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Finder Green Fave: Dresden glasses


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Zero-waste, affordable and universally flattering glasses aren't too good to be true at Dresden Vision.

The $100bn eyewear industry is dominated by a single company, EssilorLuxottica. This optical behemoth owns many of the biggest names in glasses, including Ray-Ban, Sunglass Hut and Oakley, and manufactures a wide range of styles at varying prices.

Dresden Vision is offering something different: a single affordable frame that works for everyone.

I became aware of Dresden a few years ago when I walked past the Newtown storefront. Intrigued by the bright colours and zero-waste manufacturing process, I went inside to browse and ended up buying a pair of sunglasses. I've recommended them to countless friends since.

Colourful Dresden glasses

Dresden vision was founded by Bruce Jeffreys, co-founder of the car-sharing service GoGet, and Jason McDermott. The company makes just one style of frame in four different sizes. By having only one design, Dresden can manufacture the glasses locally in Western Sydney with a zero-waste process. The single design helps keep costs low for those looking for affordable eyewear options.

The glasses are made of either recycled materials or recyclable nylon. Using nylon also helps Dresden lower CO2 emissions from manufacturing, claiming to produce 99% less CO2 emissions than traditional metal-hinged glasses. Dresden has also created limited-edition frames out of recycled materials such as discarded fishing nets, milk bottle tops, beer keg caps, marine debris and recycled wood chips.

Dresden glasses manufacturing process

The material is mixed with dye to create the colourful frames you find in Dresden stores. One of the unique things Dresden does to eliminate waste is using leftover dye to make unique translucent colour shades called "transition shades."

Packaging for the glasses is made out of recyclable cardboard and cases are made from wool felt.

Dresden glasses aren't just colourful and sustainable, they're also durable and extremely lightweight. All Dresden glasses come with a lifetime frame warranty.

Colourful Dresden glasses

How does it work?

First, you choose your frame size and colour. You can choose the same colour for the arms or mix and match frames and arms to customise your colour combination.

Next, you can have your prescription assessed in-store or use a previous prescription. The lenses are made in-store in as little as 15 minutes, depending on the type of lens.

Prices start at $59 for prescription glasses and $49 for non-prescription sunnies.

The lenses pop out of the frames easily so you can have multiple frames with a single pair of lenses if you want different colours to go with different outfits or moods.

Find optical health insurance to cover your prescription glasses

Colourful Dresden glasses

My Dresden glasses have held up for several years' worth of regular wear and I get compliments on them all the time. I even returned to the store months later and purchased additional sunnies for my husband and my mum. They both loved them, which shows that the frame shape really does look good on just about everyone.

To try them on in person and see for yourself, head to one of the Australian locations in Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane. Dresden also has stores in New Zealand and Canada. Each store is made from sustainably sourced timber including pine and birch.

If you can't visit a Dresden location in person, the company ships worldwide for a flat rate of US$15.

Finder Green Fave is a regular column that highlights our favourite sustainable, eco-friendly, ethical and cruelty-free products. If there's a product that you love and think we should look into, leave a comment below or using our customer service chat.

Looking for more information about sustainable products and companies? Check out the Finder Green homepage.

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Image credits: Dresden

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