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Zayn Malik and Jason Momoa Make the Case for Sustainable Sunglasses


Sustainable sunglasses get celebrity bumps as Zayn Malik and Jason Momoa expand their collections with Arnette and Electric.

Aquaman star Jason Momoa and former One Direction member Zayn Malik have expanded their offerings with their sustainable sunglass label partners just in time for summer.

Momoa’s new colors for Electric build on the brand’s offerings in his name already. Electric is known for its forward-thinking approach to sustainable eyewear. And Malik’s second drop with Arnette builds on the retro styles in “Retro-town.”

Sustainable sunglasses

Both Malik’s and Momoa’s collections feature acetate, a cellulose material that’s actually similar to rayon used in clothing, making it a somewhat synthetic material. Acetate makes for good glasses because it can be adjusted to your exact frame needs with heat (you’ll need an optician to do that). And the glasses can fit better the more you wear them. Brands also like them because they’re hypoallergenic. Celebrity-favorite eyewear brand Garrett Leight recently launched its first sustainable collection, featuring acetate.

Acetate on its own is a chemically-intensive process. But in the last decade, the development of M49 or bioplastic, is making sustainable eyeglass frames easier. It’s about two-thirds plant-based and biodegradable.

Image courtesy Garrett Leight

But not all bioacetate is the same, and some factories can take shortcuts, using chemical coatings that negate the benefits of the sustainable material. When shopping for sustainable sunglasses or eyewear made from acetate, look for the terms bio, biodegradable, and plant-based. Sustainable packaging for the frames is also a good indicator that there’s a real commitment to quality. And celebrity endorsements don’t hurt, either. Momoa, for example, released a line of sustainable vegan shoes last year. He knows quality and is invested in sustainable practices.

There are other materials that can be used in sustainable sunglasses besides acetate. Metals, especially those that have been recycled, are often a better option than virgin plastic. Some brands are using upcycled plastic in collections. There are brands like Proof and Grown that use sustainably sourced wood for their frames.

Finally, price matters. A good pair of sustainable sunglasses will set you back, and that’s the point—it should be a slow-fashion investment that you wear for years.

Momoa x Electric

“My friends run deep in the surf and moto culture and introduced me to the Electric brand,” Momoa said in a statement. “I loved the eyewear styles and wanted to create an earth-friendly collaboration with my personal touch to wear and help give back to charities protecting Hawai’i.”

Proceeds from the sales of Electric sunglasses go to support Sustainable Coastlines Hawai’i.

“Jason is an actor, an activist, and a dreamer who lives the core ethos of Electric at full throttle,” Electric says. “We worked with Jason to design signature eyewear styles that embody his passion for sustainability, Polynesian culture, and vintage aesthetics.”

The new colorways for the Jason Momoa Collection include JM Matte Pink and JM Rose Tort—similar colors to colors in his On the Roam shoe collection launched last year. The expanded styles are The Knoxville and The Crasher, two of Electric’s bestsellers.

The sunglasses are made from Italian M49 Bio Acetate and come in recycled chipboard boxes along with a recycled nylon microfiber bag for storage and cleaning.

Malik x Arnette

With their second collaboration since last fall, Malik and Arnette are embracing retro ’90s styles, taking inspiration from the decade’s nostalgia, including classic video games.

Coming in a range of colorful “old school” vibes, the new sustainable glasses are all gender-neutral styles.

Like the Electric Momoa collection, Malik’s Arnette collection is made from bio-acetates and bio-lenses. Packaging too is sustainable, coming in a pouch made from 78 percent recycled polyamide and 25 percent recycled ABS stoppers that are used to cinch the pouch. The case also includes a microfiber cloth made of 78 percent recycled polyamide.

The glasses are named after ’90s characters from graphic novels and cult movies. There’s the “Daken,” the collection’s boldest offering that takes its name from a Marvel Comics character. It’s colorful and boasts mirrored lenses in a chunky bio-acetate frame.

“I’ve always been into gaming, so I was very interested in putting those design elements and aesthetics into this collection drop with Arnette,” says Malik. “I like the look of the Daken, it’s a mix of modern with an old-school vibe.”


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