American Made Matters Day: Made In USA Eyewear

For American Made Matters Day on November 19 of every year, we update our list of where To Find Made In America Eyewear Products. This list is growing and it appears that eyewear manufacturing is coming back to the United States. MADE In USA products are strong consumer trends and there is an effort for companies to make eyewear/sunglasses (eyeglass frames) in the United States. To claim Made in the USA the product must be “all or virtually all” made in the U.S.

Often one will see Designed in New York (or another city) or Created in USA or even Handcrafted in.. This labeling can be deceptive and consumers might think this is made in the USA. But it is not. The concept was designed or created in the USA.

Some site say Assembled in USA. That means they bought the parts other places and put it together in the USA. Costa is one company that sources their parts and they do have a USA certification that the product is Built in the USA.

All products in the USA need to have a country of origin. Bottom line is the label should say MADE in the USA and even at the point you cannot trust the label.

That said we have pulled together a listing of places to find Made in America Eyewear products.

Wood Eyewear companies such as the following are made in USA. Some because they are Custom or Bespoke eyewear and others because they reclaim local wood and manufacture locally. How to tell? It may be difficult, but usually in wood, you can tell by the price.  As a rule made in USA products are more expensive. 100% a handmade, wood sunglass will retail for over $200 and as much as $600.

  1. Adam Mugavo (NY) Bespoke Wood eyewear who handcrafts his wood eyewear in his workshop.
  2. Anni Shades (Alliance, Ohio) Made in USA sunglasses.
  3. Arc Iris Wood Eyewear (Boise, ID) Manufacturers their wood eyewear.
  4. Black Springs Folk Art Sunglasses (FL) Folksy wood sunglasses.
  5. Bome Eyewear (Portland, OR) Wood sunglasses company that is made in Portland.
  6. Drift Eyewear (Illinois) Wood sunglasses made in the USA.
  7. Figs Frames (Bend, Oregon) Award winning sculpture artist, Mike Bryant is creating wood eyewear, some even with diamond accents.
  8. Homes Eyewear   Detroit, Michigan (making eyewear from abandoned houses)
  9. iWood (Louisville, KY) wood eyewear made from reclaimed wood from luxury airplanes. One of the first wood eyewear lines, that gave back.
  10. Nautique Optix (Ohio) Solid wood sunglasses made in Walnut Hills, Ohio. Uses Carl Zeiss Vision sun lenses.
  11. Traps Eyewear (Maine) Makes sunwear from old lobster traps in Maine)
  12. Shwood (Oregon) produces wood and skate deck eyewear. At times uses reclaimed wood from sources such as Baseball bats and whiskey barrels.
  13. Shinola (Michigan) set to make wood eyewear in 2017. Currently they manufacture jewelry, watches, bicycles and leather goods.
  14. Sires Eyewear (Los Angeles, CA) Wood sunglasses, sold online and through places like street fairs in Los Angeles area.
  15. Urban Spectacles (Illinois) Bespoke wood eyewear company. Master craftsman make wood eyewear, inlays, uses various materials. Beautiful products.
  16. Wooden Specs Studio (Indianapolis, IN) Great story, starting out in 2007, makes his own brass hinges. Purchase online or via Etsy.
Nautique Optix. Wood Eyewear made in Ohio

Nautique Optix. Wood Eyewear made in Ohio

Skate Deck eyewear is another area that many claim made in USA. Again, you can buy ready made Skate Decks from China. Again people and companies can order Skate Decks via site like AliBaba and remake in the USA For a Made In USA Label. If a skate deck eyewear company is up-cycling broken skate decks and making the sunglasses locally, it would be considered made in America. We found only one company that makes eyewear from broken skate decks and can claim made in the USA.

  1. Eqo Eyewear (Colorado Springs, CO) reclaims broken skate decks in the USA and remakes into sunglasses.
Eqo Skate Deck Eyewear, made in Colorado

Eqo Skate Deck Eyewear, made in Colorado

A word about Bamboo Eyewear– The first thing to know is that most bamboo is not grown in the USA. Never have I seen one pair of bamboo sunglasses that state made in USA. Many Bamboo Eyewear companies are claiming made in USA, but it is hard to imagine, particulary since buying bamboo parts online is inexpensive and easier. If a company is buying bamboo sheets and cutting, assembling in the USA, it might be considered Made In USA.

BeSpoke or Custom eyewear is available with several options aside from the wood: The luxury-jeweler, in which usually 18Kt gold and jeweled eyewear is designed for customer. These are usually custom made and handcrafted by jewelers or metalsmiths to a customer specifications. Custom eyewear/Bespoke eyewear is created from a variety of materials and made to order. Another option is Reclaimed vintage eyewear, Buffalo Horn and or acetate sheets. Buffalo Horn comes from places like India and Acetate Sheets can come from from anywhere in the world. But if they are actually cut, polished and made in the United States , they have the Made in USA Status.

