Mycare, a service for customers available in all Mykita stores around the world, which is dedicated to caring for and repairing the brand's frames, to thereby extend their lives, avoiding unnecessary waste.
In the blink of an eye, we have gone from egocentrism to ecocentrism, which focuses on concepts such as sustainability and circularity, ethical principles that are also essential for the brand 23° Eyewear, which grew out of a collaboration between Mirage and the Russo studio. In the models of the Icon collection, 23° Eyewear has introduced the new Stratosphair, a polarised technical lens with internal anti-reflective treatment, specially designed by Barberini for performance in the mountains, at high altitude. For those who want to stay in the city, Emporio Armani Eyewear offers its unmistakable urban style, but with the added value of sustainability. Its prescription frames and sunglasses are made of bio-acetate and come with recycled polyester packaging (about 50% of the content is recycled). Each model also bears the inscription "Armani Sustainability Values".
The temple tips of the Earthkeepers models of Timberland Eyewear specify the percentage of bio-based material with which they are made (minimum 35%), in line with the eco-sustainable strategy also adopted by the brand for its clothing, before everyone else started. The keyword that best translates companies' current responsible attitude is "Change". We can find it in the short film by Mykita and, preceded by the adjective "sustainable", it has been even incorporated into the Emporio Armani logo. The change being heralded is real and certainly not easy, and it does not allow for superficial attitudes. Not any more. It is no coincidence that new words have recently been coined to better define the ecological discomfort we are currently experiencing, such as eco-grief.
23° Eyewear, model P1809
Eco Eyewear, model Caraway with clip-on
Emporio Armani Eyewear, model EA4186
Sea2see, model Giorgio with clip-on
Timberland Eyewear, model TB9305 Earthkeepers
Stella McCartney, “Falabella Pins” collection, model SC50029I
Someone who has always had a respectful and consistent approach to the environment is the designer Stella McCartney. Being a vegetarian, like her mother Linda and father Paul, she has always avoided using leather or fur for her clothing and accessories line, experimenting with new natural, sustainable and cruelty-free materials. This philosophy naturally also reflects on their glasses, which are mainly made of bio-acetate, and indeed the collection has received the Environmental Claim Validation (ECV) certification from UL (Underwriters Laboratories). Then there are those, like Sea2see, whose creations are 100% made from plastic recovered from the seas, collected in Africa by the Sea2see Foundation, a non-profit organisation created by the brand's founder, François van den Abeele. Every year, about 300 tonnes of plastic waste are processed into UPSEA PLAST to make Sea2see glasses and watches. The latest models presented are equipped with polarised clip-on sunglasses, which are of course "seastainable", attached on the frames by means of four magnets to ensure maximum hold. Often, therefore, the commitment of companies in the sector fully embraces the cause of sustainability and recycling, to the point of becoming a real ethical mission dedicated to the surrounding environment.
One stand-out example: the award-winning Eco Eyewear range is made solely of bio-based material (made from castor seed oil), recycled metal, recycled plastic recovered from the oceans or bio-acetate (phthalate-free and biodegradable). The company's focus also extends to PET and recycled paper packaging, while the protective bags are made from 100% biodegradable corn starch and their displays use recycled paper or 100% FSC-certified bamboo. Eco Eyewear's vision goes even further, however, by actively supporting associations such as Waste Free Oceans to recover marine waste and the NGO Trees for the Future, with which it not only fights deforestation, pledging to plant a tree for every pair of glasses sold (and there have already been over 3 million…), but also helps provide continuous training for sustainable agriculture in Africa. On the other hand, did not the chemist Lavoisier say back in the 1700s that "Nothing is created, nothing is destroyed, everything is transformed"?
The purity in color
The purity of white is imposed in fashion by transferring to glasses the charm and determination of an absolute colour, without compromise. Starting with a real legend.
Sharp cuts move more and more clothes and glasses, creating new perspectives and entering the material to interrupt the shapes. Or to put them back together.