The “post-industrial” influence has long held court on music and fashion, from the early development of Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails, to the perverse and rebellious looks sent down the runway by British designer, Gareth Pugh. It was only a matter of time, then, that the influence made its way to eyewear.
Launched this past May, the Portuguese-founded and Berlin-based VAVA Eyewear is taking the post-industrial look to the masses, with two distinct collections of glasses that ride the line between light and dark, soft and loud, mainstream and underground.
Handmade in Italy, the frames are produced in small quantities, preserving standards of quality and allowing for more freedom in design. The “White Label” is clean and pure, minimalist in styling with a futuristic and forward-thinking outlook. The shapes are big and bold, challenging the perception of what a pair of glasses should look like. Yet there is a quiet, romantic quality to them as well.
The “Black Label,” meantime, is dark and gritty, inspired by cities like Detroit – once symbols of innovation and prosperity which subsequently fell into collapse and decay. The look is utilitarian yet slightly unsettling. Techno music is also a guiding influence, with its feelings of revolution and movement reflected in the shiny hardware and finishes. We imagine these glasses worn by artists and rebels, seeking to reclaim their lost cities or promote a new cause.
Whereas clothing designers continue to push the boundaries of normalcy and wearability, we haven’t seen a lot of adventurous design when it comes to glasses. VAVA Eyewear hopes to change that, offering a new vision – pun intended – for cool frames, and empowering both the glasses and the wearer to make a statement.
notes: Sina chose these “Caracalla” frames from RES/REI because they’re really funky and – in his words – he has “the matching funky hair to pull them off.”
Sina is wearing these glasses in a “Honey” color, which compliments the smooth curves and refined silhouette of the acetate frames. Handmade in Italy, all RES/REI frames pay careful attention to substance and form: traditional shapes are slightly modified and injected with modern finishes, while branding is purposely kept obscure. Attention is also given to the impact of manufacturing. The company sources all its materials, suppliers and labor locally, in order to cut down on transportation costs and to reduce its carbon footprint.
While summer may be the perfect time to pick out a new pair of shades, we’d like to advocate for also picking out the right pair of lenses this year. With the risks of UV exposure growing each year (studies say 1 in 5 cases of cataracts are caused by harsh UV light), it’s important to consider your sunglasses not only as a statement accessory, but also as protection for your eyes.
According to the latest reports, over 90% of harsh UV may pass through clouds. Under full sunlight, UV intensity is up to 20 times higher. And, researchers say UV exposure is increased even more by surrounding reflective surfaces, like water, sand and even grass. The takeaway from this: invest in properly-tinted lenses that offer anti-reflective properties and a strong UV protection. To help you get a head start, we’ve highlighted three of our favourite frames for the season, and offering a few reminders on how to shield your eyes in style from that UV light.
1. Chloe – CL2233 C03
These oversized shades from Chloe are as elegant as they are sassy, with a rich burgundy colour tempered by raised polka dots that surround the Chloe logo on the temples. The lacquered acetate gives off a sultry, sophisticated look, while the exaggerated curves add a touch of fun and whimsy. Finish the look off with Xperio polarized lenses – designed to eliminate glare thanks to a specific polarizing filter that acts like a Venetian blind, absorbing the blinding polarized light, while letting through the useful vertical light.
2. Matsuda Eyewear – 2080H
We love the slim profile of these frames from Matsuda Eyewear, handmade from Japanese acetate and metal. The matte grey tortoise colour feels modern and unique, while vintage influences are found in the engraved temples and flat nose bridge. Grey polarized lenses are a refreshing change from brown or black. Use a Crizal anti-reflective coating that eliminates glare while enhancing visual sharpness and clarity. Xperio polarized sun lenses with Crizal Sun UV, meantime, offer UV protection of E-SPF 50+. That means your eyes are more than 50 times better protected than without any lens. (E-SPF values vary from a maximum of 25 for clear lenses, to 50+ for polarized sun lenses. The higher the E-SPF, the better the UV protection).
Steven Alan is celebrating two decades in business by releasing his most popular frame, the “Monroe,” in a limited-edition of 300 pieces. Each frame is engraved in gold with its number in the set. Three colours are being released, including this “Blue Sky” shade, which brings to mind sunny afternoons at the beach or lounging by the pool. Stainless steel rivets update the original frames’ diamond details, while gold-plated five-barrel hinges enhance durability and longevity. While most lenses protect against sun rays coming from the front, up to 50% of UV exposure comes from sunlight being reflected on the back of your lenses. Consider switching out the lenses for the Xperio polarized sun lenses with Crizal Sun UV, which protects your eyes from UV reflected from the backside of the lens, while also offering anti-scratch and smudge-repellant properties.
Whether your style is sporty or sophisticated, a new pair of summer sunglasses is always a fun way to refresh your look. Our advice: don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone when selecting a new pair of frames. But when it comes to choosing your lenses, don’t forget that comfort – and protection – are key.
notes: Toronto-based artist, musician and designer Curtis Santiago (a.k.a. Talwst) knows it’s never that fun to follow the field. So he’s been living his life and working on his projects in the most creative, sincere way he can. Case in point: these vintage Cazal frames that we photographed him in at The Power Plant’s annual “Power Ball” fundraiser. Made in Germany and first released in the late 80s/early 1990s, this “Cazal 648″ model is one of the brand’s most memorable frames, with its flat-top bar slicing across the rounded rims. The style is at once avant-garde and deceptively simple. The top bar is aligned perfectly with the temples, and it’s finished with a traditional keyhole bridge, while the “Havana” color and touch of gold add some retro flair.
Talwst tells us he’s always looking to make unique and memorable statements, whether in his lyrics, paintings or with his eyewear. Paired with a suit, this look is perfectly in line with his personality: a little classic, a little eccentric, and always on point.
eyewear: Tom Ford
notes: Klarisse is amping up her look this summer with these “Nastasya” cat eye sunglasses from Tom Ford. The look is futuristic yet retro, with metal detailing across the top that flares out into dramatic, winged temples. The silver frame and mirrored lenses add a luxurious sheen. Made in Italy, these shades aren’t for the faint of heart. Case in point: they’re worn by the supervillain “Viper” in the 2013 film, The Wolverine.