40 Best Independent Sunglasses Brands to Have on Your Radar
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of finding the perfect pair of sunglasses. While there’s no shortage of sunglasses brands offering a variety of styles inspired by the latest sunglasses trends, if you’re looking for high-quality sunglasses made with the utmost care, it’s time to explore the top independent sunglasses brands.
What exactly is independent eyewear/sunglasses?
Independent eyewear refers to any eyewear brand that isn’t owned by a larger corporate entity. Many popular sunglasses brands are actually owned by conglomerates. One of the largest players in the eyewear sector is Luxottica, an Italian eyewear company that is responsible for eyewear brands such as Oakley, Ray-Ban, Persol, Oliver Peoples, Alin Mikli, and Arnette.
While Luxottica has such a prominent footprint in the eyewear sector with a talent for cultivating premium eyewear brands (some of which we love), it’s hard to ignore the independent eyewear brands that are embracing high-quality materials, handmade frames, and sustainability.
As the demand for independent eyewear brands grows, so does the number of brands available in the eyewear industry. This gives you more choices when it comes to finding the perfect pair of glasses or sunglasses to suit your personal style.
Whether you’re looking for something classic or trendy, there’s an independent eyewear brand that’s sure to become your favorite go-to.
Independent Sunglasses Brands are on the Rise
Independent sunglasses brands have been on the rise in recent years. This is due in part to the unique designs, high-quality materials, and innovative engineering that the best independent sunglasses brands offer in their eyewear collections.
Breaking The Mold in the Eyewear Sector
The new trendsetters in the eyewear industry, indie brands are often more creative and experimental with their designs, which can lead to some truly unique and iconic frames.
For many, an independent brand is the new luxury brand. Beyond using luxury materials in their often handmade glasses, independent eyewear brands tend to offer a higher level of customer service, as they’re not bogged down by the bureaucracy that can come with large corporations. Some indie sunglasses brands even offer repair services to ensure the longevity of sunglasses and to lessen the environmental impact.
Best Independent Sunglasses Brands
While we still hold a special place in our hearts for some of the biggest brands like Ray-Ban, Oliver Peoples, Tom Ford, and Persol, if you’re looking for unique and stylish sunglasses from an independent brand that breaks the status quo, check out some of the best sunglasses brands offering luxury eyewear and affordable styles.
From retro-inspired designs to modern takes on the classics, these independent eyewear brands are worth considering for your next pair of shades.
Top Trending Independent Sunglasses Brands
These trending independent eyewear brands are making a statement in the eyewear industry, and they’re pushing boundaries when it comes to design.
From the cool, new designers taking over Instagram to the smaller labels on the rise, these are the trending sunglasses brands to shop for this season. So if you’re looking for something different (and maybe even a little edgy) in your eyewear repertoire, ditch the big names this season in favor of these emerging talents.
Please note while a few brands listed under our “Top Trending Independent Sunglasses Brands” curated collection are indeed sustainable, they are listed here for their rising popularity.
DMY by DMY
Founded in 2018 by Demi Mae Yip, DMY by DMY is a British independent sunglass brand focused on creating high-quality, affordable sunglasses. DMY by DMY sunglasses are handcrafted with sustainable materials sourced from the world’s leading supplier in Italy.
Each frame has its own personality with a distinctly nostalgic flavor. From “The Olsen” inspired by the Olsen twins to “The Valentina” inspired by 90s icons like Mariah Carey, it’s never a rare occasion to spot this sunglass brand on trendsetting celebrities.
Originally from Lebanon and now based in Dubai, Designer Karen Wazen created her own line that specializes in bold eyewear that draws equal inspiration from the vibrancy of her adopted home of Dubai and her busy lifestyle as a working mother.
Quickly becoming one of the most popular independent eyewear brands, this eyewear collection delivers the best on-trend sunglasses season to season.
A West Australian-born designer who started her label in 2008, Poppy Lissiman designs retro-chic pieces that are handmade, high quality, and always eye-catching.
With a focus on sustainability, all of her pieces are ethically produced. With a unique retro charm, her eccentric and quirky designs have quickly become cult favorites among stylists and celebrities.
Founded in Berlin in 2003, MYKITA sunglasses bring German engineering to the forefront with experimental and forward-looking designs reflected in their sleek, modern frames which have become synonymous with quality craftsmanship.
