Ballo Hemp Caroline Viitanen.
Ballo Hemp Caroline Viitanen.
Image: Supplied

Summer is here, my burnt forehead and dry eyes can very much attest to it. Summer in SA means sundowners, swimming, roof-top or beach parties and much-needed sunglasses. In stark contrast to the European monopolies on eyewear, our local brands stand out with their focus on identity, sustainability and uncompromising self-expression. Glasses cover, and accentuate, your face and are not statement accessories for no reason. As such it is imperative to find eyewear that represents what you stand for and that set you out from the crowd.

Ballo

Ballo is a carbon neutral and circular glasses company based in Woodstock, Cape Town. Offering unique products made from hemp, wood, cork and African products; the company utilises off-cuts, recycled materials and sustainably-grown resources to create one-of-a-kind frames. Furthermore, a tree is planted with GreenPop for every frame sold and local workers hand make each pair of sunglasses. Launched in 2013, Ballo is at the forefront of creating job opportunities in high-unemployment areas, promoting ethical business and showcasing design-led general-neutral sunglasses.

Escape Society

Escape Society is a curated collection of adventure accessories, from sunglasses to leather goods. The thoughtful, functional construction is coupled with tasteful simplicity; making their accessories the key to adventurous experiences and aesthetics.

Escape Society.
Escape Society.
Image: Supplied

Mafastela

Mafestela sunglasses are statement pieces, representing the wearer’s personality and unique character. High-quality material, functionality, practicality and a reasonable price point make these glasses essentials for whenever. The name Mafastela is a derivative of the Changana and Zulu word, which means glasses and window.

Mafastela Ngungunyane.
Mafastela Ngungunyane.
Image: Supplied

Mawu

Mawu was founded by two friends with vastly different perspectives on life: Greg, the founder of a skate company and Marshy, a helicopter pilot. Their sunglasses are handcrafted with acetate, a natural plant-based material, that ensures the highest-quality eyewear that is comfortable and aesthetically pleasing.

Mawu.
Mawu.
Image: Supplied
Mawu.
Mawu.
Image: Supplied

Aluta

Aluta is as much an ideology as it is a brand. Their sunglasses break free of convention and restricting rhetoric. Inspired by the spirit of pan-Africanism and revolutionary fervour, the expressive eyewear are striking statement pieces that ensure you don’t get lost in conformity and the mainstream, while affirming history.

A luta continua, vitória é certa — The struggle continues. Victory is certain!” This was the war cry to Mozambican freedom fighters during their fight for independence.

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