There’s no such thing as too many pairs of sunglasses.

Samantha August

‘Beautiful. Travel Ready. Low-cost, Recyclable.’

Hmmm … What or whom do you think this describes? Me? Neither Low-cost Nor recyclable, I’m afraid. Surprise answer: Sunglasses. Low cost? Recyclable? Yes, surprising as it might seem, Paper Shades of Hong Kong has developed and is now selling online, its menu of trendy sunglasses made of recycled paper. Hardly intuitive, eh? Of course, the lenses aren’t made of paper (Thank you, Ms Obvious!), but the frames are. By the way, the quality of the lenses is ‘… Excellent, same quality as you’d get on a US150 pair of glasses.’

How many times have I seen an old newspaper, magazine or egg box and said to myself, ‘Gee, that would make a good pair of sunglasses.’ Zero. That’s how many times. It takes a certain mind, I realise, to make the intuitive leap. Founder of Paper Shades, James Chu has that kind of mind. The idea is brilliant, maybe even transformative in the new retail world.

Generous in supplying information about the company he founded and the product it produces, James Chu describes the paper from which the shades are made: ‘We use a type of recycled paper called grey board. It’s the product of a variety of waste papers including egg boxes, magazines, newspapers and other waste paper.’ Those teeny hinges? ‘We use a small strip of PET plastic which can be recycled up to 15 times I believe. In the future we will be able to make the hinges out of paper as well.’ Isn’t this clever and green? One sobriquet that Paper Shades is floating on their website (papershades.net), is ‘Eco-Luxury Eyewear.’ That’s a good one. The glasses certainly look stylish. Luxurious, though? OK. I might have chosen ‘trendy’ or ‘sporty,’ but a look at the site will give you a enough information on which to base your own adjectives.

Priced at about SGD 22.00 a pop, the sunglasses are not bank-breakers. In fact, I could order a variety pack of styles and colours and still not reach the price of an average pair of sun cheaters in, say, an airport lounge emporium hoping to lure the impulse traveler/shopper  (Full disclosure – I have been that traveler/shopper). Not strictly disposable, as such, the glasses are a move in that direction. The website makes the point that they will last for about a year. Suits me. I’ll be ready for a new look in 2019. I’m thinking of the Purple Jungle Smalls – ‘Jungle vibes for the jungle fever! Our purple jungle smalls are ideal for festivals or celebrations that scream GOOD VIBES ONLY!’  I’ll be screaming!

Asked for a succinct reason to Buy Paper Shades rather than the usual brands, James Chu relies, ‘In most cases sunglasses are either lost or broken. You use your sunglasses outdoors, and if you lose or break them outdoors which most people do, they’ll probably be lost to nature, so better lose something that won’t harm the environment as much as plastic.’

Got it. Good vibes. Think of the conversational gambit built in to each pair. ‘Guess what these shades are made from,’ I’ll coyly ask at the next BBQ.

Aren’t Paper Shades an intriguing idea? I’m sure I’m not the only fashionista yearning for a drawer full of sunglasses, but reluctant to secure a loan required to do so. Paper Shades are made for the fickle follower of fashion that, as we all know, is janiqueel.com. Great idea, Mr. James Chu and company.

I think sometimes when you want attention, you can wear sunglasses, and people are like, ‘Who is that?

Kat Graham

Paper Shades crowdfunding here.

Categories: Celebrity Fashion