Eyewear is probably more sustainable than you'd think. It's not that difficult to pick up vintage frames (most decent antique stores will stock a selection, and at big fairs and markets like the one on Portobello Road in West London, there are often stalls that will sell nothing but) and retrofit them with your own prescription. Or, if you're a hipster and you just like to look clever, plain glass.
If you absolutely must have new, then your best option comes out of Eagle, Idaho, from a company by the name of Proof Eyewear. The brainchild of three brothers that come from a wood-working background (their Grandpa Bud ran a sawmill), Proof make all their shades by hand from a wide range of recycled and sustainable materials. Plant-based acetates in bright colours are teamed with woods like bamboo, with some veneers coming from recycled skateboards. Even the metal fittings are pre-loved. Every pair of sunglasses that comes out of the workshop has its own story to tell.
On top of that, the Proof boys donate a fat chunk of their profits to an Indian non-profit that's providing sight-saving cataract surgery to the poor and needy. These guys are doing the right thing in every way.
The shades have a sunny Californian vibe and a classic hint of Americana, backed up with craftsmanship, passion and compassion. If you're in the market for a new pair of shades this summer (and lord knows, we're due some sunny weather) then why not bypass the Wayfarers, and try out something with a little bit of ethical cool?
Proof Eyewear retails for $90-115. For the full range, check out their website.