October 4th, 2014 – While a snazzy pair of designer shades will protect your eyes from the sun, they won’t save the world.
But a pair of Scottish design graduates are doing their bit to save the environment by producing the world’s first range of hemp sunglasses.
With frames made from natural hemp plant fibre and and polarised lenses created from bio material, there’s no denying product designer Sam Whitten’s eco-friendly shades boast plenty of style and substance.
As Sam explained, the hemp frames are formed through a compression moulding process and then coated in an eco-friendly resin.
The result is a strong, lightweight and waterproof pair of sustainable sunglasses that are already proving a hit with the UK’s fashion elite.
With graphic designer Brad Smith on hand to help market Hemp Eyeware, the 23-year-old entrepreneurs recently launched a crowd funding campaign on Kickstarter to raise a minimum £25,000 needed to mass produce their invention.
After raising the money required to start production in under six weeks, the pair have now set their sights on bringing Hemp eyewear to the world market.
So why hemp?
Sam discovered hemp during his final year of study into renewable materials and their uses at Glasgow Caledonian University, where he also met his business partner.
He said: “I was amazed at how one plant could provide the material for thousands of different applications such as paper, clothes, building materials, bio-fuel for cars and healthcare products.
“The best thing is it’s sustainable.”
Sam believes hemp can and should be used more often to create everyday products in place of less sustainable materials such as plastic.
“I think its important to promote not just sustainable fashion but sustainable everything,” added the product designer, who is originally from Peebles.
“Designing hemp sunglasses is a great way to promote sustainable design as it’s a product everyone can relate to.
“There’s an element of cool surrounding them which encourages the idea that sustainability can be cool too.”
We can totally see Johnny Depp rocking a pair of these can’t you?
Sam showcased his sustainable shades at the New Designers exhibition during London Fashion Week earlier this year.
A couple of months later, the Hemp Eyewear website was inundated with thousands of pre-order emails. This inspired the pair to turn the concept into a reality by exploring the possibilities of mass production.
When Sam started making the sunglasses in his university workshop it was a time consuming process.
Luckily, he’s enlisted the help of a manufacturer in England to upscale the manufacture of Hemp sunglasses so they can go from producing two pairs in two days to thousands every month.
If you fancy snapping up a pair of Hemp sunglasses, production is scheduled to begin early next year.
Sam’s long term goal for Hemp Eyewear is to develop the product line by creating more styles of sunglasses as well a 100% Hemp clothing line. In the future, this could extend to furniture and maybe even architecture.