BARKING UP THE RIGHT TREE: WOOD FRAMES

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Proof’s Skateboard Collection is assembled from maple skateboard decks, including the Bud Skate Rasta style.

The world of wood frames goes far beyond sustainability.

In recent years, wood frames have garnered quite a bit of attention for their often eco-friendly disposition. It’s true: the benefits of wood frames tend to include the added value of wearers feeling good about their purchase from an environmental standpoint, and this is absolutely a plus for eyecare professionals (ECPs). However, the sustainable angle is just one facet of what makes wood frames interesting and noteworthy. Here are some companies on the wood-frame scene whose designs and techniques stand out from the crowd.

Shwood’s Stone Collection, including Cancy (shown here in black slate), incorporates both slate and walnut.

COLOR YOUR WORLD
With a focus on color, FEB31st goes for iconic shapes and offers a distinct difference between its ophthalmics and its suns (aside from the obvious!): The ophthalmic styles all feature colors on the inside of the frames, while its suns pop with color on the outside. FEB31st’s frames are all made with FSC-certified wood, they’re lightweight, and all have reinforced nosepieces. Women’s, men’s, and unisex styles are available, and the company offers a customization option on all models: a name, signature, or logo can be laser engraved inside the frames.

“FEB31st is the first brand to create eyewear ‘together with’ wood, not ‘despite’ wood,” explains designer Valerio Cometti. “It’s a subtle but fundamental difference: FEB31st frames are great quality frames whose design, ergonomics, and comfort are not in the slightest affected by the material from which they are made.”

WooDone’s hinges are invisible from the outside; Irenes, in cherry, is shown here (at left), Terra Mata, in nut, is shown here (at right).

THE UPSIDE OF UPCYCLING
Hand-selected based on the uniqueness of grain, all veneers from iwood ecodesign are repurposed from luxury jet aircraft cabin installations. Aside from supporting the tenets of sustainability, this practice allows for a higher level of affordability for high-end, exotic woods, according to the company.

“I grew up in a small town in Ohio that had a Frank Lloyd Wright house and a park designed by Frederick Law Olmsted,” says Stephen McMenamin, designer, iwood ecodesign. “My sunwear always combines architecture and nature. As a small child I was fascinated that every tree had its own design, and I wanted to create eyewear that someone could feel was made just for them.”

The process involves microlamination: with extreme heat and 4,000 lbs. of pressure, 11 thin layers of veneer are pressed together, forming a strong, but very lightweight panel. Designers shape the frame fronts with classic woodworking techniques, and sanding is done by hand. A VOC-free finish is applied to every frame, and the eyewear features stainless steel spring-loaded temples from Italy.

All veneers from iwood ecodesign are repurposed from luxury jet aircraft cabin installations including Style No. 3B3W Waterfall Bubinga.

MODERN TWIST ON CLASSICS
Present-day interpretations of tried-and-true styles have put Proof Eyewear on the map, along with a charitable mission to make a difference. The company donates a percentage of its profits to non-profit organizations including ones that provide sight-giving surgeries to those in need around the world.

Each collection has a story. The Proof Wood Collection, which includes the wayfarer-inspired Ontario Lacewood, features all sustainably sourced wood that is polished and coated with a water/sweat-protective layer. The Tribe is part of Proof’s Environmentally Conscious Optics (ECO) Collection, which boasts 100% renewable, biodegradable, and hypoallergenic frames that combine plant-based acetates with fine wood.

The styles in Proof’s Skateboard Collection are all handcrafted and assembled from five-ply Canadian maple skateboard decks, allowing for a truly sustainable line. “Wood sunglasses feel different on your face, more than anything you’ve ever felt,” stresses Lance Williams, creative director, Proof Eyewear. “It’s refreshing.”

Drift’s yachting-inspired 12Meter is made with salvaged teak, including Atticus, shown here in mint.

TIMELESS TEXTURE
Offering wearers a most unexpected combination, Shwood’s Stone Collection presents frames with walnut interiors and slate exteriors. “The most important factors, for us, when it comes to aesthetics are texture and color variance,” says Eric Singer, founder and designer, Shwood. “Something Shwood always aims for is the ability for its glasses to spark the curiosity of anyone who encounters them.”

The Stone Collection includes the company’s signature styles Canby and Belmont. “Shwood is known for classic designs made out of not-so-classic materials, including the trademark wood frames, and our new line made with a thin veneer of slate,” he adds.

FEB31st features iconic shapes and vibrant colors, such as Alcyone, shown here.

LIGHT ON ITS FEET
Weighing in at just 13g, WooDone’s frames are handmade in Italy’s South Tyrol region from wood that is uninterrupted by the hinge. The company toiled with a local supplier to develop a water-resistant, hypoallergenic finish that, interestingly, has gone on to be used on EU-certified and wooden toys.

Development began in 2009, the company was established in 2011, and in 2012, WooDone was up and running with functional, sellable designs. Made from a single piece of plywood, WooDone eyewear features a hinge that is invisible from the outside.

NOTABLE HINGES
Metal and plastic play no part in the eyewear from Herrlicht, which offers handmade, 100% wood frames. With wood-only hinges, this eyewear is made from maple, cherry, plum, and fumed oak. And Herrlicht’s process for inserting lenses is one that is both interest-ing and unconventional: The rim is opened with a star-shaped connector that works like a dovetail (in furniture), and then closes securely once the lenses are in place. The German company first introduced its eyewear in 2004, and refrains from using any exotic or rainforest wood in its frames.

Herrlicht’s designs have wood-only hinges, and are made from maple, cherry, plum, and fumed oak (Style No. HL23 shown here).

NAUTICAL INSPIRATIONS
Drawing from the yacht racing culture of the ‘70s, Drift Eyewear’s 12Meter collection features the company’s Caulfield and Atticus styles. Each 12Meter frame features salvaged teak from a retired military vessel and nostalgic colorways. “This is our first offering that begins to explore a more colorful side of the brand,” says Chris Mantz, founder and designer, Drift Eyewear. “We played off our nautical theme with classic solids. The mint and navy tones complement the teak wood and make for a beautiful summer combination.”

Eyewear made with wood offers a break from the norm, and the range of styles and combinations of materials may surprise your patients!

Rachel Bozek is a freelance writer who includes the optical field as one of her areas of expertise.

WHERE TO FIND IT:

Drift Eyewear
800-528-1901 • drifteyewear.com

FEB31st
877-649-9775 • feb31st.it

Herrlicht
011-49-0-361-211-12-16 • herrlicht.de

iwood ecodesign
502-468-5411 • iwoodecodesign.com

Proof Eyewear
619-663-4483 • iwantproof.com

Shwood
503-893-4277 • shwoodshop.com

WooDone
011-39-0-472-613-612 • woodone.it

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