Mari & Clay, the answer to sustainable sunglasses

May 16, 2020

If you’re looking for sleek, timeless and sustainable sunglasses, Mari & Clay is the answer. The Melbourne based brand launched earlier this month and is disrupting the eyewear industry with their modern eco-conscious eyewear.

Optometrists Lauren and John were inspired to create Mari & Clay after witnessing firsthand how fast fashion was also affecting their industry. With people replacing their eyewear more frequently and little awareness about sustainability amongst consumers and within the industry, they decided to set themselves the challenge of making a difference by building a brand that centres around conscious choices.

“We want to create eyewear that people can use for many years, both in quality and style, with less impact on the environment. “

Holding Mari & Clay tortoise shell frames
Split image with Mari & Clay tortoise shell frames being designed on the left and holding the sunglasses on the right

All Mari & Clay sunglasses frames are made from bio-acetate, which is a 100% biodegradable material derived from responsibly-harvested fibres from wood and cotton seed, which is sourced from the labs of Italian company Mazzucchelli. Traditional cellulose acetate, which is what most sunglasses are made from, uses a fossil fuel-based phthalate as a plasticizer. Bio-acetate substitutes that with organic additives, resulting in a much higher bio-based content. Bio-acetate maintains the beauty and durability of traditional acetate, but is gentler on the environment.

Wearing Mari & Clay tortoise shell sunglasses with a white tee, black blazer and blue jeans

A reinvention of classics, Mari & Clay’s aesthetic is natural, clean and minimalist – designed to be a wardrobe essential. Their first collection River, is a gentle nod of appreciation to the rivers of their home state of Victoria, Australia. Much like how the river is the lifeline of our environment, they wanted to create a collection of sunglasses that you’d wear for every outing, every commute to work and will last you a long time. 

My favourite pair from the collection are the Murray sunglasses in tortoiseshell, understated yet chic their square-shaped frame with rounded angles and spectacled amber hue gives them that vintage feel, which I love. All their glasses have polarised lenses for better clarity and comfort and are unisex, which means if you have a partner who likes them too you can give them double the wear.

Close up of holding Mari & Clay tortoise shell sunglasses
Split image, on the left holding Mari & Clay tortoise shell sunglasses on the right outfit photo featuring white tee, black blazer and blue jeans

Sustainability is at the core of Mari & Clay’s values, they believe that if we can actively make the choice to do better, we are one step closer to building a more sustainable future. This has been integral with how they have approached every aspect of their business. From sourcing materials to designing products, choosing packaging, freight partners and charities to support and even product lifecycle.

One of the biggest challenges for them so far was thinking about the end-of-life of products and finding ways to be circular in their approach. It is difficult to recycle eyewear due to the mixture of materials used to make glasses, but they have developed their own sunglasses recycle program. People can send back their old Mari & Clay sunglasses if they no longer need them and they will receive a 15% discount to go towards a new pair. For all other eyewear they encourage people to donate these to a person in need, they are proud sponsors of the Lion’s Club who have several collection points.

Further to this, they have also partnered with non-profit organisation One Tree Planted, so for every pair of sunglasses sold, one tree will be planted which will help go towards restoring the landscape in Australia following the devastating fires over summer – find out more about that here.

Wearing Mari & Clay tortoise shell sunglasses with a white tee, black blazer and blue jeans

Here are Lauren and John’s three suggestions for living a more mindful and sustainable life.

  1. Be an outfit repeater. I think it’s a great idea to create a capsule wardrobe and always think about how you can make the most out of one piece of clothing. 
  2. Avoid single-use plastics! Most people are getting used to using reusable coffee cups and shopping bags now. We can take it one step further by using reusable straws, takeaway containers and cutleries too. 
  3. Invest in better things, not more. 

Xx Nadine

Photos by Kai Ridley

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1 Comment

  • Reply Lei Lei Clavey June 24, 2020 at 11:30 pm

    Love these glasses Nads! Tortoiseshell is so classic and timeless. I love that they are eco-minded too, I didn’t realise/think that so many sunglasses just aren’t.

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