These new UK designer sunglasses donate essential solar lamps to families in Malawi, Zambia and Uganda creating over 1,000 hours of study time each.
Without the lamps children and parents use toxic, expensive homemade kerosene lamps which are a poor light source. The donated lamps come via UK charity SolarAid and give off hours of light so families can earn, learn and feel safe after dark.
The sunglasses themselves are made from reusable ethical materials. They range from Featherlight hand-finished bamboo to the Multiply traditional laminated wood and the Strata wood and aluminium fusion.
At between £80 – £140 they sit in the middle of what you might pair for high-end eye wear. Each comes with a bespoke case also made from reusable materials.
Local press has been buzzing about the company’s Crowdfunder which has just past 40% funded in a few days.
The sunglasses will be available to buy in April, but Crowdfunder supporters can gain early access and 25% discounts.
Founder Ed Bird talked about how he came up with the idea: “I wanted to design high quality, sustainable sunglasses that look great and feel good. But more than that – I was looking for a way to combine business, design and social purpose.”
Bird is hoping to ride high on the rise of “responsible consumption” brands that (according to his research) have now overtaken “conventional” brands in terms of growth rate.
The big headline here is just how much good the sunglasses can do.
According to Solar Aid’s figures each pair sold will deliver a staggering 1006 hours of extra study time, save £145 in fuel and 1.1 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
Unsurprisingly the sunglasses recently won Crowdfunder’s “Best UK Fashion Start-up Idea”.
Nick Leech, of 123 Reg Group who supported the award, said: “We were delighted with the submission from Bird Sunglasses who have a truly compelling concept, and we look forward to helping them grow as a business.”
Dr Jeremy Leggett, Founder of SolarAid, added that: “People wearing Bird’s amazing sunglasses will now know that they are adding fuel to this transformation in a big way: keeping sunlight out of their eyes while adding it to the African night, via the solar cells and batteries in the lights.”
To find out more about Bird sunglasses and Solar Air visit its Crowdfunder page .