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Maintaining a sustainable wardrobe often starts with favouring pre-loved clothes and eco-conscious brands over fast fashion. Though there can be a stigma around doing so, retail consultant Mary Portas points out that supporting sustainable fashion will help lower the industry’s carbon footprint. 

“It needs to come from people doing it and making it sexy constantly,” she explained. “It makes those dinosaurs that are just pumping out sh*t look like they’re not the cool brands to be with.”

Portas believes this will take significant marketing, but this challenge is definitely achievable. One need only look at how sunglasses are being marketed today. Optometry Today notes that as far back as 2022, the eyewear industry has been pioneering an increasing demand for sustainable sunglasses that won’t stop anytime soon.

So, if you want to make your wardrobe more eco-friendly, accessorising with sustainable shades is a great place to begin. You’ll have a plethora of options to choose from now that multiple designer brands offer eco-friendly sunglasses. Here are a few to get you started. 


Credit: @rayban 

Ray-Ban is undoubtedly an industry leader when it comes to sunglasses. That’s because it never stops innovating. In 2023 alone, it came out with the Ray-Ban Reverse, which boasts concave rather than traditional convex lenses, and the Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses that act as a camera, social media tool, and AI assistant, all rolled into one. It’s, therefore, no surprise that you can also find sustainable Ray-Ban sunglasses.

Its bio-based collection includes extremely fashionable bestsellers like the Wayfarer, Corrigan, and Kiliane—but their frames and lenses are made of either bio-acetate, -nylon, or -rubber, premium materials that are either biodegradable or made from renewable sources like castor oil and corn. 


Credit: @woodzeeinc 

If you prefer wearing classic sunglasses styles but want to add them to your wardrobe with an eco-friendly twist, Woodzee is the brand to try. As its name suggests, it’s best known for creating frames from 100% recycled wood, including bamboo. One of its strokes of sustainable genius has definitely been its Recycled Skateboard Sunglasses series.

By upcycling skateboard material, it prevents pollutants used to strengthen the boards, such as artificial glass and carbon, from re-entering the environment after disposal. Woodzee’s recycling programme even encourages wearers to do the same with its sunglasses: you can get 50% off your next frames if you recycle your old ones.


Credit: @ioptique on Instagram

This luxury fashion house is no stranger to sustainable fashion. Way back in 2004, Gucci became one of the first major fashion brands to voluntarily get certified for Corporate Social Responsibility. In 2010, it began using 100% recyclable packaging. Since then, it’s released sustainable products, held carbon-neutral fashion shows, and is even making attempts at a circular economy through its experimental Gucci Continuum programme.

These sustainability initiatives extend to its especially fashionable sunglasses collections. It was among the first prominent brands to release bio-acetate sunglasses when it partnered with Silo in 2011. Today, you can find revamped versions of these eco-friendly shades through models like the Havana, which offers added style with oversized square frames.

Pala Eyewear 

Credit: @palaeyewear 

Recently acquired by another sustainable brand, Coral Eyewear, Pala sunglasses are both eco-friendly and produced ethically. Its current offerings use bio-acetate frames—a material limitation set to expand with access to other recycled and bio-based materials from Coral Eyewear. With limited, Italy-based production runs, Pala also manages to keep its carbon emissions to a minimum while creating sunglasses with a definite designer feel.

From here, the brand uses sustainable packaging and simultaneously provides jobs: its recycled plastic sunglasses cases are woven by Ghanaian artisans. And if you’re looking to support worthy causes while building your sustainable wardrobe, you may appreciate that Pala helps fund African eyecare projects with part of its profits. 

Sustainable wardrobes include accessories, and few outfits are complete without a good pair of sunglasses. By buying from a sustainable designer brand, you can make sure the pair you choose is made ethically and will last you years to come.

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