Designer eyewear is evolving and with so much variety, it’s easier than ever to find frames that match your personality or outfit. According to market research, the global eyewear market size is valued at 169 billion USD in 2022, and is expected to surpass 300 billion USD by 2030. This is helped by a rising demand for affordable designer frames that reflect ever-changing style trends.
From athletic racer frames to tinted lenses, the style spectrum for eyewear is vast, unexpected and having a moment, according to the 2023 Fashion Trends Report from GlassesUSA.com. Black-owned eyewear brands offer styles that reflect a diversity of colors and patterns that have been missing from the market. Another feature that has been lacking in traditional eyewear is a comfortable fit for Black wearers. However, with a growing list of black-owned eyewear ventures rising to prominence, the landscape is slowly but surely changing. Our selection of black-owned brands are giving style and substance. Bored of traditional designer eyewear? This one is for you.
Vontelle delivers a range of striking specs. Their designer eyewear pays homage to the founders’ African, Caribbean and Latin heritage—filling the market void for better fitting, durable and beautiful eyewear. Given the brand’s success, they’re giving back to the community by partnering with Win NYC, the largest provider of shelter and supportive housing for homeless women and children in New York City, to provide funding and eyewear to those in need. Happy customers affirm Vontelle’s vibrant selection and quality. Their virtual try-on feature is easy to use, and customers say it’s accurate too.
Coco and Breezy
Founded by twin sisters and designers Corianna and Brianna Dotson, Coco and Breezy carries a variety of styles that give classic frames an artful flair. They’ve been in the eyewear game since 2009. Prince was a loyal client and supporter of the brand. The late icon commissioned the sisters to design the Third Eye sunglasses that he wore during his 2014 performance on Saturday Night Live, shedding a light on the young brand at the time. Coco and Breezy’s design selection is impressive, and a testament to their longevity in the business. If you need prescription lenses, you have the option to try on the frames before they are sent to be fitted with your lenses.
Fabulous eyewear is for everyone. This is the approach of AfriNaad, a South African brand that is fusing contemporary eyewear with their African heritage. Each pair is handcrafted, lensless and each wrapped in a limited-edition fabric that celebrates the vibrancy of African culture. Partnering with Ghanaian textile designers and producers, AfriNaad releases limited quantities of each design to minimize waste in their production process. The brand’s founder, Hannah, grew her business from a young age. She started out by selling clothing and accessories while studying abroad, attending international expos in Brazil, Italy, Germany, Qatar, Switzerland, Nepal and Sri Lanka, and more. This provided her the insight that African fashion is in demand not only locally, but in the global market as well.
This London-based brand is on a mission to create high quality eyewear for a more diverse range of facial features. Founded by sisters Clare and Christina Kimeze, the young brand (est. 2021) was spurred by a desire to fill a gap in the market for better-fitting glasses. Kimeze offers unisex eyewear with a focus on quality and good design. Their frames are handcrafted in small batches in Italy, and made with premium materials including sustainable bio acetate, which is biodegradable. Christina, who is an accomplished visual artist, designs the frames. This mission-driven brand aspires to be a part of history by transforming the traditional eyewear landscape.
This eyewear brand will have you buzzing. Nroda’s eclectic spectrum of frames are adorned with the brand’s signature bee motif. The brand reflects a fusion of founder Samantha Smikle’s Jamaican roots and her childhood in the Bronx, coupled with the time-honored art of African and Asian adornment. (Nroda is “adorn” backwards.) The New York-based brand collaborates with local platers in Manhattan’s Diamond District and factories abroad in Italy and China to produce and plate their frames. At the final stage of production, each element is brought together and assembled by hand in the Nroda Studio in the Bronx. Celeb clients include Keke Palmer, Rick Ross, Snoop Dogg and Angela Simmons.
Bôhten’s African-inspired frames are crafted in partnership with top artisans and engineers, resulting in a fusion of heritage and modern fashion. This Accra, Ghana-based brand is also cause-driven, using their business to promote access to vision care, employment and food security for their local communities. If you prefer a hands-on shopping experience, you can test out their frames in the comfort of your home with their Home Try On option. Just pick three frames and they will ship them over, so you can see if they’re the right fit for you.
*All products have been independently selected by our editors. Please note: we may receive an affiliate commission for products and services purchased through our website.
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