With a team made up of designers and engineers, significant research and development go into advancing the materials, design, and overall quality of MYKITA sunglasses, and it shows.
Founder Georgia Williams debuted Vehla in 2019. Since then, the brand has been dominating Instagram feeds, and for good reason. VEHLA features timeless, classic, and vintage-inspired designs with a focus on affordability without compromising quality.
While VEHLA’s “Olsen” sunglasses are very popular amongst A-listers, the Dixie and Phoenix sunglasses (which serve serious retro vibes) are also a fan favorite and have become a staple amongst influencers.
Founded in 2013, contemporary Spanish eyewear brand Kaleos is known for its inventive silhouettes and premium quality. Kaleos is a Greek word meaning “beautiful shape” which is the driving force behind each and every Kaleos design.
One of the most meticulous independent eyewear brands, each new design takes at least a year and a half of tweaking before it’s ready for sale. Free international shipping to the United States.
Le Specs, since its inception in 1979, has become known worldwide for its distinctive and creative sunglasses at an affordable price. Le Specs earned a cult following around the world and became a trendsetter in the global fashion industry.
Designed in Sydney, Australia, each sunglasses frame is crafted with a combination of handwork and state-of-the-art machinery.
This sunglass brand is the French word for fierce, which is the dominant theme of the brand’s eyewear collections featuring bold yet sleek silhouettes that are a nod to Parisian style.
One of the more affordable independent sunglasses brands, don’t be fooled by the affordable price tag. Each pair is handcrafted with premium materials made to last.
One of the most innovative independent brands, Gentle Monster was founded in Seoul, South Korea in 2011 by Hankook Kim with a mission to fill the gap in the Asian market by taking the oversized frames trend to the next level. Today, Gentle Monster is a top leader in experimental design.
Based in Brooklyn New York, INDY eyewear was founded by designer Indie McFarlane. Her designs are inspired by the streets of New York, channeling the vibrant energy of the city that never sleeps.
The chic, affordable frames are made with quality materials that offer full protection from harmful UV rays and are designed for all face shapes and seasons. One of the must-have independent eyewear brands, these designer frames can be spotted on stylists and celebrities like Alicia Keys.
Based in New York City, Illesteva’s eyewear collections are dreamed up with hand-drawn designs in their Soho studio while every frame is handcrafted in small family-owned factories in Italy and France.
Illesteva’s signature style is a combination of classic shapes and modern details. The sunglass brand offers a wide variety of beautiful frames, including aviator, cat-eye, wayfarer, round, and oval sunglasses made with only premium materials.
Aperçu is a French-inspired sunglass brand that takes its cues from sleek, clean lines and easy-to-wear shapes. One of the chicest independent eyewear brands, the foundation of Aperçu designs begins with three essential frame shapes: Le Rond, Le Carré, and Le Chat.
The result is elegant silhouettes that are easy to wear across a variety of face shapes. These enchanting, vintage-inspired sunglasses, are also available in a variety of thoughtfully-curated color pairings.
Roberi & Fraud
One of Dubai’s top independent sunglasses brands, Roberi & Fraud was founded by friends Ali Mehrdad Soudbakhsh and Stefan Foster in 2017.
This independent eyewear brand offers elevated yet accessible genderless designs that exude a “retro-futurist” style. Roberi & Fraud has mastered creating eyewear made from luxurious stainless steel and acetate materials. Their modernized frames are inspired by styles from the 80s and 90s, often defined by a slim silhouette.
One of the most unique independent brands, TOL eyewear is an Amsterdam-based design studio founded by creatives Linda Tol and Marieke Meulendijks.
At the intersection of sculptural design, contemporary art, and fashion, TOL eyewear takes an artful approach to designing the brand’s distinctive frames which embrace a modern twist on iconic shapes finished with a unique edge. The result is sunglasses flaunting futuristic shapes defined by meticulous attention to detail and quality.
Founded by Sterling Barrett in 2013, Barrett invested his savings in the very first batch of KREWE frames, selling his designs from a mobile cart attached to a bike at festivals around New Orleans.
Krewe’s sunglasses designs are inspired by the vibrance of New Orleans and are made with handcrafted frames and 24-karat gold detailing. They even have a second chance program where they will repair any first-time damages.
