Brand Spotlight: Pala Eyewear
We are proud to introduce our latest Brand to Spoke & Stringer Shop.
Pala Eyewear is an award winning, independent and ethical brand, whose tagline encourages to ‘wear love give’. Having first made contact with us at Spoke & Stringer a mere few weeks before the Covid-19 lockdown we were delighted to receive a collection from Pala Eyewear just in time for summer. We caught up with founder, John Pritchard earlier this week to get some insight into how he managed to adapt & keep Pala Eyewear moving forward in these unprecedented times...
"The key impact of Covid-19 was losing my entire wholesale market during what are traditionally the three key months for the business (March - May). It meant that we had to double down on our web presence and reach out to new customers there. We were already in the process of re-designing the website and launching that alongside our 2020 Collection in May, fortunately saw an instant impact on our sales. So our online presence has been strong and now that shops and spaces are opening up again, we are seeing the wholesale market return, albeit with justifiable caution.
This period has also allowed me to spend more attention on our sustainability roadmap. We managed to get our BCorp application (legal certification for balancing purpose and profit) during Spring and now await the next steps and have just launched a frame ‘take-back’ scheme with Terracycle.
I’m hoping that our continued pursuit of being more sustainable will make us increasingly more relevant in the marketplace as people begin to think more consciously about the product they buy and consider the purpose behind it and not price. As for the product this season has seen us innovate with bio-acetate for across the entire new collection – which means the frames are plastic free and 100% bio-degradable. I’m already planning 2021 and some more exciting shapes and styles to come!"
We can't wait to see what's in store for Pala in the future. Read on to gain an insight into the story behind Pala and how they are making a real physical difference to so many people's lives.
Pala Eyewear offers sustainably designed & ethically produced sunglasses of high quality and eco-friendly materials that you love to wear. However, the ‘give’ side of the brand is as important as the products themselves, and people are having their lives changed as a direct result of the customer’s relationship with Pala. This makes a pair of Pala sunglasses better for you and better for the planet than your last pair.
After traveling all over Africa, John recognised so many issues among the communities he was visiting and wanted to finally and directly create change. This desire to give back and create long term benefits became the heart of the project. With every pair of sunglasses sold, Pala gives back to eye care programmes in Africa by providing grants to vision centres, dispensaries and screening programmes. Their close relationship with Vision Aid Overseas enables this life changing work. Dedicated to fighting poverty by transforming access to eye care in developing countries including Burkina Faso, Zambia, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Ethiopia, this partnership has allowed for thousands of sight-impaired people to have had their ability to earn an income enhanced thanks to receiving a pair of prescription glasses. A pair of spectacles are the most invaluable and economically empowering tool to provide for someone. They enable reading, learning and access to better education, plus provide a chance to operate a machine, or to thread a needle and improve overall job prospects. Truly a tool for life.
People make Pala, as well as benefitting from the business itself, and are directly involved in the production of accompanying sunglass cases. Each case is woven out of otherwise wasted plastic by traditional weavers from one of three rural communities in Bolgatanga, Ghana. Thanks to this trade Pala helps to provide an income for women in the region and support them in maintaining their traditions and empowering themselves to move out of poverty, and currently employs over 150 weavers to make this happen. Each distinct Pala case bears the handwritten name of the weaver who made it, fairly paid for their efforts and skill, and is completely unique. This plastic could have been many other things in its previous life, but now provides wealth not waste for all those involved.
Pala wants to be part of the drive towards a sustainable fashion future. As well as making use of eco-friendly, reusable and recyclable packaging and paper stock, and furthermore carbon offset shipping, Pala caters for all sunglass wearers and for many seasons to come in terms of varieties of shape and appearance. Materials wise, along with recycled acetate from otherwise wasted factory offcuts, bio acetate is now exclusively being used to produce modern sunglasses that are entirely plant based, can break down after a long life of use and serve the planet well, as well as reducing the reliance on non-renewable resources. And equally important, all of their sunglasses are vegan and cruelty-free. Every single pair of new frames comes with UVA/UVB protection as usual but now with polarised lenses ready to reduce glare, making getting outdoors even easier for use in activities or near water.
We currently have a handful of Pala varieties:
Effortlessly simple yet still bold enough to make an impact, the Pendo is a thicker framed design with a high bridge and lifted brow line. This pair works throughout each and every season.This sunglasses frame is high quality recycled acetate, with a gloss black front and matt black reverse with smoke lenses.
The perfect day to day adventure companion, the Asha is a classic round design, with an equally classic tortoiseshell finish. This popular style suits most faces making it a fail-safe choice without blending into the crowd. This sunglasses frame is a matt champagne acetate with orange-brown lenses.
The Rudo takes a simple yet classic round metal frame and adds angles to give it some edge. This is a design that avoids trends and will remain in style indefinitely. This sunglasses frame is a polished gold effect metal with green G-15 lenses.
When you usually go for round frames but want an extra edge, the Lich keeps things interesting without straying too far from the path. A classic circular design with an angled brow line to allow for the best of both worlds. This sunglasses frame is solid black with solid green-smoke lenses, and is entirely biodegradable.