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If you’ve recently browsed for new sunnies, have uttered so much as ‘sungl–’ around your phone, or – if we’re being honest – even thought about eyewear, you’ve likely seen an ad for AKILA soon after. At least that’s what happened to me. And to a friend who was sporting a pair on our neighborhood walk last month. And the woman who stopped me on the street to compliment the pair I was finally able to snag after many sold-out months.
Seemingly everywhere (and impressively aware of its demo), AKILA leaves a memorable, cool-kid impression online. The brand’s contemporary-yet-quirky styles, bold colors, and clean lines would suggest a hefty price tag, but AKILA is rooted in anti-industry pricing (aka that perfect balance of expensive enough to ensure quality materials and ethical practices, but affordable enough to grab on a treat-yourself day). If you’re skeptical of a brand claiming to do so much so well, you’re not alone. I was, too – until I got a pair (or three).
A Modern Eyewear Concept
AKILA is self-described as an “independent eyewear brand focusing on handmade unisex sunglasses at anti-industry pricing.” Based in Los Angeles, the brand has a strong emphasis on style, quality, and sustainability. From start to finish (design, engineering, production), each pair of sunglasses is made over the course of 90 days and 100 steps.
Each pair of frames is made from cellulose acetate, a natural bioplastic made from the fibers of cotton or wood pulp (as opposed to petroleum). The benefits of cellulose acetate are many: in addition to being a more eco-friendly option, acetate allows for richer hues than traditional plastic – plus it’s biodegradable and renewable. The brand sources from the best providers in the world to ensure transparency and quality. AKILA lenses are Optical Class 1 nylon lenses, making them thick, scratch-resistant, and 100% UVA/UVB resistant.
A Shining Example In Sustainability
In addition to using sustainable materials, AKILA has a number of active environmental projects to further its do-good reach: the brand has partnered with Eden Reforestation Projects to plant a tree for every pair of glasses sold. (Eden Reforestation Projects employs local people to plant trees to restore forest health and reduce extreme poverty.) Plus, AKILA requests that end-of-life eyewear be sent back for repair or donation; in exchange, the brand will issue a discount code for a new pair.
An Emphasis On Collaboration
AKILA also separates itself from the pack with its collaborative spirit. The brand hopes to empower independent brands and serve consumers by working with friends, artists, and brands doing similarly cool sh*t. For example, AKILA recently partnered with World Chess on a limited edition style of a popular frame in celebration of the World Chess Championship Match in Dubai. AKILA has also collaborated with Grateful Dead, Chinatown Market, Jungles Jungles, HUF, and several other brands to create limited-edition, custom styles.
Grab ‘Em While You Can
I pined over AKILA’s LOGOS style ($130) for months before I was able to secure two pairs (the style was sold out for months in 2021 so I had to be strategic). Boasting a “chunky frame and riveted temples,” LOGOS is a nod to New York. Offered in six colorways ranging from a classic Black on Black to a Cement Acetate and Apple Green Lens, this style is effortlessly cool. I was also able to try the ARES ($140) in Lemonade; I’m obsessed with this shape, which is inspired by DTLA’s Eastern Columbia Building. If these styles (or any of the brand’s others – hello JIVE and KAYA) catch your eye, I recommend ordering ASAP: many of these drops are limited or sell out.
Every pair I own is a compliment magnet – friends, family, and strangers have all stopped me in my tracks to inquire about the brand. And, the best part is that these sunglasses don’t just look good; they’re supremely comfortable, durable, and functional. I’ve found myself slipping their soft, vegan leather carrying case into my bag over other brands I’ve shopped for years.
A Democratization Of Cool-Kid Culture
Beyond the surface level trendiness of each silhouette, AKILA carries a deeper-rooted coolness. There’s no hiding the fact that wearing a pair of these specs makes you feel like someone, a feeling that typically comes with a hefty price tag for a highly-sought-after label. At $120-140 a frame, AKILA is essentially democratizing cool-kid culture – and pushing its quality and sustainability at the same time. The brand operates with a noticeable authenticity and humility, which makes it an easy favorite when choosing from the myriad of brands the internet has to offer. So, if you’re looking for a new pair of shades for those bright winter days (or are eagerly anticipating the sunny spring ahead), I recommend AKILA wholeheartedly. Shop the brand here, then sit back, relax, and prepare to be amazed by whatever drop the brand has next: you’re sure to see it in your algorithm soon.
Five More Reasons To Love AKILA:
1. Sustainability is a priority: the brand uses eco-friendly materials and partners with Eden Reforestation Projects to plant a tree for every pair sold.
2. The brand’s collaborative spirit: AKILA works with talented artists and brands to produce beautiful, quality, on-brand eyewear for fans and followers.
3. Anti-industry pricing for the win: while AKILA’s specs look like they’d cost an arm and a leg, they’re shockingly affordable at $120-$140.
4. Love your shades? Consider investing in a pair of eyeglasses. AKILA offers many of its bestselling sunglasses styles as eyeglasses, too.
5. Quality, quality, quality: AKILA is meticulous about every part of the design process to ensure your items are well-made and durable.