Coco and Breezy
Coco and Breezy Eyewear was founded in 2009 by twin designers Corianna and Brianna Dotson. Eyewear designers, visual artists, and DJs, you can expect bold, modern designs and playful “remixes” on vintage silhouettes that take their cue from a multitude of creative outlets.
Coco and Breezy’s early designs include the “third-eye” sunglasses designed in collaboration with the late Prince. Today, this duo is quickly cultivating one of the best sunglasses brands.
Founded in 2015 by Indonesian designer Fahrani Empel, Pawaka is a Sanskrit word for Fire and the code name of her grandfather in WW II. PAWAKA shades have bold geometric frames often paired with colorfully tinted lenses for a futuristic take on classic styles. PAWAKA’s eyewear collection is handcrafted by Japanese artisans.
Oscar and Frank
One of the emerging independent eyewear brands making waves in the eyewear sector is Australia-based Oscar and Frank. Each and every frame is handcrafted using the world’s finest materials sourced from Italy, France & Germany with bold and unique styles reflecting the latest trends. Quickly becoming a celebrity favorite, Oscar and Frank has been spotted on everyone from Hailey and Justin Bieber to NBA player Serge Ibaka.
Inspired by his father who founded the iconic brand Oliver Peoples and the creative culture of Venice Beach, Garett Leight had a new vision for the next generation of independent eyewear brands.
Launching his brand in 2010, he focused on quality-crafted lenses featuring modern designs with a California aesthetic. Today, you can customize your own pair of sunglasses down to every detail.
Cutler and Gross
Founded in 1969 by Graham Cutler and Tony Gross, this timeless brand has been artfully merging classic British “cool” with craftmanship for over 50 years. Each pair is made in Italy by experienced artisans who champion the art of making every frame individually with the finest raw materials.
Dot Dot brings a touch of luxury to the world of Australian-made sunglasses. Each pair is created by artisans in Sabae, Japan, a small town known for its craftmanship producing 95% of all eyewear made in Japan this past century.
With genderless sunglasses designs to suit all face shapes, each frame has been meticulously master-crafted by hand using the finest Japanese titanium and acetates.
Founded in 2008 by Justin Heit, Jordan Percy, and Jeremy Heit, RAEN has since become one of the thought leaders in independent eyewear brands. Handcrafted in a variety of shapes, styles, and solid colors, these modern shades inspired by timeless classics have been seen on everyone from Gigi Hadid to Rihanna, Shay Mitchell and Wiz Khalifa.
Known for her maximalist accessories, Lele Sadoughi designs sunglasses for when you’re feeling a bit extra. Her eyewear collection runs the gamut from classic sleek designs to unique frames including heart-shaped and sunflower-shaped silhouettes.
One of the more eccentric independent brands made popular by K-Pop, the fashion eyewear brand MUZIK started in 2013 as the first artwork of MUZIK studio in Korea, an artist collective. Manufactured in France with premium quality frames utilizing DIVEL ITALIA solar lenses, the modern designs are inspired by music.
Ace & Tate
Perfectionists who are obsessed with details, all Ace & Tate frames are designed in Amsterdam, with the brand overseeing every step from mood board creation to the final touches. Ace & Tate takes quality to the next level by creating eyewear with a meticulous process that includes over 100 steps taking 3 months to complete a single pair.
The word ‘pare’ means to cut something back or refine it; this is the fundamental design philosophy behind Pared eyewear’s simplistic yet sleek designs. Pared frames are handmade using high-quality 6mm acetates sourced from DAICEL and Mazzucelli, which are considered some of the best manufacturers of acetate in the optical industry.
Best Sustainable Independent Sunglasses Brands
This curated collection features high-quality sunglasses brands that are sustainable and eco-friendly.
Founded by Nora Cabrera and Fabio Ferracane who are industry veterans in the eyewear sector, sustainable brand MITA calls Miami’s vibrant Wynwood District home. One of the most sustainable independent eyewear brands, MITA upcycles 5 water bottles to produce one pair of stylish sunglasses.
LA-based AKILA focuses on creating eyewear that is stylish and sustainably crafted from eco-friendly acetate with plastic-free biodegradable packaging. Never compromising quality, block out harmful UV rays with AKILA optical grade lenses that offer 100% UVA/UVB protection.
With Lexxola, their customers are in the driver’s seat. Lexxola uses customer feedback through surveys and focus groups to design each new pair of genderless sunglasses. With a focus on sustainability, Lexxola was certified carbon positive in 2022. This means they offset twice as much carbon as they use.
