Enjoy cool sunnies that support life-changing vision projects in Africa.
By Amy Hopkins
This summer, before splashing the cash on a pair of big names sunnies, consider choosing ethical eyeware with a heartwarming story, from Brighton-based brand Pala.
I’ve been tackling the spring heatwave headon with a pair of Pala’s Zola Sunflower frames. I love their bold angular shape, and the translucent arms against the dark tortoiseshell frame is a cool twist on a classic style.
At £45-£50, Pala sunnies are a third of the price of the big name brands, but when I compare the look, material and feel of my Zola Sunflower frames to my husband’s Ray-Bans, I’m hard pressed to tell them apart.
Indeed, Pala boast that the quality of their materials and lenses is just as good as the leading brands and all their specs offer 100% UV protection. The collection features a range of retro, polarised and mirror styles, all of which appeal to conscientious shoppers by combining cool style with a worthy cause.
So what’s ethics behind the aesthetics? The concept is simple – you buy a pair of Pala sunglasses and they give a pair of prescription glasses to someone in Africa. In fact, Pala was founded specifically to address the global issue of poor eyecare in developing countries. Shockingly, 640 million people across the world are unable to access eyewear, meaning they cannot read, learn, or even thread a needle to work.
Pala provides grants directly to eyecare projects in Africa, including vision centres and outreach programmes – all sustainable, long term solutions. From these projects Pala has worked out a cost per patient helped, which is the basis behind their claim that when you buy a pair of their glasses, they will buy a pair of specs for someone who needs them.
My Zola sunnies come with an usual plastic woven case in black and purple. These cases are part of Pala’s commitment to sustainability, as each is uniquely handmade from recycled plastic by a weaver in rural Ghana. As Pala grows, more people in rural African communities are being taught to weave, creating income streams for their families.
If you like fashion with a conscience, Pala is a smart choice for a pair of frames that look good on your face and give you a warm fuzzy feeling in your tummy.
Pala’s Zola tortoiseshell sunglasses cost £45