A lot of care and thought has been put into these sunglasses. You wouldn’t expect anything less from either STORY mfg. or District Vision. The former is a brand driven by “a desire for a more authentic, fulfilling and kind approach to fashion.” The latter is a contemporary sportswear label that develops “tools for mindful athletes.” The two have come together to produce this special pair of sunglasses made with a biodegradable biomaterial, paired with a hand crochet carry-pouch and a stone necklace.
If you know either brand’s philosophies, the collaboration makes a lot of sense. And if you follow Saeed Al-Rubeyi, STORY mfg.’s co-founder, you know he loves his District Vision sunglasses. The collaboration seems to have pushed both brands into new territories and it’s exciting to see the fruits of their relationship. These are mindful sunglasses made by mindful people.
There’s a story behind every aspect of this product, but let’s start with the main event. The frames are one of District Vision’s iconic shapes: the Takeyoshi Altitude Master. This is a high performance frame, designed for the pursuit of high intensity outdoor activities (although they suit casual wear just as well). These particular shades are custom made in Japan using Earth-Tech, “a proprietary bio-material made from the cellulose of non-edible plant scraps.” Interestingly, its composition means the frames can be recycled or biodegraded as it is part of a “closed-loop system.” There is something quite reassuring in that and it’s encouraging to see both brands thinking about the future of their product, far after it has left their stockrooms.
The glasses feature District Vision’s D+ Black Rose lenses, developed for changing light conditions while out on the trails.They are shatterproof, anti-reflective, and water and oil repellent. As good as they look, these sunglasses were built for the outdoors. They work.
The story continues along the arm of the frames where the phrase “movement is a blessing” is printed, translated into “one of Saeed’s mother tongues.”
Every pair of sunglasses comes with a carry-pouch. This is where we see STORY mfg.’s design sensibilities enter the equation. Named the “Sun Pouch,” it is “naturally dyed with babul bark, madder, iron and myrobalan, and hand crochet in India.” STORY mfg. features hand crochet in many of its products including the iconic Polite Pullover and Piece Scarf. This is a time-intensive process but the results are extraordinary: an item that is respectful not only for the Earth from which it comes but also for the hands that made it. STORY mfg. builds strong relationships with the ateliers and dye houses that make its products, ensuring it supports the craftspeople and their families properly.
This is also seen in the necklace that completes the package. Hand carved from soapstone, these “gifts” are made in India by a carver named Murugan. If you’ve ever received an item from STORY mfg. you might have come across one before, hidden in the hangtag.
These details count. Even that hangtag is made from “cotton offcuts from STORY mfg. production.” No part of this collaboration escapes the touch of story. And though each of these stories are interesting in their own way, they come together to tell a far greater one: two brands being mindful of every step of the journey, learning from each other, and caring for the people and planet that produce their product.
District Vision says: “with all our products, we maintain the methodology of Kaizen, the concept of continuous improvement.” Not every project can be perfect. There are always elements that can be improved as technologies develop and ideas flourish. In these sunglasses, the materials used for the lenses, nose pads and earpads are not biodegradable like the frames. “We don’t want to be misleading,” states STORY mfg. It isn’t and it knows where improvements could be made. Acknowledging that is the first step. And who knows – maybe next time, you’ll be able to chuck the whole package on the compost once it’s worn beyond use.
The sunglasses are available to order from both the STORY mfg. and District Vision websites.
In another collaborative news, adidas and Allbirds have joined forces to create a low-carbon sneaker.