Making wooden sunglasses for the UK: a chat with Sun Amante

Girl wearing Sun Amante sunglasses

Making wooden sunglasses for the UK: a chat with Sun Amante

A great pair of sunglasses can complete any look. But where do you go if you want to dress sustainably? Enter Sun Amante (Spanish for sun lover) who create a range of sustainable styles with super lightweight recycled sustainable steel, eco acetate and wooden frames.

I had the pleasure of chatting with Mark about what made him decide to start up Sun Amante bringing sustainable and wood sunglasses from Columbia to the UK, how the sunglasses are made for a positive impact, and the challenges of running a sustainable brand.

Girl in Sun Amante wooden sunglasses against a brick wall

Sun Amante believes in the power of natural ingredients and their wooden sunglasses are made reforested fine woods such as teak, wenge and ash and they create their eco acetate from cotton. The brand offers great value compared to many luxury sunglasses brands with prices from £79-109 and free shipping.

As well as the lightweight nature of stainless steel glasses, wooden frame sunglasses also offer a comfortable fit and lovely look, the grains of the wood making every one unique. All are made with polarised lenses from bio based nylon keeping us safe from harmful UVA rays. I love the fact that Sun Amante offer virtual try on (this is so much fun!), and are so confident in their superb quality that they offer a 60 day money back guarantee and 2 year warranty.

I’m also impressed by the styles on offer, it’s good to know that you can get a sustainable and comfortable look and still be on trend at the same time!

Sun Amante logo

The interview

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1. Tell us about your sustainable fashion brand and what sets you apart

At Sun Amante we are redefining the luxury sunglasses industry with sustainable eyewear for the conscious consumer — by prioritising people and the planet alongside profit — because all our sunglasses are made from 100% natural materials with 40% from each order going direct to the skilled artisans who handcraft them.

Each piece is unique with hours of work. Customers can use the virtual try on via the website to find their perfect pair of ‘sunamantes’ before they buy. We hold limited stock as each pair of sunamantes is handcrafted with love. Quality is assured with a 2 year warranty and satisfaction is guaranteed with a no questions asked 60 day free returns policy.

Model wearing Sun Amante wooden sunglasses
Male model wearing black Sun Amante sustainable sunglasses

2. What is your background and what made you decide to start up your brand?

My background is in international business and marketing. The roles I have had have taken me around the world. When I came to Colombia a few times, I fell in love with the land of beauty, the people and the zest for life. I wanted to bring all these qualities back to my home town of London and share them with the rest of the UK through building sustainable partnerships and ethically sourcing unique products.

3. Tell us a bit about how you source your fabrics and base materials

We work with artisanal companies who take pride in their connection with nature and minimising their footprint. Materials used for the frames include bio-based acetate, reforested wood from Colombia as well as recycled steel, iron and cork for the protective cases. The bio-based nylon lenses are all polarised.

4. Do you take into account the recyclability of your products?

Yes, all the materials used are either biodegradable or recyclable.

5. Who makes your clothes/products?

Artisanal companies in Colombia make our sustainable sunglasses. Our website has a video showing the process.

6. Are any animals used in the production of your products and if so how do you make sure that they are treated ethically?

No animals are used to make the sunglasses.

7. What else makes your brand sustainable/ethical?

We have already talked about the commercial model in that 40% of the purchase goes direct to the artisan. Also for every purchase, 2 trees are planted via Ecologi to ensure the cycle of reforested wood continues. We are also 1% for the Planet members and 1% of our revenue is directed towards environmental and social initiatives of our choosing. We also have representatives in Colombia that have vetted our partners to ensure they are treating their employees correctly.

8. What are the biggest challenges in operating as an ethical and sustainable fashion brand?

The obvious one revolves around the commercials. Commitments to sustainability and ethical sourcing costs money. We are very transparent with our business model and hope that conscious consumers appreciate that.

Frames and lenses can be extremely cheap to obtain in bulk via places like China where the majority are made for almost all of the world’s popular brands.

We choose to operate differently but at the same time make luxury accessible to our customers. The majority of high streets and shopping malls in the UK are so bland, the stores look the same and same brands are in every place because the products all come from the same manufacturers. A sustainable brand has to innovate and partner effectively to become known and that is a big challenge.

9. “Sustainability is not about being perfect, but is a journey”, how can you further improve what you do and what plans do you have for the future?

We are at the very start of our journey here. We are learning every day to be better. Our plans are to grow our business and work with trusted partners to deliver on our sustainability pledges to our customers.

10. What one thing could fast fashion brands do to improve?

Be more transparent on the ethical sourcing and sustainability of their products.

11. What are your favourite products in your range right now and why?

I love all our sunglasses. If I were to pick my favourite range of sunamantes it would be the premium, reforested wood designs. Wood has a unique, warm and supremely comfortable feel.

Girl in natural wood coloured sunglasses

Thanks to Mark for taking part in this interview and we wish him all the best with Sun Amante for the future! To get your hands on a pair of his stylish sunglasses, check out the link below:

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