We sent Sam Whitten, founder of Hemp Eyewear, the world’s first hemp fiber eyewear, a few questions to find out more about the Scotland based eyewear brand that handcrafts all their glasses from Hemp.
1. Tell us a bit about how you landed on Hemp glasses? Why Hemp and why glasses?
I discovered the Great Pacific Plastic Garbage Patch online which is 12x the size of the UK. This led me to research sustainable materials and industrial hemp was hands down one of the most renewable, eco-friendly and diverse materials on earth.
I then developed a solid hemp technology that could replace plastic in some applications. After researching the eyewear market I saw wood and bamboo glasses but not hemp. So I decided to create the world's first hemp sunglasses.
2. You are based in Scotland. What is it like having a Hemp brand in Scotland? Are they pretty open to Hemp products?
Scotland is great for sustainability and start-up culture. We are trying to lead the way in terms of hemp awareness and destigmatize the crop. We are doing this through high-quality design and a focus on sustainability as our ethos.
People in Scotland are definitely learning more about hemp and understanding the benefits of the industrial crop. The CBD trend is really helping the industry as well here.
3. Your glasses are all handcrafted. Can you tell us a bit more about the process?
We are based at a creative hub, the biscuit factory in Edinburgh where every pair of sunglasses is handcrafted. We use handheld tools and spend hours and hours sanding down each frame to achieve a high quality and smooth finish.
Our leading edge technology is very clean. We combine organic hemp fiber with a water-based resin which allows us to make our solid hemp material. Remarkably strong and lightweight it's a great material for eyewear.
4. If you could see your frames on anyone's face (alive or dead) who would that be?
Leonardo DiCaprio (boring answer but he's the go to eco celebrity), Woody Harrelson (because he's a huge hemp advocate and in some great films) and Snoop Dogg (he wears sunglasses all the time, he would love our product and he'd be a great rep)
5. What are some of the most asked questions you get about your glasses?
Can you smoke them? As you can imagine this got old about a week after we launched.
Are they waterproof? Yes, our water-based resin is inherently waterproof and we apply a special eyewear polish which locks in all the material and gives a final waterproof coating.
6. Anything exciting you guys have in the works?
We have new optical models launching very soon. More alternative, quirky styles with 9 available pattern color ways. And we are working on a brand new product. All will become clear in the next 10 months.
7. The last one is a fun one. If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you want to have with you?
Something like a machete/pen knife, bottle of rum and a pair of hemp sunglasses...