Eyewear companies launching eco-friendly, sustainable styles

By David Goldberg


In the world of eyewear, consumers increasingly want more sustainable options and transparency in the manufacturing process.

More and more, when people buy a pair of glasses, they want to know what it’s made from and if those materials were ethically sourced.

That’s why in 2022, many of the new spring collections feature some sort of eco-friendly option or a commitment from designers to make more sustainable spectacles and sunnies.

Optical Prism spoke with industry leaders about their green-thinking initiatives for the year ahead.

Under Safilo Group, Fossil launched a four-piece collection of sustainable eyewear styles this spring – the first under its Pro-Planet banner of eco-friendly products, all made from 100 per cent recycled nylon.

“Designed for consumers looking for environmentally friendly products, brands and companies that use recycled materials as well as sustainable resources and waste-efficient materials, the Pro-Planet collection includes one optical frame and one sunglass each for men and women offered in a total of 16 eye-catching shades,” says Robin Brush, training and education manager, Safilo North America.

The men’s FOS 2116/S soft rectangular-shaped sunglasses are offered with solid coloured lenses in brown or green, while the FOS 2115/G/S women’s soft cat-eye sunglasses come with gradient lenses in shades of purple or ochre. All four easy-to-wear styles are offered in fashionable colourations, such as crystal beige, crystal vintage honey, light brown, crystal Havana and khaki teal Havana.

In keeping with the sustainable approach that was incorporated with the Eco-Nylon in the Serengeti Sport last season, this season Serengeti mainline introduces Eco-Friendly Acetate into the collection.

Eco-friendly Acetate offers the same physical and mechanical properties of the standard acetate; lightness, fit customization, comfort and is available in an incredible variety of colours and patterns to keep creating remarkable and elegant sunglasses.

The stunning new collection in the Eco-Friendly Acetate includes models like the Hayworth, Nicholson and Bacall that will be on shelves now.

OGI Eyewear has also made a commitment to construct some frames that are free of traditional plasticizers, while using more cotton or wood in the composition.

“From this collection for kids, we offer Bruh for boys. This is a modern update to a classic preppy look in a clean thin profile for smaller faces. The German OBE Spring Hinge provides an extra measure of comfort and durability,” says OGI Eyewear’s chief creative officer David Duralde.

Bruh comes in fun colour combinations, including navy tortoise, matte tortoise and wheat.

Also in this collection from OGI Eyewear, for the girls, you’ll find Shimmer 13.

“The subtle hint of butterfly angles on this sleek rectangle speaks volumes for the modern expression of luxury and style,” says Duralde. “The Austrian crystals set in a quadra linear pattern gives the corners a glint of texture and radiance.”

This frame comes in one of spring’s hottest colours—emerald—as well as dusty grey-blue.

Meanwhile, Alternative and Plan “B” Eyewear is the exclusive Canadian distributor for iGreen Custom collections.

That includes Thema Optical, an Italian manufacturer of high-end and custom-made eyewear, that has recently introduced new raw materials that are partially bio-based, making use of renewable natural resources.

“For every ton of Advanced Bio-Circular material used, the equivalent of one car is taken off the

road for a year and two farming families enjoy a profitable and sustainable lifestyle,” explains Giulia Valmassoi, CEO of Therma North America.

From this collection, see the IGV-4.90 in Red/Brown Tortoise or Pink Crystal.

And Canada’s own WestGroupe has taken up many green initiatives to lessen its environmental footprint.

“All items now use recyclable and eco-friendly outer packaging, such as kraft envelopes for our cleaning cloths and new eco-friendly polybags or hemp bags for giveaway items,” explains WestGroupe’s vice-president of product development and creative director Beverly Sultineau.

Beginning this year, WestGroupe’s most popular collections, including Fysh, Kliik and Evatik, feature biodegradable or sustainable lenses.

“The OTP collection was the first WestGroupe collection to offer frames made from

biodegradable acetate and a case made using recycled material. The upcoming

collection will feature a new case made using cork, a fully sustainable and

renewable natural resource,” says Sultineau.

You’ll find even more plant-based bio acetate materials and economically viable stainless steel in the new eco-friendly Ann Taylor collection out this spring.

“For the modern minimalist, we have the ATP821, which is always in style with a special focus on design, materials and colour, this petite frame checks every box,” explains Centennial Optical’s director of product development Linda Mulford-Hum.

“The gorgeous teacup shape features a chic matte scalloped texture on the frame front and scalloped-shaped temple tips, and delicate metal end caps placed at the hinge break provide a fresh and modern twist.”

This frame is available in three colourways, including Tortoise/Light Gold, Crystal Wisteria/Rose Gold and Mulberry/Light Gold.

One of the eyewear industry’s most sustainable brands, Sea2See has earned the prestigious B Corp Certification. To attain this, a company must meet strict standards of social and environmental performance about everything from how production affects the environment, workers and the communities they live in.

“We are proud to say that we are a certified B Corp, which for us means being part of a movement that isn’t competing to be the best in the world, it is competing to be the best for the world. This certification represents a tremendous step for us as we mark our fifth anniversary and reflect on our progress to date,” says Sea2See founder François van den Abeele. 

Some of Sea2See’s latest eco-friendly offerings include the Barracuda in a black or white frame with lenses colour options in polarized black or red revo.