Ethical Fashion

Sustainable Sunglasses for the Conscious Hipster: Hemp Eyewear

Georgia Foley
Written by Georgia Foley

Hemp Eyewear has become well known for their stylishly sustainable, one-of-a-kind glasses, made of flax fibers and – you guessed it – hemp!

The brand first began its journey in 2014 when founder Sam Whitten carried out the business in his parent’s garage. A Kickstarter campaign was created which ended in success, leading the business to be the originator of the first hemp sunglasses. Hemp Eyewear raised over £37,000, or 150% of their funding goal in this first crowdfunding campaign.

Sustainable Sunglasses- Hemp Eyewear

Images supplied.

“Our goal,” says Hemp Eyewear founder Sam Whitten, “is to create innovative forward thinking eyewear, with high performance characteristics, at the same time doing everything we can to reduce the impact of plastic pollution and fossil fuel use. We want to ease the burden of plastics on the environment, and to be an example of positive change within the industry. It’s all about sustainability, that concept goes into every step, and every detail in our production process.”

Related Post: 11 Eco-Friendly Sunglasses for the Sustainably-Minded Fashionista

Earlier this year, another Kickstarter campaign was launched, this time to raise the funds for new machinery to allow them to carry out 100% in-house manufacture. On April 1 they were again successful, hitting their crowdfunding goal of £11,000 by raising £13,088, evidence there is market demand for eco sunglasses.

Hemp Eyewear Eco Sunglasses

But why use hemp fiber?

Hemp Eyewear have made hemp their material of choice as it is one of the most renewable, environmentally-friendly and diversified resources on the planet. Hemp is versatile and can be used in a number of ways. The material can be made into many things such as rope, textiles, healthcare products and bio fuel without the use of fossil fuels.

In addition, it doesn’t require the use of synthetic pesticides to grow the plant unlike cotton. Cotton itself is responsible for 50 percent of the worlds pesticide use, where hemp doesn’t require any. It’s up for debate whether the fashion industry is the second or third most polluting industry on the planet, but we know it’s one of the largest. Using an eco-friendly material like hemp can fight this horrifying statistic.

Plus using hemp is innovative; no other eyewear company produces eco-friendly stylish glasses in hemp… that we know of!

So what makes Hemp Eyewear special?

Besides being the first to launch hemp sunglasses and eyewear, the product itself is exceptional. The glasses are handmade from organic plant fiber. By utilizing plant fiber in Hemp Eyewear’s products, each item is unique as the fibers form a different pattern, creating one of a kind accessories.

Hemp Eyewear Production

Hemp Eyewear Handcrafted Production Process

The brand also offers personalised engraving where you can engrave into the frame your name or choice of text up to 20 characters. The frames for their glasses are made using natural and sustainable materials, which make them stronger but also lighter than carbon fiber. Their glasses coming in at less than half the weight of regular glasses.

Quality is as important as sustainability. In every frame are Carl Zeiss lenses offering 100% UV protection. The lenses, like the frames, are lightweight, and scratch resistant, and offer amazing visual quality. Hemp Eyewear offers not only sunglasses but optical glasses as well, where your subscription can be sent in and fitted into the hemp frames.

Hemp Eyewear Hemp Sunglasses

Hemp Eyewear Hemp Sunglasses Hemp Opticals

Since 2014, the brand has been working tirelessly to perfect their manufacturing process, and this process is made up of more than 100 steps! Hemp Eyewear uses leading edge sustainable technology and combines it with long-established artisanal techniques, making solid material from plant fiber – an eco-friendly alternative to using unsustainable plastics. The whole process begins in an old biscuit factory in Edinburgh, Scotland, now converted into a creative hub for designers, photographers and makers.

The brand applies sustainability thinking to every aspect of its production. Everything is made from hemp, even the packaging! When you purchase a pair of glasses from Hemp Eyewear, they arrive with a handmade hemp canvas box, hemp fabric pouch, handmade hemp paper comp slip and a recycled hemp keyring made form left over materials.

Hemp Eyewear Production in Edinburgh, Scotland

Hemp Eyewear Scotland

In addition, the brand has partnered with The Ocean Cleanup, an organization that is currently working on developing a system to extract plastic from the ocean using tidal currents, and will donate 5% of profits, after the Kickstarter fee, to The Ocean Cleanup project in support of their cause.

For more information or to purchase a pair of Hemp Eyewear glasses, visit www.hempeyewear.com

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About the author

Georgia Foley

Georgia Foley

Georgia is a student, with many aspirations and goals, hoping to one day make her mark in the world. She is a lover of second hand shopping, making her own clothes and spending time at markets. When she's not concentrating on her studies, Georgia can almost always be found at the beach or unwinding with an inspiring book and some good music.

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