It took an accidental break on holiday for model Lily Cole to realise that there was a market for sustainable glasses. "The first collection was developed after our designer broke their glasses on holiday and fixed them with a single piece of wire, creating a new and functional design," shares Lily. "This idea not only became a fashion statement, but highlighted the importance of being able to repair elements of glasses without just throwing them away." This event led to the model co-founding Wires, an optical brand that specialises in creating their products in the most eco-friendly way.

While the fashion industry continues to hog the spotlight for being notoriously unsustainable, Lily explains that the optical industry also uses damaging practices that often go unnoticed. "There is a huge amount of plastic use and plastic waste in the optical and sunglasses industry. Most acetate frames are made from cutting the shapes out of sheets of acetate, with up to 70-80% of the acetate consequently discarded. There is a lot of plastic use behind the scenes, in carrier bags that transport parts between factories, and most optical glasses contain clear acetate lenses at the point of purchase, which are then discarded and replaced with prescription lenses. As with fast fashion, there has also been a trend towards disposability in some segments of the eyewear market, without many repair options available. This landscape is slowly shifting, but there is still a long way to go." Wires are leading this change. Their glasses are made with a single piece of wire by artisans in Italy, and use stainless steel wire for the frames and 3D printing for the lens rims, producing a minuscule amount of waste in comparison to conventional eyewear manufacturing. They're also pioneering the use of bio-based materials within eyewear. "
Our 3D printed rims use PA11, which is a type of nylon predominately made from castor oil," explains Lily. "Our lenses also contain castor oil, are manufactured with biomass energy, and our temple tips contain a bio-material derived from rapeseed oil." Lets just say they putting the age old adage, if it's not broken, don't fix it, on it's head; by fixing the broken parts of the eyewear industry, one expertly shaped wire at a time. 

Find out more about Lily's daily life via our 8Qs!

What is a book that you always come back to and why?
Ada, or Ardor by Vladimir Nabokov: because I love it!

What is your morning ritual like?
Tea, tea and more tea.

What is the best piece of advice you've received?
Always ask for help, as it's incredible how generous people can be.

What is an ongoing goal of yours?
Happiness and peace.

What's your party trick?
It used to be hula hoop, but I think I’m out of practice!

If you could travel anywhere right now, where would it be?
To a warm ocean to swim in – always!

Name something that you're grateful for.
I’m so grateful for the people in my life.

Name three things that you can't live without.
Tea, my Wires glasses and a good book.

Shop Wires here.

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