Environmentally friendly frames
Neubau Eyewear’s head of marketing for UK and EIRE, Karen Parsons, discusses the launch of the sustainable urban brand and its focus on producing quality frames in an ethical way
01 Neubau Eyewear was launched in June 2016 by Silhouette International. It aims to provide a fresh twist on high quality eyewear and is targeted at the younger demographic who are looking for a quality product that has a unique style.
A large focus for neubau is its desire to treat nature with respect and to create beautiful designs that are of high quality, but in a sustainable way. This is of particular importance for neubau because we realise that the consumer who we are targeting cares about the environment as much as we do.
In recent years a trend has been emerging as consumers increasingly check where a product comes from – it is not unusual to see people walking around the supermarket checking if a product, for example, contains palm oil, or if its packaging is recyclable. This is something Neubau cares about as a company too and we work to ensure that we are operating in the most sustainable way possible.
02 Earlier this year we launched our first natural PX frames, which are developed from eco-friendly polymer. Since April all of our polymer frames have been produced using this method.
Natural PX is made from organically sourced and renewable products. A highly renewable natural resource, natural PX polymer is made from an oil that is extracted from the seeds of castor oil plants. The production process of castor oil has a low energy dependence and simply involves the de-husking and pressing of the plant. The whole manufacturing process uses significantly less energy and effectively reduces our carbon dioxide emissions.
Combining this material with SPX means that you don’t compromise on quality in terms of lightness, elasticity and strength, meaning that the product is built to last. When someone purchases a pair of Neubau frames, they are not just buying something that is lovely, light and comfortable to wear, they know that as a business we are really trying to do everything we can to reduce our company’s carbon footprint.
"We are by no means perfect, but this is the beginning of a new way of thinking and defining our goals where the environment is of the upmost importance"
03 When neubau was established, we launched with a really strong optical range and have been slowly growing bit by bit. We now offer a very broad range of both optical and sunwear that has lots of character.
Our collection comprises frames that are made from natural PX, as well as some made from stainless steel. In October, we will introduce our spring/summer 2018 sun collection, as well as some new metal additions that we are particularly excited about.
As a relatively new brand, we are not removing any designs from our range currently, but instead building on our collections so far.
Our ethical focus extends beyond our frames. Our cleaning cloths are made from recycled plastic bottles, the case is manufactured from a cellulose base with no need for glue, and the cartoon that the frame is packaged in for delivery can be transformed into what we call an ‘eyewear sofa’ that the wearer can use to keep their frames on. This gives the unavoidable packaging element another chance to prove its usefulness beyond its original purpose – we are trying to extend something beyond its natural lifecycle and reduce wastage.
04 When launching neubau, we established a global See & Do Good initiative, which was developed to reflect the efforts that we go to as a company to respect the environment.
The initiative is designed to support projects that show consideration to the environment that we live in globally. This includes a façade greening project in Vienna and a bee conservancy in New York. In the UK, we have also been supporting local green projects, including one at Hackney City Farm.
As a company, we have pledged that once a quarter we will give a donation to a project we select for being like-minded to Neubau with an urban green theme. In the UK these have been London based to date, although we are exploring outer City projects too.
05 Over the last 16 months, neubau has been really well received by the profession and the public.
Practitioners appreciate the Silhouette quality, which they have come to know and trust from Silhouette International, that is reflected in Neubau. Feedback from the fashion world has also been really promising, with Neubau popping up on international fashion runways regularly.
As a company it has been very satisfying to see the brand go from strength to strength, and over the next 12 months we are confident that this will continue as we expand our natural Px collection. There are also lots of new products in the pipeline for neubau so it is going to be a really busy 2018 for us.
In the future, I would love to see neubau share a similar success to Silhouette, allowing it to become a globally renowed brand that is known for its quality products, exceptional service and for its consideration to the environment. We are by no means perfect, but this is the beginning of a new way of thinking and defining our goals where the environment is of the upmost importance.