The sunglass brand also creates biodegradable frames made with 100% Bio Acetate in a manufacturing lab powered by green energy.
Founded by Jennifer J Matchett, MACHETE is a line of eco-conscious, affordable sunglasses & accessories located in Atlanta, Georgia. Each pair is handmade from start to finish using a variety of environmentally friendly materials.
Made in downtown Los Angeles, Bonnie Clyde features bright and playful genderless sunglasses designs. Founded by Jon Yuan, a veteran in independent eyewear brands with artisanal eyewear steeped in his family history, the brand is committed to sustainability through family manufacturing, quality materials, and maintaining a small, independent team of four.
Say it with me: repairs and readjustments for life. When shopping with Cubbitts you aren’t just purchasing quality sunglasses, you are thoughtfully selecting an eyewear companion for life.
The Cubbitts brand aligns with “redux” rather than sustainability due to their mission to design timeless eyewear that can be used, repaired, and ultimately recycled.
One of the most holistic independent eyewear brands when it comes to sustainability, Szades recycles old, out-of-use sunglasses that were destined for the landfill into new, stylish sunglasses.
The recycled frames are broken down and processed into raw materials before it becomes a pair of Szades. Along with a number of other sustainability measures, the brand powers its business with renewable energy.
With frames built for longevity, AM Eyewear uses plant-based Acetate in all of its cellulose frames, and all of the brand’s offices utilize green energy.
But, what really makes this sustainable sunglasses brand even more compelling is its buy-back program that prevents AM Eyewear from ever seeing a landfill. The indie brand will buy back your pre-loved AM eyewear frames so they can be donated to someone who needs them.
Best Luxury Indendependent Eyewear Brands
These independent eyewear brands are some of the best sunglasses brands in the luxury sector. These luxury sunglasses and high-end eyewear are priced at $500 or higher.
Jacques Marie Mage
Founded by Jerome Mage in 2015, Los Angeles-based Jacques Marie Mage creates limited edition luxury eyewear utilizing premium materials made in small batches with each release never exceeding 500 pairs.
The new standard in luxury eyewear, Jacques Marie Mage eyewear is handcrafted in Italy and Japan with classic silhouettes such as aviators, cat-eyes, wayfarers, and wraparounds — all designed to encapsulate a cinematic allure that only Jacques Marie Mage can deliver.
Founded in Los Angeles in the 1980s by Richard Stark, Leonard Kamhout, and John Bowman, Chrome Hearts is an iconic indie brand originally known for its luxury leather goods and high-end silver accessories. Infamous for its biker and rock and roll edge, as the brand evolved, so did its eyewear collection.
In 2020, Chrome Hearts partnered with Bella Hadid to launch a sunglasses collection called Hellz Bellz featuring 90s-inspired rectangular shades with pastel lenses.
AHLEM brings arts and culture into the world of indie brands. Launched in 2014 by Paris-born, Los Angeles-based designer Ahlem Manai Platt, AHLEM and all its frames encapsulate 20th-century Bauhaus design principles. With rigorous attention to detail, exceptional materials, and a commitment to sustainability, these shades are worth the investment.
One of the bolder independent eyewear brands known for its retro designs, Lapima sunglasses are all handcrafted by local artisans in São Paulo.
Founded by husband-and-wife duo Gisela and Gustavo Assis, this Brazilian brand set the stage for the 70’s-inspired sunglasses trend taking over summer wardrobes.
International shipping is available.
From natural horn to sterling silver, Rigards frames have cultivated an instantly recognizable style that masterfully brings an understated elegance to avant-garde designs. Founder and designer Ti Kwa doesn’t just design eyewear. He sets out to craft heirloom, handmade glasses that you can pass on to the next generation. A Japanese brand, Rigards eyewear, and all its frames are handcrafted by artisans in Hong Kong.
One of the best sunglasses brands that started it all with original trendsetting designs as far back as the 70s, the brand was revived in 2003 by Farrow’s son Simon after a 20-year hiatus following the discovery of an archive of vintage sunglasses in the family’s London warehouse.
Today, operating under the original LINDA FARROW name, the brand is renowned for collaborating with some of the world’s most acclaimed designers – Area, Y/Project, Dries van Noten, and Phillip Lim.