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VisionDirect’s newest sunglasses will be made from ocean plastic

Posted: 4 July 2019 10:31 am

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VisionDirect is the latest brand to challenge fashion norms and strive for sustainability, partnering with WWF to turn fishing nets into sunglasses.

Now those are some specs we can get behind.

The joint venture will see commercial gill nets transformed into a range coined "ReefCycle" sunglasses, which will be sold exclusively on Vision Direct. You can check out the range here.

Commercial grade gill nets pose a significant threat to marine creatures. Sealife like dugongs and other endangered species were often accidentally caught in the nets and would quickly drown. So in 2018, WWF and thousands of supporters pooled together to buy the licence for the last commercial gill net operating full-time in the northern Great Barrier Reef. And in owning the licence, WWF was able to retire it.

But when WWF received the 600-metre-long net, the company was faced with a dilemma: what to do with the net because WWF did not intend to fish with it. Enter eyewear brand, VisionDirect who worked with WWF to develop a plan to upcycle the retired ocean net into the fabulous "ReefCycle" sunglasses.

And if VisionDirect can sell 1,000 pairs, both WWF and VisionDirect have planned to continue the project – recycling more harmful ocean plastic and fishing nets into stylish eyewear. Considering that eight million tonnes of plastic are dumped into the ocean every year (including fishing nets), this is an initiative we need. So, there's never been a better excuse to buy yourself a new pair of sunnies.

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"What a story behind these sunglasses – plastic once used to kill marine life becomes a product to protect your eyes. They are ideal for people who value saving wildlife, sustainability and creative reuse," said WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O'Gorman.

"If unwanted nets are upcycled, instead of dumped, we can reduce the pollution choking our wildlife," Mr O'Gorman said.

The collaboration called WWF & Arise Collective ReefCycle – Arise Collective being one of VisionDirect's brands – will go on sale 4 July. Head to Vision Direct to read more and to shop. The sunglasses will be priced at $89 for regular, $139 for polarised, and a prescription option will be available. The first 1,000 pairs sold are a limited edition – embossed with a marine animal whose future depends on a Net Free North.

People purchasing ReefCycle sunglasses will help protect local marine life with 50% of the proceeds going back to WWF for conservation work like advocacy for a #NetFreeNorth.

VisionDirect isn't the only brand to make a change and use recycled materials. Boohoo recently released a range of clothes made entirely from recycled polyester. Converse's new line is making use of old plastic bottles. Then there are designer brands Veja and Lemaire that created a range also from recycled ocean plastic.

Three cheers for sustainability.

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