Sunglasses are definitely an essential Summer item in New Zealand with our bright sun and harmful UV rays. They’re also a great way to change up your look and have some fun with your outfit and there’s no shortage of cool sunglasses out there for you to try. While you can buy sunglasses from lots of different stores (even petrol stations) we’ve picked out some brands that specialise in awesome eyewear and offer something a bit different, whether it’s their sustainable approach – using wood or recycled materials, unique style or they’re simply all kinds of amazing like Lizzo’s collaboration with Quay Australia. These cool sunglasses are perfect for our hot summer.
Karen Walker Eyewear
Karen Walker launched the brand’s first collection of quirky-cool eyewear back in 2004 and since then Karen Walker Eyewear has grown a huge following that includes celebrities and fashion fans around the globe. Each collection offers high fashion shapes and lenses with everything from delicate gold filigree to oversized neon styles featuring in collections over the years. While the brand also offers more subtle sunglasses, it’s the oversized styles like these new Karen Walker Centurion Black Powder Pink Sunglasses $359 that are often most popular and recognised. If you’re looking to up the fashion stakes of your summer outfits, Karen Walker’s cool eyewear is always a good idea.
Arise Collective X WWF Sunglasses from SmartBuyGlasses
Reduce, Reuse, Upcycle! Would you wear a pair of sunnies that are high fashion, sustainable and helping to conserve marine wildlife? WWF has joined forces with eyewear brand Arise Collective to create upcycled sunglasses- ReefCycle. They upcycled old fishing nets from the Great Barrier Reef and cut, melted and moulded them into sustainable sunglasses exclusively available at SmartBuyGlasses NZ from $165.
While they may not be a well-known brand in New Zealand, MOSCOT is a New York based eyewear brand that has 105 years of history, launched in 1915. Leading local retailer Parker & Co recently added MOSCOT to their stable of premium eyewear brands and while they’re not available online you can check them out in store on Nuffield Street in Newmarket. MOSCOT is renowned worldwide for its iconic eyewear that infuses its unmistakably refined, downtown aesthetic with unparalleled craftsmanship to create its timeless styles that last. All MOSCOT’s eyewear is handmade, using the highest quality materials, real hardware, and hinges that are riveted to ensure the sturdiest construction possible.
Sydney based brand PARED EYEWEAR was created by co-founders and husband and wife duo, Edward Baker and Samantha Stevenson in 2011 and have become known for their fashion forward eyewear. The brand aspires to push boundaries of conventional design while focusing on wearability and staying true to eyewear fundamentals such as smooth shapes, lasting comfort and high-quality materials. Their vintage inspired Diamonds and Pearls style $287.50 (AUD) pictured above is one of the brand’s most popular pairs. They’ve established a global cult following with the likes of Beyoncé, Gigi Hadid, Selena Gomez and Helena Christensen all fans of the brand.
Australian sunglasses brand Szade is changing the game when it comes to sustainability offering sunglasses made from recycled sunglasses that were created after a year long journey of research, development, design and innovation. The Szade team’s revolutionary recycling process is unlike any other in the world for sunglasses and effectively forms a closed loop cycle as each pair is not only created using broken, discarded and obsolete sunglasses that were destined for landfill, but are also recyclable. In doing this, what has been created is more than a product; it’s a culmination of advanced recycling technology and visionary design with a goal to break the cycle of waste and excess in the fashion industry, and throughout this process reduce material waste to almost zero. The end product is of the highest quality, on par with premium eyewear brands with very detail carefully thought out and each pair of sunglasses is hand assembled and finished. Szade’s modern designs like these Dollin sunglasses $79.99 (AUD) are designed to be for everyone and are available online as well as at selected surf stores and sunglasses retailers in New Zealand.
Quay x Lizzo
Quay Australia and Lizzo debuted their first stunning collection of eyewear in May this year and the vibrant collaboration was so popular they recently released a second drop with new styles. The collection features Quay’s bestselling shapes turned up with glammed-out details like hot pink lenses and literal star studs reflecting Lizzo’s killer style, like the Starry Eyed Aviators featured on the queen herself above. With accessible prices from $65 (AUD) and serious swagger, this range is perfect for festival season and those all-out party looks.
While variations of plastic have dominated the sunglasses market for ages, sustainable options like wood have become more popular as we look to reduce our plastic consumption. New Zealand brand Vilo offer stylish wooden sunglasses like the Angelou Wooden Sunglasses from Vilo $129 pictured above that are classic in shape while being light and durable. Each each pair of wooden sunglasses is totally unique and a one off piece of craftsmanship that offers the same sun protection as it’s plastic counterparts. Vilo also offer a recycling programme where you send in your old plastic sunglasses to be recycled and get a discount to buy a new pair from Vilo’s range.
It’s fair to say that most of us have probably worn a pair of Le Specs at some point as the iconic Australian eyewear brand has been making stylish sunglasses since 1979. While they offer a huge range of styles for men, women and children, it’s their high profile collaborations with the likes of Adam Selman and House of Holland in recent years that has put Le Specs back on the radar for fashionable eyewear. In particular we love Le Specs modern take on vintage styles like the classic cat eye shape. The brand’s eyewear is also accessibly priced and widely stocked throughout New Zealand so you can get yours hands on gorgeous styles like the Le Specs Air Heart Sunglasses in Caramel $69 (AUD) at a retailer near you or online.