Choosing a pair of shades can be a real hassle: From the choice of the brand to the large range of prices, style or materials: the options are infinite.
Unlike most fashion items, the role of sunglasses is to prevent a part of your body (your eyes) from getting damaged and are considered a medical device: making an informed purchase decision is essential.
Here’s what you should consider when picking your new sunnies:
Protection above all
Your sunglasses make you look stylish and beautiful, but don't forget that their main job is to protect your retina. Your eyes can get sunburned, even on cloudy days and the damage is irreversible.
Make sure your lenses are certified, fully UV protected (ensure a uv400 which blocks nearly 100% of all UVA and UVB rays) and come from a provider of trust.
RAF/AL Eyewear chose Carl Zeiss lenses for all of their sunglasses. Zeiss’ research and development sector is always ahead of the game in terms of innovation, and every Carl Zeiss lens comes fully UV protected.
People want colour, classy accessories and promising quality
Metal, plastic or rimless frames, the choice is large. Today we will focus on the plastic-like frames. because they’re the trendiest, but also because there’s so many elements to know for a transparent shopping experience.
Plastic isn’t fantastic
Plastic frames allow for very cheap and mass production, because of their very simple process.
Also, the only way to colour plastic is to paint it. But the paint eventually wears off and makes the frames look cheap. Plus it’s highly allergenic for your skin and eyes…
Acetate for vibrant or elegant sunnies
Cellulose acetate is a renewable plant-based (wood pulp, cotton) synthetic fiber used to design some of the most striking eyewear in the world.
Because it can be produced by layering several colors or transparencies in layers and sandwiching them together, it has the widest range for transparency, rich colors, and finishes.
Acetate eyewear is then hand polished and assembled into a complete eye frame. Because of the extra work involved, it is more expensive.
But its great durability is worth the investment! Amongst the other advantages, lightweight, strength, flexibility (can be easily adjusted) and hypoallergenicity.
Not all glasses are created equally and not all acetates are equal
Italy currently owns the reputation for the most outstanding quality of acetate.
Mazzucchelli, a premier acetate producer in Italy has been in business since 1849 and is one of the world’s foremost manufacturers of cellulose acetate.
The extra-mile: road to sustainability
Another advantage of acetate is that it is made from renewable and organic materials and thus is far more environmentally friendly than plastic. However the material is then mixed with chemical substances aimed at giving the desired workability, flexibility and toughness: the Phthalate plasticizers.
This is where RAF/AL Eyewear went the extra-mile and became one of the first Eyewear brand to choose 100% biodegradable materials. M49 is an innovative formula developed by the laboratories of Mazzucchelli 1849 which blends cellulose acetate with a plasticizer from natural sources. The sheets obtained from this formulation combine the aesthetical quality with a great naturalness.
The price: Do I get what i pay for?
I would just say: beware of the extremes. If the price is low, it’s probably plastic, low quality and protection. And very high prices don’t always mean very high quality. The majority of the most renowned brands delocalise their production to Asia (where the quality of the material and production process are questionable) and apply margins that are 10 times what they should be, for exorbitant prices.
Our advice: Of course the style and look will be what you will first aim for. But make yourself a favour and ensure you get the protection, quality and durability that you and your eyes deserve.
Your sunglasses will be your most loyal companion for your most amazing adventures, isn’t it time to choose a brand with true values that match yours?