Seashell glasses by Friendly Frenchy
With the summer holidays in full, glorious swing, there’s no better time to pick a new set of shades. And as you jet off to the beach, why not pick a pair to match your destination, and possibly your dinner? Using oyster, mussel and scallop shells as their main material, the fashion brand Friendly Frenchy are offering a selection of sunglasses that are both artisanal and eco-minded. Bon appetit.
Seashell shades: the story
Behind this marine-inspired idea are Sandrine Guyot and Laurent Pezé, the founders of Friendly Frenchy, a gallic brand with an inherently summery spirit. “Sunglasses were one of the 5 core products that we wanted to create,” explains Sandrine Guyot. The duo also established a clear aim when planning how to go about manufacturing the sunglasses, determined to use an alternative to the environmentally-damaging plastic. But how exactly did they decide on the slightly unusual choice of shells as a material? Pezé is a keen foody and Guyot is interested in recycled and sustainable materials. “My great grandfather was a seashell dealer, and he had a factory which specialized in pearl buttons and marquetry. I’ve been exposed to the material my whole life,” continues Guyot. The choice of shells was a clear no-brainer.
Anyone for mussels, oysters or scallops?
Waste created by the seafood and crustacean industry are a real challenge for the environment. Particularly in France, a country who are the largest producer of oysters and the second largest producer of mussels in Europe. Its bio-waste, and how to manage it, can be seens as a positive, particularly in an era where ecological issues are coming to the forefront of the fashion industry’s agenda. Friendly Frenchy work in partnership with agricultors, oyster farmers as well as municipalities. “We collect used scallop shells from restaurants across the Trouville area of Normandy. For oysters, we’ve partnered with the Saint Kerber parks in Cancale, Brittany, with Chez Boulan, a restaurant in Cap Ferret and the Bassin de Thau in Languedoc-Roussillon. For mussels, we get them from Morbihan and Mont-Saint-Michel”, details Guyot. Once they’ve been collected, the shells are thoroughly cleaned. The following stages of their transformation are adapted depending on the style of glasses they are being used to create.
Two collections, two manufacturing processes
With their two glasses ranges: “Plage” and “Solarmor®”, Friendly Frenchy are not only re-using and upcycling waste sustainably but also drawing on their own specialized knowledge of sea-sourced materials, oyster farming and artisanal fashion fabrication.
To the beach: The Plage collection
Seashell glasses “Vague – Saint-Jacques” – Plage collection – €95
The frames of the glasses in Friendly Frenchy’s Plage collection are created from a mixture of seashells and vegetable oil. “The material we use is patented, and it took us two years of research and development to establish”, says Guyot. In Oyonnax, in the region of Jura, which is famous as the centre of eyewear fabrication in France, the raw materials are processed into a substance that is then used to make the glasses. The frame is subsequently put together and the transformation from seashells to eyewear is complete. For the lenses, Friendly Frenchy use another French manufacturer, and offer a choice of three styles: mirrored, polarized and tinted, all three of which are also made from recycled material and call into category 3 of protection.
Handmade in France: the Solamor® collection.
Seashell glasses “L’huitre – La recyclée” – Solamor® collection – €250
For the Solamor® collection, the manufacturing process is different, and creates a more high-end and higher-priced range. Their material is created from a mixture of seashells and a base of ecologically-sourced wood cellulose also sourced in the Jura region. This mix then goes to an eyewear fabricator in Villeroy, in the Yonne department of France, where the glasses are then put together entirely by hand. Here, the lenses are also processed to be anti-reflective, giving the wearer an added comfort and luxury. Artisanal and locally-produced, the Solamor® collection also come with a ‘Origine France Garantie’ (‘Made in France) certification.
A truly French touch
All the styles of glasses offered by Friendly Frenchy are simple, elegant and unisex. Each different seashell used brings its own particular coloration, meaning that each model is unique, and with its own design idiosyncrasies. Topping (or wrapping) it all off, it is not only the glasses themselves that are French-certified. Friendly Frenchy have teamed up with the Nantes-based design studio The Feebles, to design their stylish, 100% recyclable packaging.
Browse all the models of seashell sunglasses by Friendly Frenchy on their website: