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One of the World’s Biggest Luxury Eyewear Makers Is About to Start Using Recycled Ocean Trash

The partnership represents a breakthrough in sustainable eyewear.

Safilo Aquafil sustainable sunglasses Courtesy of Safilo

Eyewear manufacturing giant Safilo—the company that makes specs and sunglasses for some of the biggest names in luxury—is going green with the help of new eco-friendly materials.

The Italian firm has partnered with synthetic fibers manufacturer Aquafil to begin using its patented sustainable offerings, Econyl in particular. The special regenerated nylon is having a moment in fashion; Prada, perhaps the most high-profile user of nylon in luxury fashion, is using it in a lineup of nylon accessories and plans to replace its virgin nylon with Econyl in the future. But Safilo’s partnership with Aquafil marks the first time the material has been used in eyewear.

“This sustainable material will allow us to make our contribution and create products without using new resources. Our intention is to expand the use of Econyl as much as possible in order to decrease our carbon footprint,” said Angelo Trocchia, Safilo Group’s chief executive officer, in a statement. Aquafil’s CEO Giulio Bonazzi echoed the excitement saying, “It is a completely new sector in which our ECONYL® material is now used, and it is this pioneering spirit that most unites us with a company like Safilo, which, like us, has innovation in its DNA.”

Tommy Jeans Aquafil Safilo sunglasses

Tommy Jeans sunglasses made with Econyl.  Courtesy of Safilo

Econyl is made through the processing and purification of plastic waste, including discarded carpets and scrap fabrics as well as old fishing nets recovered from the ocean––all things which have, unfortunately, become abundant worldwide.

Safilo has long been held the license for Tommy Jeans’ eyewear and renewed its contract with the brand two years ago. Tommy Jeans is the first label within Safilo’s portfolio to experiment with the novel material, but it certainly won’t be the last. Safilo noted that it plans to extend its use to others in the group, the likes of which include Marc Jacobs, Fendi and Givenchy. The company has plans to launch the eyewear franchises for three new brands this year alone––Missoni, Levi’s and David Beckham––which will surely get similar treatment somewhere down the line.


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