The luxury fashion industry is having a massive shift across all of its product offerings, and this has also had a big impact on sunglasses. For many of the traditional luxury brands, sunglasses have been a way of a more accessible product to a mass-market - such as what perfume has been for decades.
However, the luxury sunglasses market isn’t just limited to the likes of staple luxury brands such as Tom Ford and Prada, “We’re seeing a huge wave of exciting new brands taking a stance and redefining what luxury means, especially when it comes to sunglasses” says Fashion and Creative Consultant, Hans N Tranberg (opens in new tab), who’s worked with some of the world’s most renowned lifestyle brands, agencies and fashion designers.
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“This is especially true for Gen-Z consumers, for whom luxury has become a way more individual experience. Take, for instance, how hype culture and social media has had a big role in dictating what’s hot and what’s not.
“Luxury sunglasses aren’t always about the quality, brand or price - but the feeling, look and clout you get from wearing them.”
So, while steering clear of the more traditional designer labels that line the high streets, which luxury sunglasses brands should be on your radar ahead of those sunnier days heading our way? We’ve enlisted the help of Tranberg to reveal the luxury sunglasses brands you need to know about this year.
1. Gentle Monster
The Gentle Monster (opens in new tab) brand emerged from South Korea a few years ago after being seen on some of the biggest K-POP stars and celebrities. It has since upped the ante, making a huge global impact by securing collaborations with the likes of Huawei, World of Warcraft, Kris Wu, Marine Serre and YK Jeong.
“The brand isn't afraid of pushing boundaries but, at the same time, stocks sunglasses that are more traditional and commercial in style,” says Tranberg. “On top of that, it boasts one of the coolest retail spaces with an experience similar to Dover Street Market".
Spanish brand Balenciaga (opens in new tab) might be one of the more "traditional" fashion labels, but in recent years the company has completely shifted its traditional styles and silhouettes, and so as far as we’re concerned, should be considered among other luxury newcomers when it comes to sunglasses.
“On top of dressing the celebrity elites such as Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, Balenciaga’s range of sunglasses offer both the unconventional and exciting, as well as more traditional shapes,” explains Tranberg.
“The brand is really pushing consumers when it comes to colour, sizes and also its very active approach to sustainability.”
It comes as no surprise then that their runway styles sell out immediately as they hit shop floors.
Japanese-Korean company Ambush (opens in new tab) is creatively led by Yoon Ahn, who’s also the lead jewellery creative for Dior Homme. If that’s not reason enough for it to warrant a place in our list of must-know luxury sunglasses brands, we don’t know what is!
“Abush has been one of the coolest brands to emerge out of Japan and South Korea,” says Tranberg. “With previous collaborations with other luxury sunglasses makers, such as Gentle Monster, Ambush’s own line demonstrates a very playful take on traditional sunglasses shapes throughout the decades, but inserts coloured glass and ombre effects to make something totally unique."
This handmade designer eyewear outfit from Berlin went viral a few years ago for creating oversized visors, which eventually got copied and duplicated by lots of fast fashion brands. Since then, Mykita (opens in new tab) has continued to level up its sunglasses game, producing some super luxe yet effortlessly classic designs that are hard not to fall in love with.
“Mykita's handmade designs are ultra-luxurious, but at the same time very cool and so draws in the creative crowd,” explains Tranberg. “It does exactly what a lot of the more exciting brands do: offer something from mild to wild, enabling a very diverse consumer crowd.”
You might recognise the brand from some of its previous partnerships, including world-class camera manufacturer Leica and Bernhard Willhelm, which garnered heaps of attention.
5. E.B Meyrowitz
Luxury eyewear brand E.B Meyrowitz (opens in new tab) not only has a stunning ready-to-wear collection, but also specialises in custom-made styles for whoever wants them, or at least can afford them.
“E.B Meyrowitz is probably the crème de la crème of luxury glasses brands on the market right now,” claims Tranberg. “The brand goes overseas on ‘tours’ with its artisans and designers in London to create custom designs and sunglasses frames for high-end clientele in Asia and the US.
“Although a heritage brand, it's incredibly stylish with incredible quality and craftsmanship.”
Can you get more luxury than that?
Now, if you're not interested in luxury, then you could also check out the best cycling sunglasses and the best driving sunglasses.