Sustainability is not a new topic of conversation for Le Specs creative director Hamish Tame. Since the brand's inception, the team behind the iconic sunglass brand have been working to continuously push boundaries and pave the way to a greener industry, and its latest launch is nothing short of fashion innovation at its finest.
Le Specs has introduced its first-ever Le Sustain collection, a standalone series of signature styles made from completely sustainable materials with a zero-waste componentry. It's frames, featuring the D-Frame and Bandwagon, are made from 23 per cent meadow grass and 77 per cent recycled plastic, with its pouch and packaging also being made from recycled and sustainably sourced materials.
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Of the almost two year journey to creating the completely sustainable collection, Tame tells marie claire it was nothing short of "hurdles and roadblocks."
"We've launched Le Sustain as a stand-alone collection because we'd been workshopping different ideas for quite a couple of years prior and every time we started to discuss it, it was always met with a hurdle or roadblock," the creative director says.
The team tried materials such as cornstarch before finally discovering meadowgrass and beginning the initial stages of creating the new collection. "If the material is too biodegradable or can disintegrate within a couple of years, there's always kind of some sort of reason for why it wouldn't work," Tame explains. "We came across this material that uses the Truegrass, which is the recycled plastic and grass."
Tame adds, "We started to work with the factory on it, making sure that it started off as quite a soft material and working the structural side of making it physically possible to, just firstly, into a sunglass that's going to last the test of time and be able to do all of the things that you do with your sunglasses. And we started to sort of make some progress there and the idea sort of as we got more into, it became exciting."
Once discovering that a collection made from recycled plastic and grass was, in fact, a viable option that would not only allow for a completely sustainable sunglass, but also one that would be as high-quality as what the brand has produced in the past, Tame decided other facets of the brand needed to follow suit.
"We didn't want it to just be a sunglass that used the environmental or a sustainable material, but then everything else kind of was the same as what we'd always done," he says. "I think unknowingly, unknowing of how much work it was going to be, we set out to kind of go, you know what, let's launch this as a stand-alone collection and every single detail, every single link in the way that we do things or the components that we can be proud and go, if someone comes and asks us why we've done something, that people can't pick it apart and go, Oh, that's great that you've used a sustainable material, but it's still packed in a polybag, or it's still doing the things that are bad for the environment or damaging to the way that we live."
As for why Tame feels the need to continuously strive to push Le Specs' stance of sustainability comes down to using the brand's loyal following for good. "We have this platform of speaking to millennials and Gen Z, and if we don't do it, who else is going to," he says. "It's not that we're going to solve the problem on our own, but if we're there with a couple of 100,000 followers and then the best retailers in the world, it's kind of our responsibility to do it."
Tame continues, "I think that was probably the shift from going, this is really overwhelming and hard, and it almost seems impossible to, this is actually something that I feel obliged to do and it's my duty in a sense of using our influence or our platform."
Below, some of our favourite picks from the new Le Sustain collection.
Grass Half Full - Burgundy, $89; au.lespecs.com
Grassy Knoll - Black, $89; au.lespecs.com