I’m always a bit anxious about doing product reviews because I don’t want to be added to the plethora of product porn on the internet. So if you’re not in need of a new pair of sunglasses please look away!
I lost my sunglasses in December and have been deliberating with how best to replace them since then. Was such a thing as sustainable sunglasses? Google would have the answer, I’m sure of it. Many hours later I was firmly in love with the idea of a set of FSC certified wooden sunglasses and found quite a few suppliers in the UK and Europe, but I hate buying online, particularly things I like to try on. Plus having one single item deliver right to my door just doesn’t seem as sustainable as buying something in a local shop, even if the ones bought locally are made from plastic. I pondered on buying a pair of second-hand glasses but was worried that I wouldn’t be able to verify the quality of the lenses and so might be putting my eyes at risk. What to do! what to do! I was in this quandary when I stumbled across Raw Roots at a local market in Terenure, where I had been going to buy some package-free groceries from zero waste retailer Bring Your Own.
Kildare-based Raw Roots offer sunglasses made from bamboo, ebony and sandlewood that are handmade in France. The spring hinges used on the glasses are made from stainless steel and their website states that all of their raw materials are sourced responsibly. I messaged the business owner about proof of the sustainability of the wood and she is chasing a certification of sustainability and will post it on the website as soon as she receives it. According to an Instagram post on the 25th of April 2018 Rawroots now also sponsors Trees for the Future who plant 10 trees for every pair of wood glasses purchased.
Now onto the real world experience. I am very happy to report that I am more than delighted with the blue special branch specs that I selected. The frame is large, which really suits my big head, and are surprising light. A few of my friends tried on the glasses too and they also remarked on how comfortable and light they were.
The polarised lenses really do help to reduce the glare and avoid squinting but I do find that sometimes they’re too dark when you go into a shaded spot or it clouds over. My favourite part of the glasses is the spring hinges! I have quite a wide head and have always struggled to get sunglasses that fit comfortably. With the spring hinges the sunglasses can flex outwards, giving me the best fit I’ve ever had with a pair of sunglasses. The only downside with this is the glasses will slip off my head if I try and use them as a hairband so I need to put them in their case when they’re not being worn on my face.
Update: I accidentally twisted the arm on my glasses once and so one of the arms is slightly looser than the other. They still work fine so I haven’t tried to repair them yet. If the arm gets too loose my hope is to fill the screw hole with wood filler and re-screw the arm onto the frame. A friend who bought a metal framed pair of glasses from Raw Roots just after me had worse luck. Her arm sheared right off on her and was beyond repair.
When you buy a pair of sunglasses from Raw Roots you have the option of a solid glasses cases or a bamboo one. The solid one comes in bamboo (see photo) or walnut. When I bought my glasses at the market bamboo was the only option so that’s what I went with and I love the case almost as much as the sunglasses. I love its minimal aesthetic and it does an excellent job of protecting my glasses in my often overloaded handbag.
Raw Roots sell online via their website.
I’ve listed other sellers of sustainable sunnies on my post Sustainable Summer
PS – I bought the glasses with my own money and I don’t get paid for product reviews, nor do I get free products to test.