The fashion world is ruled by what looks good. Granted, this is an ever-changing thing that can’t be quantified by anything even remotely resembling science. When you start factoring in Earth-conscious, ethical methods of fashion production, sometimes that style—whatever it may happen to be this year—starts to suffer. That’s why when I heard about ZEAL Optics I thought, “Oh, these will be cute for days when I don’t feel like shaving my legs, and I have a yoga class to attend.” (It’s not a stereotype. Don’t get your panties in a twist. Some days, I simply don’t want to shave my legs, and I also happen to practice yoga.)
Boy was I wrong! Rather than looking like they’re eco-friendly, ZEAL Optics crafts biodegradable sunglasses and goggles in such a variety of styles that just about anything you want is available. From the girly Dakota frames in a smoky plum hue called “Aurora” to the über-sporty Snapshot—available in nine styles to suit any guy or girl—the offering is huge. And they don’t look like they’re made out of cork or wood. You know the ones I’m talking about.
What’s really cool about ZEAL shades is that they’re made with the environment in mind. Any frame that seems to be made of plastic is actually the end product of plant-based resins. The technology, called Z-Resin, is made from the castor bean, which is not only a renewable plant, it also doesn’t compete with other crops where it’s grown.
As if that weren’t enough, the lenses are also plant-based. ZEAL’s proprietary E-llume lenses are crafted with a plant-based agent that replaces petroleum-based ingredients that typically grace the faces of sunglass wearers every day. The lenses provide the same UV protection that you expect from any pair of sunglasses you just happen to pick up at the store. But wait, there’s more (yes, I’m starting to feel like an infomercial). ZEAL frames are prescription ready, and they even have an in-house prescription lab—appropriately called the Rx lab—that crafts prescription lenses, should you be in the market for a pair. The fact that it’s in-house means that there’s no shipping between locations, which cuts down on the use of fossil fuels and packing materials.
You’ve probably caught the recent buzz about wearable technology. ZEAL takes the concept to a new level; marketing HD video goggles so that you can record your jumps and flips on the mountain while snowboarding. Of course, if you don’t have an overwhelming desire to film everything you do, ZEAL also offers a wide range of video-free goggles for sporting use. Although, I think I’d be tempted to try a pair of the GPS-equipped goggles because nobody likes getting lost out in the snow.