A growing list of the best sunglasses brands in Australia
IMAGE VIA RAIE
WORDS BY MAEVE KERR-CROWLEY
The key to a great look is often in the accessories. Whether you’re scooping up a bag as you leave the house or carefully layering the perfect jewellery, the devil really is in the details. In Australia, where the weather is unpredictable and the UV levels are brutal, having a pair of sunglasses on hand is pretty vital.
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Nobody wants to get caught out and about, squinting at the glare and wishing they’d remembered to throw a pair in their bag. Luckily, there are plenty of local labels (and a few from across the ditch) making amazing eyewear that combines function and style, so there’s bound to be something out there to perfectly suit your needs. Below is an ever-growing list of some of our favourite local eyewear labels.
After ten years in the Australian jewellery and eyewear space, Poms has gained a pretty loyal following. Founder and head designer Adriana Giuffrida combines her Italian heritage with a lifetime of travelling to inspire the label’s unique, forward-thinking pieces. Poms’ eyewear range is full of unconventional frame shapes and coloured lenses designed to make a statement.
Poppy Lissiman’s eponymous Australian label has been the face of eye-catching, fun fashion since 2008, producing bags, sunglasses and a host of other accessories. Its eyewear range features a huge variety of styles and silhouettes, offering everything from chunky acetate frames in bold colours and patterns to delicate floating lenses in intricate shapes.
Local Supply takes an appealingly practical approach to eyewear, branding its products not as ‘fashion’ but as an essential supply. Using plant-based materials and zero-waste production, the label creates a range of different silhouettes in one to five colourways. The focus is on quality designs that will last you for years and won’t cost an arm or a leg. An ongoing relationship with local charities also means that for every pair of sunglasses purchased, a meal is donated to Indigenous and asylum seeker communities in Sydney.
Auór (pronounced oar) is an independent Australian label founded by two friends turned co-directors. The brand produces beautiful, high-quality sunglasses with a focus on functionality, creative silhouettes and ethical production. Each pair of glasses is handcrafted in Italy in a transparent supply chain that supports fair practices and treatment of its workers. Plus, every design is produced in limited runs to keep the range unique, sustainable and fresh.
Reduce, reuse, recycle with Szade, a Melbourne-based label creating recycled sunglasses. By collecting old, discarded or broken sunglasses and melting them down to be reformed into something new, the brand aims to cut down on waste and create a loop of creative, sustainable design. The range includes a wide variety of silhouettes, styles and colours so that anyone can find a pair of recycled sunnies to suit their aesthetic.
Luxury eyewear brand Vehla was launched in Sydney back in 2019, aiming to create quality, functional accessories that didn’t compromise on style. Its most popular metal and acetate frames have sold out time and time again, gaining a loyal following both locally and overseas. You’ll find a mixture of vintage-inspired and modern styles in hard-to-find colourways, all chosen to fill gaps in the market.
In describing its brand, Auckland-based accessories label Mars describes a customer that’s effortlessly attention-grabbing, sparkly, enigmatic and unapologetic. If that sounds like you – or just the person you want to be – it’s a brand worth keeping an eye on. As well as handmade jewellery, Mars offers a curated range of sunglasses. The collection includes vintage-inspired silhouettes, versatile colour palettes and a little bit of sparkle.
Le Specs is one of the most iconic eyewear labels in the business, having operated since 1979. Its huge range of men’s and women’s sunglasses covers just about every style or silhouette you can imagine and has been worn by an impressive number of celebrities and influencers worldwide.
Oscar & Frank
Independently owned and operating out of Sydney, Oscar & Frank has been making high-quality designer eyewear since 2014. Offering a wide range of classic and statement silhouettes, the label designs everything in-house and works with artisans from across the world who handcraft every single pair of glasses. Oscar & Frank’s designs are distinctly modern while still being wearable, and are inspired by the sights and sounds of Sydney and Bali.
Velvet Canyon is a delightfully hazy combination of the past and the present, taking heavy inspiration from vintage style but still keeping things fresh and modern. Its quality acetate frames come in a palette made up largely of neutrals, with a mix of solid colours, classic tortoiseshell designs and fun yet understated prints. Every pair is also great for UV protection and comes packed in a biodegradable vegan leather pouch.
As a label, Pared is all about simple yet effective design, clever style names and successful collaborations with both local names – i.e. Bec + Bridge and P.E. Nation – and international brands. Its handmade acetate frames, UV-protectant lenses and thoughtful designs combine to create stand-out glasses that are easy to incorporate into your wardrobe. Plus, you can get any style fitted with prescription lenses with minimal fuss.
Sunglasses aren’t just an accessory, they also serve a very important purpose in protecting our eyes from Australia’s harsh UV levels. Raie’s sustainably designed eyewear and shatter-resistant lenses all provide 100 per cent UV protection for “health-conscious leisure seekers”. To encourage more conscious spending and creative styling, the range is full of classic tones and colourways that can easily transition from season to season and year to year.
Melbourne-based label Handsom is probably best known for its men’s and women’s clothing, but the brand also offers a curated range of eyewear. Just like its clothing collections, these sunglasses are all about clean design, modern functionality and “unpretentious fashion”. Each pair takes a beloved silhouette and adds unique design details, making them an easy statement piece you can wear every day.
Lexxola is an effortlessly cool eyewear label specialising in unisex designs that you’ll want to wear every day. Its modern silhouettes, coloured lenses and high-quality frames are made to last and designed to instil confidence in the wearer. The brand is also focused on sustainable production through low-waste design, energy-efficient warehouses and regular contributions to sustainably-minded non-profit organisations.
On top of being an everyday essential, sunglasses are intrinsically linked to days at the beach and sun-soaked holidays. Sunday Somewhere is all about romanticising that love of travel and feeling of wanderlust, and makes eyewear to take along with you. Find chunky acetate sunnies or pastel coloured wireframes in a variety of silhouettes to suit your beach day looks.
Head here for everything you need to know about protecting your eyes from the sun.