100% Optical

Style and sustainability without compromise

OT  spoke to George Bailey, co-founder at Coral Eyewear, about sporting partnerships and creating frames that stand-up in aesthetics while being sustainable at the core

In the three years since its launch, Coral Eyewear has formed a number of high-profile partnerships with sporting bodies – taking the message of sustainability in eyewear to a broader audience.

The latest partnership was announced in autumn 2022 with the Lawn Tennis Association, the national governing body of tennis for Great Britain, through which Coral will provide the coaching team with sunglasses made from recycled materials.

Speaking to OT at 100% Optical (25–27 February) about the latest partnership, George Bailey, co-founder at Coral Eyewear, explained: “We’ve got some really nice activations across Queen’s Club [cinch Championships] and some of the bigger championships this year.”

The brand’s partnerships extend across local sports and large organisations.

“We’re also working with Kent Cricket, a local cricket team to the brand, who were the T20 champions a couple of years ago, and William Racing in Formula One. With the Netflix effect of Drive to Survive, it’s really helped the brand expand internationally,” Bailey shared.

Discussing the motivation behind the partnerships, he explained: “The sporting story is really helping us to tap into an audience where people are engaged in their hobbies and at weekends are telling that sustainability story with companies and athletes who have millions of followers around the world.”

Coral Eyewear’s brand motto is ‘style without compromise,’ with a focus on style and aesthetics first.

Explaining this approach, Bailey said: “Because we started as a sustainable brand, we know that everything we do from a material perspective has sustainability at its core. I think that’s allowed quite a nice design narrative, that we’ve been able to start from scratch from a design perspective, get that patient feedback, and see what frames and colours are really striking with them.”

Sustainability has become an increasing part of eyewear design in recent years.

“I think in the last three years, since Coral started, sustainability has gone from a piece that may have gone in a corner of a practice as a little bit of a niche, to something that customers are coming in every day asking for,” Bailey said.

At 100% Optical, Coral launched a pair of wraparound sunglasses and ski goggles, as well as a new fashion-based cellulose acetate collection with a new range of bright and translucent colours.

Bailey described this as a ‘big step’ for the sustainable brand, branching out from the staple commercial models in black and muted colours, to offer “really exciting fashion pieces.”

With the conversation around sustainability building, OT asked where Bailey felt the next step would be for the eyewear industry to continue taking action?

“There is still a lot of work to do in general supply – making sure that everything continues to be plastic-free in deliveries; looking at carbon neutrality through those delivery partners,” Bailey shared. “In the frames themselves, I think it’s in the mindset change of creating products that have sustainability without compromise.”

“It’s genuinely committing to products that have sustainability at their heart, but actually have a vast array of products that sit on different people and different faces,” he concluded.