The future of eyewear is growing, quite literally, if the shade thrown at Fashion Week Men’s is anything to go by. Back in February, our dive into the FW18 shows pointed out a futuristic, The Matrix-style aesthetic championed by the likes of A-COLD-WALL* and COMME des GARÇONS, which materialized a few months later as the trend for tiny sunglasses. Now, we see a shift for Spring/Summer 2019 — a look that’s just as slick as those mini shades, only much bigger.
As we look back at last month's Fashion Weeks, one trend that appeared both on and off the runway was sports sunglasses. Boasting bold, colored, polarized lenses in hardy industrial frames, these high-tech shades — once the reserve of pro cyclists, winter sports enthusiasts, and NASCAR dads — have made their way into the high fashion circuit.
And that makes perfect sense. As the worlds of streetwear and luxury collide and blend — Virgil Abloh's Louis Vuitton debut being the main signifier of that to date — and outdoor brands such as Patagonia and The North Face continue their collaborations with the likes of Supreme, there is now a space for technical, sporting sunglasses to enter the luxury market.
Below we’ve identified a number of brands that incorporated sports sunglasses into their SS19 shows. It’s worth noting, however, that before Fashion Week had even kicked off, Palace had already dropped a bunch of tinted sports sunglasses for its Juergen Teller-shot SS18 lookbook, which included a collab with Oakley and saw the likes of Blondey McCoy and Lucien Clarke donning the frames.
Decades before fashion’s main players cottoned onto “athleisure,” Miuccia Prada was filling her runways with luxury nylon sportswear. This season, however, the house gave that vibe a break, instead concentrating mostly on (relatively) low-key looks that mixed “the industrial way of doing things with artisanal tradition,” an approach Prada has always championed.
That doesn't mean all sporting elements were missing, though. Alongside the knitted dress shoes, those hankering to make a statement could find their outdoor fix in the shape of ski hats and ultra-futurist, slimline blackout shades.
While CMMN SWDN was making a case for sustainability during its SS19 show — offering revived pieces from previous collections — the Swedish brand quietly showcased some bold oversized sports shades. Although these glasses aren’t as overtly ’90s rave as the first capsule with Ace & Tate (this offering marks a second link-up with the eyewear label), the shape and colorway added a technical note to a catwalk show that didn’t want to shove its message of overproduction down our throats.
Kenzo explored the cross-section of tailoring and sportswear in its SS19 shows, with playful conversations between fabrics and texture in both the men’s and women's collections. And this discussion extended to the accessories, with sports sunglasses arriving in a number of loud variations. Mixing up frame shapes, colors, and lens tinting, Kenzo’s shade vibe bounced from oversized, barely-tinted, neon pink-lined frames to softened white angles and an all-black super-angular pair you could easily imagine donning on the slopes.
There was nothing subtle about the eyewear game in Heron Preston’s SS19 presentation, which was packed with industrial pit-crew steez. Collaborating with Nike (where Preston once worked) to redefine the sportswear giant’s classic Tailwind frames, the updated style boasts a lens in Preston’s signature shade of tangerine. With high-vis components running throughout the collection, the Tailwind HP elevated a hardy, safety-first aesthetic that’s now being hyped both on and off the catwalk.
Ex Infinitas' SS19 collection was perfect for anyone who has ever fantasized about living in the cult ’90s movie Hackers, dealing cyberpunk feels with a sporty twist. Titled “NOWAVE,” the collection toyed with traditional surfwear, repurposing key items to reference our more omnipresent method of surfing: on the web.
The shades presented were super futuristic, serving club-ready vibes with bright red and yellow reflective gradient lenses, housed in hardy frames, along with (fractionally) quieter alternatives in blue and pink.
If you want to take your sportswear flex to the next level, away from Fashion Week, Oakley has just dropped a set of bold orange and yellow gradient lenses as part of its Thermonuclear Protection capsule. Also coming in black, the sunglasses feature the Factory Pilot logo and revolutionary Prizm lens technology. The collection heavily references the brand’s motocross history, but these shades can be worn both on and away from the dirt track.
Are you feeling the sportswear sunglasses trend? Let us know your thoughts on the look in the comments.
Want more? Snakeskin was trending hard this season, too.
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