At the weekend the Bradshaw family took their first trip outside of Britain for 4 years. It was only a day trip to Paris but was a well needed day out, made even better by the bright sunshine. That being said it did serve to highlight our collective need to invest in some new sunglasses before the fabulous British summer hits. Now our question is – can we buy British made shades for the whole family?
There seems to be a number of companies producing sunglasses in the UK. However, the vast majority that are truly made in Britain, annoyingly like most fashion items, occupy the top end of the market. After a review of every British manufacturer of sunglasses here is what we found:
Rather unusually these guys design their glasses in Holland but actually manufacture them in the UK. They hand make funky retro-inspired designs that look rather striking. However, if you baulk at the £300 price tag for a pair of ‘Fan’s’ I am afraid that things, from a price perspective, are not going to get much better as you work your way through the rest of this list.
A frame manufacturer for over 25 years, Opera Opera are optometrists first, fashion designers second. There eclectic range tends to be vintage inspired reproducing designs as worn by John Lennon, Buddy Holly and Jonny Depp. Their sunglasses start at a comparatively reasonable £205
Is a British brand that is a sister company of the ill-fated camera manufacturer. Their frames are actually made abroad but they appear on this list because they are the only British based sunglasses lenses manufacturer. With prices from around £50 they are well priced and have a great range. You can also find them on the high street.
A bit of a wild card perhaps but Occles make blackout sunglasses here in the UK. What are blackout sunglasses you ask? Well, basically they block the sun completely while sunbathing while allowing you to tan without the usual white lines traditional sunnies might make. If that is your thing then a pair of Occles will set you back just £22… bargain… but you might get some odd looks on the beach.
Edward Gucewicz makes a single style of sunglasses out of buffalo horn. They are pretty great looking and I would love a pair but at nearly £700 they have a very specific audience (which does not include me).
Banton Frame Works
If you are looking for a well priced (around £150), fashionable and British made pair of sunglasses our winner might be Banton Frame Works. With a nice range of glasses to choose from these could be an option for us.
If you want to look like your favourite film star Premiere Optica have the specs for you. However, they even offer the option to design your own.
Made from a cellulose acetate derived from cotton pulp, Tender produce a single style of sunglasses in an retro 1950’s design. They admittedly look pretty good but at £445 they may price many out of the market.
CW Dixey and Son
Established in 1777, C.W. Dixey & Son claim to be the oldest independent eyewear company in the world. While not strictly producing sunglasses they produce a variety of frames which also benefit for the patronage of Sir Winson Churchill. It is fair to say that their collection is likely to jar with some modern tastes but I would not mind a pair in the slightest.
Yes, wooden sunglasses are actually a thing and there seems to be a number of British based makers. Whether a gimmick or a hipsters dream, wooden sunglasses seem to be here to stay. As far as I am concerned I am undecided. Companies that make them include;
Moats – prices from £200
Barrow & Flux – price unknown
Termite – prices from £180
There you have it – a pretty comprehensive rundown of the options open to you if you are looking to buy British shades this summer. If you have any experience with the brands above or know of any other British made sunglasses please comment below.