ethically made sunglasses

5 Minimalist & Ethically Made Sunglasses For the Understated Philantropist

Minimalist & Ethically Made Sunglasses From Bamboo, Wood, and Recycled Materials

I don’t know about you guys, but I either: 1. lose my sunglasses, 2. sit on my sunglasses, or 3. scratch my sunglasses. So they’re on my shopping list pretty much every summer, and since I’m not the only one who’s into minimalist design and ethically-made accessories, I’m sharing with you this year’s finds.

All the sunglasses below incorporate materials such as bamboo, cork, reclaimed wood, and recycled plastic.

I particularly like those made from bamboo; not only do they look great but bamboo itself has some amazing qualities: it’s strong, lightweight, and naturally resistant to moisture and extreme temperatures. Plus, it’s the fastest growing wood in the world and doesn’t require replanting.

Cork is another raw material noted for its eco-friendly properties. Harvested from the cork oaks’ bark, the material is reusable, biodegradable, and its extraction process doesn’t harm the trees.

All in all, the brands highlighted in this article are not only stylish but also committed to sustainability and ethical manufacturing. So if you’re looking for a pair of stunning sunglasses that protect your eyes while also being good for the environment, check them out!

1. Monroe Sunglasses by Panda

Monroe sunglasses ethically made by Panda

bamboo sunglsasses by Panda

Model & Range | Monroe, unisex
Sun Protection | Polarized lenses, 100% UVA & UVB protection
Made From |
Handcrafted eco-friendly bamboo frame
Features | Wayfarer frame available in 11 color combinations, lightweight & water-resistant, flex hinges
Shipping | US & International shipping, free with USPS
Come With | Wood box, free 60 day returns, lifetime warranty
About the Brand | Serving the “Fashion with a Purpose” motto, Panda was launched in 2012 as Kickstarter by three college friends. The company makes sunglasses and watches from sustainably sourced bamboo, and a significant portion of their profit goes toward the “Gift of Vision” & the “Gift of Education” initiatives. For every pair of sunglasses purchased, Panda provides an eye exam and a pair of subscription glasses to someone in need, through Optometry Giving Sight, a non-profit that trains low-income men and women. Likewise, for every watch they sell, the company helps Pencils of Promise provide educational opportunities for children in need. PoP creates schools, programs, and global communities around the common goal of education for all.


2. Bolivia Sunglasses by SOLO Eyewear

Bolivia bamboo sunglases by Solo

Bolivia sunglasses ethically made by SOLO EyewearModel & Range | Bolivia, unisex
Sun Protection | Polarized TAC lenses, 100% UVA & UVB protection
Made From | 20% recycled plastic frame, repurposed bamboo SOLO letters
Features | Matte black frame with reflective gold lenses, double barrel hinge, narrow fit
Come With | 30 days refund & exchange warranty
Shipping | US & International shipping
About the Brand | SOLO Eyewear is a company built around the mantra that “One idea. One person. One action can change the world”. Started as a class project at San Diego State University, SOLO makes sunglasses from recycled and repurposed materials, and each pair they sell funds prescription eyeglasses and sight saving surgeries for people in need – over 13 000 so far! Their sunglasses are named after the country where SOLO has funded eye care, 32 in total.


3. Boise Wood – Black Maple by Proof Eyewear

Proof sustainable eyewear

Boise wood sunglasses by Proof EyewearModel & Range | Black Maple model, Boise Wood range, unisex
Sun Protection | Polarized lenses, 100% UVA & UVB protection
Made From | Handmade from sustainably sourced wood
Features | Black frame with polarized black lenses, water-resistant, stainless steel spring loaded hinges
Shipping | Free US shipping, international shipping through their partners
Come With | Wood box & microfiber pouch included, 30 days satisfaction guarantee, 1 year manufacturer warranty
About the Brand | Launched in 2010 by three brothers from Idaho, Proof stands firm on three principles: heritage, sustainability, and giving back. Their products are handcrafted from sustainable materials including FSC-certified wood, cotton-based acetate, and repurposed skateboard decks, and 12% of their annual profits are donated to community projects all around the world.


4.  Kilgore Silver Polarized by TOMS

TOMS ethically made sunglassesModel & Range | Kilgore Silver, women
Sun Protection | Polarized lenses, 100% UVA & UVB protection
Made From | Eco-friendly metal
Features | Silver metal frame, dark grey polarized lenses, hand painted stripes, frosted silicone nose pads, spring hinges
Come with | Case included, free 60 day return & refund policy
Shipping | US shipping, international shipping through their partners
About the Brand | TOMS is a well-known champion of transparency and sustainability. Started in 2006 as TOMS® Shoes, a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased with a new pair of shoes for a child in need (One for One® mission), the business has since expanded to include sunglasses, bags, apparel, and coffee.  TOMS® Eyewear launched in 2011, and helping restore sight to over 400,000 people in need. In addition, every purchase supports sustainable community-based eye care programs, the creation of professional jobs (often for young women) and helps provide basic eye care training to local health volunteers and teachers.


5. Pioneer 34 by Westward Leaning

Westward Leaning Pioneer sunglassesModel & Range | Pioneer 34, unisex
Sun Protection | Non-polarized lenses
Made From | Plastic frame and lenses
Features | Matte black frame, grey Horizon lenses with edges mirrored in silver
Come with | Hardshell case and cleaning cloth included
Shipping | US only, free shipping
About the Brand | Launched in 2012, Westward Leaning has grown to be one of the world’s leading independent sunglasses brands. The company strives to be as ethical, sustainable, fair and socially-conscious as possible in every aspect of their business. They use no animal products unless they are naturally shed, and they visit all their factories on a regular basis. Their main production facility is a family-run business that has been passed down through generations. Westward Leaning will be donating 25% of the proceeds from their Spring 2017 collection to the United Nations Foundation.