As festival season kicks off and summer is finally on the way there are a few must-cop essentials to refresh your wardrobe for the warmer months. If you haven’t already hopped on the micro-sunglasses trend, there couldn’t be a better time. Equal parts ‘90s and very futuristic, practical they are not, but fashion never requires that.
On a January 2018 episode of “Keeping Up With The Kardashians,” Kim Kardashian pointed out her husband, Kanye West, was the entire reason she started taking eyewear inspo from the The Matrix. “Kanye sent me a whole email like, ‘You cannot wear big glasses any more. It’s all about tiny little glasses,’” she said. And it isn’t just the Kardashian crew and their periphery of equally stylish friends. Mega stars like Rihanna and Beyoncé are fully on board, as well.
In addition to celebs and our favorite internet fashion icons, they’ve been all over the runways as well. Major fashion houses like Prada and Louis Vuitton included petite frames in their shows while every single fast fashion brand created iterations of their own tiny shades. And to absolutely no one’s surprise, we can look to Demna Gvasalia’s Balenciaga Spring/Summer 2017 show for some of the first examples of ‘90s frames revival.
Since then, we’ve seen a few standout brands whose specs seem to be resting on the tips of everyone’s noses, and interestingly, our favorites are all from Australia. Here’s who you need to know and some of your best options from each brand.
Arguably the most popular of all of the cat eye versions of the tiny shades, Le Specs’ Adam Selman collab known as the “Lolita” has been in a perpetual state of sold out at most retailers for the last eight months. Founded in 1979, Le Specs can credit the Lolita to the recent growth and surge of relevance. Since Gigi Hadid uploaded a selfie in the frames in July 2017, they are now carried at over 1,000 retailers in 70 countries (up from 58 before the collaboration), the company saw a 10 percent sales increase and is on track to become a $100 million company.
The wildest part? Although the Lolita is not Adam Selman and Le Specs first sunglasses collaboration, the partnership was the first time Selman tried his hand at eyewear and the Lolita is the second silhouette to come out of it.
Founded in 2004, Quay Australia is truly a millennials brand. Having built their buzz with strategic influencer collaborations and very affordable frames (ranging from $39 to $65 USD), they were started for festival style. Last year, they partnered with the youngest Jenner for two sets of releases. The first Kylie x Quay collection came in summer 2017 followed by the second only a few months later in September.
In addition to the Jenner touch, they’ve collaborated with Jasmine Sanders aka GoldenBarbie, featured Sofia Richie in the campaign, and their latest partnership is with mega-influencer Desi Perkins. With the success of the women’s line, they’re putting more into their men’s frames, too, all while still releasing their own original sunglasses. Outside of the major collabs, the Something Extra, the Strange Love, and the Purple Honeys are a few sets you should consider.
Even if you don’t know her name, you know the frame–Le Skinny. Poppy Lissiman first started designing the skinnier than average frames in February 2017. By May the pre-order available an entire month before release was fully sold out. In the last 11 months we’d come to see the array of brightly colored micro-lenses on everyone from Adowa Aboah and Rihanna to just last week on Teyana Taylor during weekend one at Coachella.
At 19-years old, Lissiman opened a shop with mostly apparel, but upon realizing it was her accessories that really stood out she shifted her focus to that. In 2012 she’d start her e-commerce site which would garner a lot more traction than the brick and mortar.
No stranger to trendsetting tiny glasses, it was the Hadid sisters wearing them during Milan Fashion Week in January that really set things off, but Lissiman has other extremely popular pairs like the bejeweled Crystal Beth that’s been seen on Kali Uchis and Kehlani. Best part? Every pair is priced just around $100, optimal for having multiple pairs for yourself.
A little higher price point than the others, the Sydney-based global eyewear brand was founded by husband and wife duo, Ed Baker and Sam Stevenson, in 2012 and launched with five styles. Since then, they’ve been worn by the likes of Beyonce and Brad Pitt, casually. Unlike other trendy brands, Pared’s can even have your prescription lenses in them if you’d like.
In the summer of 2017, Pared was one of two accessories brands chosen by the Australian Fashion Chamber to preview in New York for U.S. press. It was around then the Queen B wore them. It’s no wonder that they now have their heaviest following here in the states.
Less extreme than the others, Pared absolutely kills the retro frames–classic cat eye to more angular acetate frames–with the most of the moment pair being the Bec + Bridge Petit Amour which is being carried everywhere from online at Moda Operandi to New York’s own Kith. They even collaborated with jewelry brand Poms and featured frames with little Swarovski crystals dangling off each arm of each pair, an equally eye catching alternative to the extremely skinny sets.
Words by Rae Witte whose shade game is among the meanest!