WILD ABOUT NATURAL MATERIALS

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Proof Eyewear: Butte from the Environmental
Conscious Optics Collection
Daniel James, Bamboo Premier
Zeal Optics, Isabelle

For reasons of ecology, beauty or panache, increasing numbers of frame manufacturers are on the hunt for natural sources such as wood, bark, stone and buffalo horn. Some have established themselves in this subcategory and continue to make advancements, pushing the design envelope ever further for that unique patient.

IF A TREE FALLS
The most common natural material, wood, has been the cornerstone for several companies and ranges from affordable to luxury. WooDone has built its reputation on wood frames with screwless spring hinges, and for 2017 the Italian manufacturer has added rosewood and elm frames. Part of its new Nature collection, a rustic-looking bark variety features one-of-a-kind frames, according to Judith Mueller, general sales manager.

Shwood upgraded its Francis Rx and Canby sunglass with a five-step process that better protects the wood. The Canby also comes with a veneered slate finish. “These frames have adjustable acetate temple tips for comfort,” said company spokesperson Ryan Kirkpatrick. Shwood took its enthusiasm for unique, natural-material frames even further in 2016 by introducing newcomers finished with pine cones, moss or seashells.

The latest offering from Daniel James Eyewear, the Bamboo Premier, is available with spring green or ice blue polarized plano or Rx lenses. The blonde material is hand sanded five times, encased in a water-repellant coating and joined at the temple with a metal bridge. “All our frames have spring hinges that automatically adapt to the width of your head,” said Dan Stickney, president.

TOOT YOUR OWN
Renowned for its genuine buffalo horn, Morgenthal Frederics has launched two sets of limited sunglasses with only 15 frames apiece. The Gert and Carmen models come in navy and white or charcoal with crimson. A one-time 30th anniversary frame, the Lifesaver, uses 12 layers of horn with 24-karat gold leaf lamination-one version has white horn with yellow gold leaf intermixed and the other uses black horn with white gold leaf.

Austria-based ROLF Spectacles Corp. enters the horn market with Monoceros, made from one solid piece of buffalo horn and a screwless wooden hinge plus a patented glazing, according to Christian Wolf, marketing manager.

At Aoker Eyewear, buffalo horn in a variety of colors is often combined with metal in the newest collection, said Davis Liu, manager. The company touts lightness, strength and healing properties in its handcrafted frames. These frames “stimulate the acupoints around humans’ ears,” Liu said.

SET IN STONE
Budri makes marble floors, and as of fall 2016 the Italian specialist began producing eyewear, some usable for Rx lenses. The frames come in five shapes with precious stones such as amazonite, according to Alessandra Malagoli, creative director. Each frame is from a single slab with a special fiber assembly, resin coating, torx screws and antibacterial and oleophobic coatings.

Eco-friendly Proof Eyewear has added a wood-and-slate frame, the hip, lightweight Sticks & Stones, which layers maple and oak woods, cross-grain, with slate. “No two pairs are alike because of the materials,” noted Tanner Dame, CEO. Proof also recently introduced cotton-based acetate frames called ECO (Environmental Conscious Optics); they’re hypoallergenic and adjustable via heat yet biodegradable.

At WooDone, a new wood-stone combo has a lower price point as compared to the company’s all-wood collections. The Stone frame has a thin layer of gray slate over eight pressed layers of ash wood. “This way young people can have all-natural stone frames without it being so expensive,” said Mueller.

SHRINK THE CARBON FOOTPRINT
Lightweight and durable, acetate frames bridge the lifestyle/active gap, but that manufacturing process results in a lot of waste. Enter bio-based nylon. All of Costa’s sunwear as well as its new Ocean Ridge ophthalmic subcollection are made with bio-based nylon resin, created in part from castor oil. The lightweight material remains strong in extreme weather. “Unlike petroleum plastics, bio-resin doesn’t take 500 years to break down,” said Terri Ossi Hannah, senior marketing manager.

Zeal Optics’ sunwear and lenses are made from its own Z-Resin, derived from castor beans. The newest frames are the matte black Capitol with copper lenses and the smoky gray Isabelle, a rounded cat eye.

If you haven’t already ventured into this category, try stocking au natural frames to simultaneously lessen the carbon footprint while helping your patients make statements, eco or otherwise.

Rona Gindin writes about eyecare, business, hospitality and lifestyle issues from Orlando, FL.

 

WHERE TO FIND IT: Aoker Eyewear AokerEyewear.comSales@AokerEyewear.com // Budri Budri.com/en/Design/Collections/EyewearInfo@Budri.com // Costa 800.447.3700 • CostaDelMar.comSales@CostaDelMar.com // Daniel James Eyewear 508-292-2283 • DanielJamesEyewear.comInfo@DanielJamesEyewear.com // Monoceros U.S. 646.685.8409 • Monoceros.ccNYC@Monoceros.cc // Morgenthal Frederics 212.404.5708 • morgenthalfrederics.com // Proof Eyewear 208.918.2049 • IWantProof.comCustomerService@IWantProof.com // Shwood 503.893.4277 • ShwoodShop.com/US // WooDone +39 0472 613 612 • WooDone.it/en // Zeal Optics 888.454.9325 • ZealOptics.com

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