On good days, slipping on a pair of my fave shades gives me the allure of an old Hollywood starlet, and on not-so-great ones, they can cover a multitude of sins, from late nights in front of the computer to one too many summery margaritas al fresco.
Conventional sunglasses are made from nonrenewable and pretty earth-unfriendly materials, like plastics and steel or aluminum. Wanting to avoid purchasing products that harm the only planet we've got, I went to some of my eco fashion expert friends, and they filled me in on the coolest eco sunglasses on the market. All of the styles below are totally au courant, and most are suitable for men or women (click through links below to see other styles).
Modo's Eco line of sunglasses are all made from recycled materials, including plastic and stainless steel, depending on the style. At $129.00 each, they are price-competitive and come in seven styles. Awesomely, the styles are pretty varied, so you can find one that's flattering to your face shape, which is practically the most important part of sunglasses, right? (Oh yeah, blocking the sun's harmful rays so they don't burn your retinas or contribute to eye disease later in life is important too).
Dragon Alliance's E.C.O. line of sunglasses are inspired by pro-surfer Rob Machado and have the oversize styling that characterizes the laid-back beach lifestyle. According to Dragon Alliance's site, "E.C.O. is an initiative by Dragon inspired by Rob to actively investigate methods of manufacturing environmentally friendly sunglasses.The result is the first EVER sunglass with material made from 100% renewable origin. Includes FSC certified packaging and comes with 100% organic cotton bags, printed with water-based ink." The lenses offer 100% UV protection and retail for $100.
Kayu's sunglasses are made from bamboo, a fast-growing plant that requires no pesticides and is a more eco friendly alternative to hardwoods. In addition to green materials, Kayu donates $20 from the sale of each pair of glasses to a fund for sight-restoring surgery in a third-world country. Four styles available, at $180 each.
Oakley's Bob Burnquist sunnies are made from plastics recycled from making their other sunglasses lines, and are part of the Gascan collection. Accented with bamboo detail and arriving in a bamboo bag, the glasses are obviously influenced by action-sportsy styling, apropos since a portion of the proceeds benefit the Action Sports Coalition, a cause near and dear to professional skateboarder Bob Burnquist's heart.
I've spotted iWoods on eco fashionistas who show up at green events in New York City, and they exude green cred (and sexiness) from 20 paces. Handcrafted in America, each is made from recycled exotic hardwoods, and they have Zeiss lenses that block 100% of UVA/UVB rays. Surprisingly, they are fairly lightweight, so they won't end up sliding down your nose in the heat (how uncool). Features in major fashion mags, these shades are the Tesla of the eco sunglasses world.
Amy Sacks makes smart and sassy eco reading glasses, and most of her styles are available with shaded lenses as well. The bamboo frames are a classy and more mature take on sunglasses, and are all designed for long-time use (even greener!) and come with a lifetime guarantee.
Pulp Labs' shades come in 80's retro-style (shown above) that all the hip kids are rocking this summer. Made from fast-growing and renewable teawood, they are available in black or woody color, so you can choose the version that best suits your coloring.