Some of these suppliers are as follows:

  1. Aarns Plastics (NY) makes limited edition acetate eyeglasses
  2. Bad Ass Optical Lab (Oakland, CA) Bespoke Eyewear and will remake vintage eyewear and acetate.
  3. John Hansen (New York) Make limited edition eyewear.
  4. Som Noir (San Francisco, CA) creates Bespoke eyewear from Buffalo horn.
  5. Wesley Knight (Nashville, TN) Bespoke Eyewear from buffalo horn.
  6. Lee Allen (Fall River, MA) Optical shop which produces custom eyewear.
  7. Customeyes or Rareframes (NY) Nader Zadi creates eyewear from vintage spectacles.
  8. Indivijuall (Texas) Makes custom eyewear from acetate sheets.
Lee Allen Bespoke Eyewear

Lee Allen Bespoke Eyewear

3D Printed Eyewear The day is not that far away where everyone will have a 3D printer to produce their own made in USA eyewear. Currently companies such as Clearvision Optical offer a custom 3D eyewear option in which the parts are all created in their home office via 3D.

  1. Protos Eyewear (San Francisco, CA) area is probably the best known 3D eyewear- online company. We do not know if they are still in business.
  2. Clearvision Optical (NY) for eyecare professionals only. Custom 3D printed rimless frames.
Protos Eyewear

Protos Eyewear

Acetate and Metal Eyewear Companies

1.) American Eyewear (Nashville, Tennessee) New company and they exhibited at Vision Expo East 2016.

2.) AO Eyewear (Southbridge, MA) AO has been around for over 100 years. They used to make equipment, plan dispensing rooms and offices, eyewear, lenses, had optical shops and labs at one time.

3.) Bex Specs (Las Vegas, Nevada) Fairly new company who is committed to making their sunglasses and eyewear in the USA. They did not respond to an email request, little is known about them.

4.) Charlie V (Detroit, Michigan) This is what he says on the website: The polycarbonate frames are tooled, produced and assembled in the USA using time tested injection molding technologies. The lenses are premium grade, 2mm shatter resistant polycarbonate, meeting all US and European standards for full UV protection and are polarized for an added level of safety, comfort and protection. The hinge is made up of stainless steel components, with the visible portion being produced from a leading edge 3D additive manufacturing system. 3D metal printing is an exclusive process—almost solely limited to the medical and aerospace industries today. Charlie V’s feature a 3D printed stainless steel hinge cover.

A0 Optical

5.) Exo Vault (Brooklyn, NY) Exo Vault is a machine shop that started making cell phone cases and have launched a metal sunglass collection.

6.) Fatheadz Eyewear (Indianapolis, IN) This is what they say on their website: Why is “Made in America” important? We are an American company. Keeping jobs in America is important to us. Back in 2004, when we first started Fatheadz, like most start-up companies, we searched to find the least expensive way to make our product so we could be competitive in the market. The US is not a cheap place to manufacture. Now that we have a foot hold in the market and people know our name, they know where to get extra-wide eyewear, we decided it was time to take this first step.

We think we’ve made a superior product and hope that “Made in America” is as important to you as it is to us.. 

exo-vault

7.) Garrett Leight (California) Not all his eyewear is made in the USA. Although it appears that in a few collaborations such as with Mark McNairy’s they made a frame, supporting American made products. This particular frame is made in the USA. Garrett Leight eyewear is sold online, through eyecare retailers and he also has brick and mortar locations.

Mark McNairy #4

Mark McNairy #4

8.) Gatorz Eyewear (Carlsbad, CA) Gatorz has been around for over 20 years. They make aluminum sunglasses in a patented process. They have supported the Wounded Warrior Project. Gatorz can be bought online or through selected retailers.

Gatorz

9.) ) I Still Love You New York (Brooklyn, NY) Funky and fun non- prescription sunglasses that are made in the USA. Sold online and through retailers.

10.)  Solo Bambini (Burlingame, California) Children Eyewear line consisting of Itsy Bitsy, Teeny Weeny, Toddler, Rascal, Rookie 38, 42 and 44, Scout, Eagle Scout and Scout Master are all made in the USA. The line is sold online or through eyecare professionals.

11.) I Wear America (Grand Haven, MI) was launched by two opticians in 2015. Wanting to bring back eyewear manufacturing and strong believers in the made in USA, they source all their products from the United States. The products are assembled in Michigan. Multitudes of shapes and color combination can be made with their simple rimless concept. Available in 12 colors and an unlimited amount of shapes. Sold through eyecare professionals. They have exhibited at Vision Expo.

