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Sunglasses for future
Bavarian eyewear startup revolutionizes wooden sunglasses and makes them more sustainable by using newly-developed wood modfication(lifePR) ( Freising, )
Not only since the rise of the Fridays for future protests many companies are trying to design their products and services in a more resourceful and sustainable way, with foremost reasons being the ongoing public debates on climate change and in result shifting consumer demands. Having renewables as the main energy source in production, creating new more resourceful designs or switching to sustainable materials such as wood are just a few examples of how companies are tackling this issue. While the demand for such products is steadily increasing, despite of plenty available alternatives to conventional ones it does not quite mirror the need for action. So, what are the reason for that?
For Sebastian Wittmann who together whit his former fellow student Linus Frank has founded freischt eyewear, the reason is obvious. “People want to live in a more sustainable way, but without making any compromises”. According to Mr. Wittmann sustainable products are having difficulties to catch up to conventional ones because of the disadvantages they have in comparison.
Five years ago the two founders, who are now accompanied by Designer Thomas Winter and Quality Manager Alen Schiffner, started with the vision to create the world’s first adjustable solid wooden frames by creating a new way of wood modification. The goal was set “they had to be as convenient as conventional frames” as Frank explains and adds “without the use of layers, inlays or glue”.
It seems that there was no other option than solid wood because "only filigree solid wood spectacles deserve the name wooden spectacles" as Winter explains. This vision is shaped by Frank’s family background of 75 years of experience in the making of musical instruments. Frank's father - Dieter Frank - still makes historical string instruments ("Frank"-Fidel) purely by hand.
Therefore they advertise their current eyewear collection with the word "uncompromising" and sell the prescription frames to the end customer only via opticians. New and innovative, however, would work just as well as a description because in contrast to current wooden spectacles which essentially consist of glued layers of wood, freisicht frames are milled from a single block of solid wood.
"This is only possible thanks to our innovative wood modification developed in-house, which significantly improves the technical properties of the wood and at the same time enhances the wood's appearance through a special colouring," says Frank, who is the inventor of this newly wood treatment method. This method – named woodflex®- for which a patent has already been applied, allows the wood to be shaped by heat and to significantly increase its resistance. These are indispensable properties for spectacle frames that were not present at all or only insufficiently present in previous wooden spectacles. For this idea the team was rewarded with EXIST (a founder scholarship by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy) and won the Plan-B contest (a Bavarian start-up competition for bio-based business ideas)
"You have to replace product by product with more sustainable alternatives," says Frank. Which is why he and his colleagues want to establish their new brand called ‘save’ "sustainable sunglasses made of solid wood and without compromises in function and design" adds Winter adds.
For this vision, the team would like to win as many supporters as possible for their crowdfunding project. By inspecting the first prototypes it becomes apparent that each model is actually unique due to the individual wood grain. Whether they are both unique and beautiful is probably to decide by oneself. Others have already made a judgement about this. The young company has already won both the Green Product Award and the European Design Award with its first collection.
In the end, we will at least be able to see whether Wittmann's statement was true. Namely, whether customers are really prepared for sustainable alternatives, as long as these can be obtained without compromises.
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