I’m fortunate that my career affords me the opportunity to review exciting new eyewear. I’m passionate about glasses, both optical and sun, so I’m amassing quite a collection. So as you might imagine, I take rather a lot of sunglasses on holiday; some old favourites, some new season. Here are some new styles, all from young independent brands that I photographed when I was on holiday in Crete. These brands would have ordinarily launched and/or exhibited at optical trade fairs throughout the year. Of course, this year was different. The Pandemic stopped everything in its tracks. Sadly, none of us were blessed with the 20-20 vision of foresight and most of us didn’t have a Plan B. So this is my way of giving support a few fledgeling businesses in my industry.
When I was at 100% Optical in January, I met François van den Abeele, the founder and CEO of “seastainable” brand, Sea2See.
The company makes elegant, high-quality frames in Italy from repurposed ocean plastics. The designs are lightweight yet robust with streamlined contemporary styling. Sea2see’s established a plastic collection process in Europe and West Africa four years ago. The process provides a traceable system for the collection of waste. Alongside that is a social enterprise initiative, so those who collaborate on the project get a source of income for the plastic they collect.
I’m wearing Carmen, an elegant acetate cat-eye in havana pink gradient with brown gradient lenses. It’s a stylish, timeless silhouette and the high quality is clear to see and to feel.
Caron Kraitt has over 20 years’ experience in optical design and a background in optical dispensing. She understands balance, proportion and fit, so her designs are as wearable as they are beautiful. Caron has designed eyewear collections for every sector of the optical market, from mainstream brands to limited-edition couture collections.
She launched her eponymous brand, Caron Eyewear at the beginning of July. Caron’s collection is inspired by modern women who celebrate femininity and beauty alongside strength and independence. My kind of women.
I’m wearing rose gold mirrored sunglasses, a cat-eye called Catwalk. It’s a very lightweight and comfortable piece of eyewear. The rose gold is soft and mellow so it’s very flattering.
GOTD, (Glasses of The Day), is a new British eyewear brand established by Shivani Sharma. Shivani is an optometrist, who, along with her husband, saw an opportunity for a small online business that she could manage alongside her work in practice. GOTD is a collection of 12 frames available with either ophthalmic or sunglass lenses.
I’m wearing Petra, a unisex style handmade from natural wood and slate, but it’s surprisingly lightweight. It’s unusual and as a result, it’s a conversation piece. The branding is impressive and the spectacle cases can be personalised at no extra cost.
Glasses chains have never been famed for their style. Moreover, they’re seen as a negative sign of age. I’ve lost count of how many people apologise for using one, self-deprecatingly stating that they look or feel like “an old granny.” Well not anymore. Nancy Gries and Julie Hawkins who have years of experience in the eyewear industry have turned them into a super stylish and utterly fabulous accessory with their York-based brand, Coti Vision.
I’m wearing Abbracci in blue stone, (handmade from acetate in Italy). It makes a confident style statement and is very practical. I absolutely love it.
Thank you to all four brands for gifting these lovely products. My opinions are 100% honest and content is my own.