I wear America

12.) Kala Eyewear (Oakland, CA) One of the best known made in USA companies. Eyecare professionals can find them in the Galleria at Vision Expo. Consumers can find them through their store locator.

Kala Eyewear

13.) Liquid Eyewear– (Yuma, Arizona) I only list this as their website is still up. Questionable if still in business and you can still order through the website. They might be related another Yuma Company called Fluid Edge has opened up with ‘Made in USA’ (I sent email and have not received a response). Sold online and through retailers. They did not respond to an email inquiry.

14.) J Martasand (Los Angeles, CA) has a small collection of Made in USA Eyewear. No response to an email inquiry. Sold online.

Limited Edition

Limited Edition made in USA

15.) Norman Childs Eyewear (PA) The Zyl are handcrafted in California and the metals are made by Randolph Engineering in Randolph, MA.

16.) NW 77th Eyewear Factory (St. Louis, MO) Many will know the Erker name, but they bought the machinery and are currently making their own eyewear. This was confirmed at Vision Expo West 2016

17.) Randolph USA  (Engineering) (Randolph, MA) Another company that has a strong commitment American made products. Founded in 1972 this family run business focus and vision is to support American Made products. They also buy as much a possible from American Made products to complete the American Made Circle. Sold online and through eyecare professionals.

Randolph uSA

Style Amelia

18.) Spectaculars (Westhampton Beach, NY) or Frameworks, America: This little known company is staring to make a splash. Spectaculars makes zyl acetate eyewear and sunwear. Uses Mazzucchlli Zyl.

spectaculars

19.) State Optical (Chicago, Illinois) State Optical started out as Frieze Frames, bought by Europa in 2014 and since then, been steadily working to build the Made in USA Brand of State Optical Company. Sold through eyecare professionals.

State Optical

20.) Shuron Eyewear (Greenville, SC)  has been in existence since 1865, making it one of the oldest eyewear companies still in existence in the United States. Most people will this from the infamous Shuron Ronsir, worn by almost everyone back in the 1950-1960s.

Shuron Ronsir

Shuron Ronsir

21.) 360 Square Eyes. (Philadelphia, PA) Optician Valerie Vittu has launched a donation/crowd-funding program for her MADE in USA frame line called 360 Square Eyes. The site is not up as yet, but we expect it will be soon.

22.) Spex Wax (San Diego, CA) Optician David Keith makes eyewear from upcycled records. He will also do Bespoke eyewear.

23.) Wrist Readers (Spokane, WA) Crowd-sourced launch for readers that double as a bracelet.

24.) Made in USA Safety Eyewear – There are some companies that are making Made in USA Safety Eyewear. You can find them here.

Other categories of Made in USA are:

Steampunk Eyewear: Steampunk is a vintage/gothic/futuristic look and has a big following. Since most steampunk shades are DIY and made from found objects they can be considered made in the USA. Steampunk relies on salvaged parts and re-crafting them into a new look. Many Steampunk eyeglasses are seen on craft sites such as Etsy. If they are crafted locally, they do qualify for a made in USA label.

Vintage Eyewear: Many older frames were made in the USA: American Optical, RayBan, Victory Optical, Martin Copeland, Tart Optical, Wilsonite, Zyloware, May Optical to name a few. These frames are becoming rarer as the vintage eyewear market has grown. You can find on Etsy, eBay, 1stdibs, spotify and Vintage Eyewear Sites. Note that they may not have a country of origin as it was not necessary.

Smart Glasses: Google says it’s Google Glass will be made in the USA. There are quite a few USA Smart Glass companies, whether they they will be made in the USA or some of their components made in the USA remains to be seen.

In Searching beyond page 10 of Google we ran across:

Clear Lake, who states, their eyewear is: Made and assembled in the USA, our frames are made of high quality TR90 Grilamid, giving our sunglasses extreme strength and durability that can withstand the harshest environments.

And… 

Oakley: We do not know if Oakley is still made in America.

Vision-Ease Coppertone lenses are still made in the USA .

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Comments

  1. Hi guys! We would LOVE to be included in your “american-made-matters-day”
    My Company is very well known to the biggest optical people in our industry.

    We are the ones pushing the envelope of creativity in the (Custom-Clip) biz.

    We are CustomEyesLA in California.
    http://www.customeyesla.com

    Arnold De’ Burdo
    Owner

  2. Thank you for letting us know.

  3. Thanks for mentioning AARN PLASTICS in your Made in the USA feature! My website is AARNPLASTICS.com. There is a slight typo in the original post. Great list!

  4. Thank you for the update! will correct