Wooden shades: Duskies spots an opportunity with its eco-fashion eyewear

A Havelock North-based company is thinking outside of the box when it comes to sunglasses that will last.

Duskies Eco Eyewear is owned and operated by Andrew McKenzie and Jessica Whyte, who put their heads together to come up with a sustainable, yet fashionable option for eyewear.

Their range of innovative shades is crafted from a variety of sustainable woods sourced from Forest Stewardship Council accredited forests around the globe or from recycled timber. McKenzie has a carpentry background, which he combined with his love of fashion and travel to create the concept of using his sound knowledge of timbers to fashion wood sunglasses for New Zealanders. Using wood instead of plastic is integral to their businesses and supports their reputation of a brand that is not harmful to the environment, both in the manufacturing process and to the user.

McKenzie says their philosophy is to bring fashionable and affordable top quality eyewear to their customers that doesn’t negatively impact the environment. “We wanted to create sunglasses that serve as a testament to craft, sustainability, and most of all style.”

Duskies’ latest collection features some unique designs from cork-layered sunglasses to gold-accented nose bridges set in dark wood grain. Each pair of Duskies comes with a bamboo cylinder case to ensure every part of the product is sustainable.

Creating an eco product is important to McKenzie and Whyte, who want to set a good example for the next generation. “So many people, especially younger generations, are more aware of using sustainable materials and [think] about what impact their decisions have on the environment,” McKenzie says. “We are committed to reducing our impact on the planet, so to have a business in eco-friendly products was the main driving force behind Duskies.”

The latest collection has been crafted from woods such as Walnut, Rosewood, Pear, Zebrano, Ebony and Canadian Maple wood, which is cut into 1-2mm veneers, layered and then laminated.

After the final sanding process, a natural beeswax-type varnish is used to seal and preserve the timber for long lasting endurance against the elements.

The very nature of working with wood and wood grains mean each pair of Duskies is unique.

Looking ahead, McKenzie and Whyte plan to expand their range to the UK, mainland Europe and Australia and they have already had some interest from retailers in London and France. “Since we are a small start-up our New Zealand customers are our main priority this summer before we expand,” McKenzie says.

And the benefits of eco-friendly sunglasses don’t stop at the gentle affect on the environment.

Losing your sunglasses after jumping in the ocean with them on could be a thing of the past - because of the wood used, most Duskies sunglasses float.