Taking the next step in sustainability
Following the launch of Eco’s new Ocean Frames collection, OT spoke with Modo Eyewear’s European CEO, Giovanni Lo Faro, about the brand’s sustainable goals
What makes Eco’s eyewear unique?As we started over 10 years ago and have sold more than two million frames so far, we feel Eco is the sustainable eyewear brand with the broadest offer in terms of collections, styles and materials. We became experts in taking the definition of sustainability as deeply as we think is possible in our sector. Firstly, with the innovative recycled and biobased materials we use for our frames. Eco’s recycled glasses, for example, are crafted using 95% recycled metal, the content of which is certified by UL Environment. Secondly, by being tangible and accountable and driving a large-scale impact, with over two million trees planted for the frames sold. Finally, by having a complete approach which includes sustainable cases, point of purchase materials and all the brand’s touchpoints.
What is the latest collection that you have released and what led to this concept?It’s called Eco Ocean and is made from recycled ocean plastics. Ocean plastic is such a big issue now and we wanted to find a way to recycle it. That is how we came to team up with Waste Free Oceans, an NGO that works with local fishermen who collect the used plastic. These are processed and extruded into plastic granules that become our ocean frames.
Eco Ocean includes eight styles for optical and eight styles for sunglasses. The frames have a distinct look and feel, with unique colours and are retro-inspired with a modern and functional twist. The frames are lightweight and comfortable with a smooth, matte finish in ocean-inspired shades like aqua, ink, and clay, as well as the always-classic black, olive, and blue.
Can you tell us about your partnership with Waste Free Oceans?It is an honour to be the only eyewear company to partner exclusively with Waste Free Oceans, which collaborates with institutions such as United Nations and WWF. As we have been working with Trees for the Future for years, we only collaborate with certified organisations that guarantee a great influence on the environment and the community.
Why does this collection stand out from the crowd and what makes it so special for Eco Eyewear?We are very proud of this launch because it is the next step in the Eco concept. It will not only reduce our impact on the planet by using sustainable materials, but in this case using a material that effectively cleans the oceans. The look and feel of the collection also conveys our drive and experience as a design company.
How has the company been impacted by COVID-19, and how has it had to adapt?Italy was the first European country to be affected by the pandemic, so we have quickly reacted by implementing all the necessary measures to ensure the safety of our teams and to provide continuous support to our customers. Despite a tough lockdown – Milan, where we operate from, was hit hard – we always remained active, while our warehouse has kept on with deliveries. Our customers are our partners, and we did our best to stay beside them and to offer the flexibility they needed to operate in such a challenging context. Moreover, we have been able to navigate through this storm thanks to a solid distribution. This especially allowed us to preserve all of our team, which is actually growing, and to continue to invest in new and wide collections that we are launching for Spring/Summer 2021. We feel this approach will reward us in the next months, where we finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.
What are the brand’s main ambitions for the next 12 months?To consolidate our position as the leader in sustainable eyewear. To continue our work in researching new sustainable resources, materials and solutions. Our mission is not only to recycle but to find new materials and new ways to process them in order to have the lowest impact on the environment.
What do you predict will be key trends for eyewear and optics in 2021?Sustainability and environmental awareness is a responsibility for every company nowadays. We feel COVID-19 has boosted this, as many consumers are seeking brands that empower them to make a difference without compromising style. It’s definitely the time for genuine brands, with true values and stories to tell. That’s why we believe so much in our approach. We want Eco to be the first eco-chic eyewear brand: sustainable and stylish.
Can you share three interesting facts about the company?
- Eco, a Modo Eyewear brand, plants a tree for every frame purchased, with 2.4 million trees have been planted so far
- Eco frames are transported in bags made out of cornstarch which are 100% biodegradable, this will save the planet from a few million single-use plastic bags. All Eco packaging and POP material is sustainable
- Eco is the only sustainable eyewear brand that has won two design awards, the IF Gold Award and German Design Award.