ACCESSORI HANDMADE IN ITALY

SUNGLASSES: FROM USEFUL ACCESSORY TO GLAMOUR SYMBOL

By Jajo

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A BRIEF HISTORY

One fashion accessory that we can no-longer live without is the pair of sunglasses. In addition to being an effective tool to shield your eyes from intense light, this accessory has become a fundamental element in creating our own personal style. We all have at least one pair to match our everyday outfit or to wear according to the mood of the moment.

The first specimens were used by the Eskimos to protect themselves from the sunrays that reflected off the glaciers, consisting only in frames made of animal bones or wood with a simple slit. The Roman Emperor Nero rather, according to Pliny’s accounts, watched upon the gladiator battles through emeralds.

The first glasses in smoky quartz appeared in China around the 12th century and were used mainly by judges to hide any expression in their eyes during interrogations. The first sunglasses with lenses that filtered UVA rays, which had not yet been discovered, were produced by the glassblowers of Murano in the 1700s. They were used by the Venetian nobility to protect their sight from the light reflected off the waters of the lagoon.

The coloured lenses were created with the purpose of protecting the eyes from the sun’s rays, being produced from the twentieth century onwards.

THE FIRST INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTS

Throughout the 20th century, the stars of Hollywood started to wear sunglasses so as not to be recognised by their fans and to protect themselves from the flashes of the paparazzi. This gave way to a trend that led to a large audience, especially lovers of the cinema, adopting glasses as a fashion accessory. The first industrial products came about, leading to this accessory becoming widespread.

In 1936, polarised sunglasses were invented, attracting the interest of pilots who, thanks to these special lenses, were able to improve their visibility and reduce glare. Just one year later, Ray-Ban submitted the patent for the “Ray-Ban Anti-glare”.

In 1938, over 20 million sunglasses were produced and sold in the United States, with only a quarter of these being purchased to protect the wearer from light. The rest were sold as aesthetic elements, before Harper’s Bazaar then consecrated them for the first time as true fashion accessories.

FRAMES

When we talk about frames, we mean the glasses without the lenses. That for sunglasses is greatly variable in terms of the structure. Having to mainly cover the eye, it is usually larger than that for eyeglasses or has a wrap-around shape, thus providing greater coverage. There are numerous  materials used to make the frames, each of which having specific features:

1) plastic: used mainly for fashion purposes, with the range of colours and textures being quite vast in fact;

2) metal: durable and resistant, it is a material suitable for a solid frame;

3) acetate: a solid and perennial material, which undergoes a particular heating technique that permits the obtainment of frames with shades of colours;

4) polyamide: given its flexibility, it is often used for sporty frames;

5) titanium: flexible, solid and lightweight, titanium is destined for use in high-end frames;

6) optyl: this thermo-elastic material is very comfortable, lightweight and hypoallergenic;

7) wood: innovative, light and pleasant to the touch, it is destined for more  glam frames.

LENSES

The lenses are created in materials of organic origin (plastic resins) and of mineral origin (glass).

Plastic: impact-resistant, lightweight, but with a lower refractive index.

Glass: scratch-resistant, thin, but heavier.

In addition to simple anti-scratch and anti-reflective treatments, other more particular treatments can be carried out to improve the filtering characteristics:

1) Coloured filter: filters certain frequencies in a more specific manner;

2) UV filter: filters ultraviolet radiation;

3) Polarising filter: greatly reduces or eliminates reflected light energy, which is particularly responsible for reflection;

4) Mirroring: the lens is covered with a thin layer that is partially reflective.

For an even more effective eye protection, it is important to choose the colour of your lenses well:

1) yellow: filtering ultraviolet radiation without darkening the landscape, giving a very pure vision;

2) brown, green, gray: protecting the eye from intense light, they are perfect for those with problems of myopia and hypermetropia;

3) blue, pink and fuchsia: only responding to the aesthetic aptitudes of fashion, they do not provide any protection from the sun.

HOW TO CHOOSE SUNGLASSES

Sunglasses are an accessory that can transform a person’s look, yet one must be careful not to choose a pair based solely on aesthetic factors. Here are some considerations to make before purchasing:

1) to protect your eyes, choose a good quality lens;

2) avoid “cheap” purchases, distrusting any models that cost must less than the average;

3) make sure the glasses are the right size, whilst the weight should be well distributed between ears and nose;

4) choose the colour of the lens that best suits the needs of your eyesight – do not be convinced by the dictates of the fashion of the moment;

5) choose the frames based on your face: square frames are good for rounded faces, rectangular frames suit heart-shaped faces, and round frames are great for square faces.

HANDMADE SUNGLASSES BY JAJO

This year marks the first season in which JAJO presents this accessory. Strictly handcrafted, JAJO glasses are made of wood from forest plantations treated in the respect of the territory and of biodiversity. The UV400 lens with medium filter comes in green or brown.

This fashion accessory is especially comfortable thanks to the lightness of the wood, which renders it possible to obtain a frame whose weight, of around 15 grams, is half that of a normal plastic frame.

To explore the new models JAJO, click here.

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