The idea behind Canopy sunglasses was born in the heart of London, England with the ethos of the brand centering around sustainability and adventure. The founder of the brand Zihao Xu believes that every person has that burning itch inside them, the itch that represents freedom and wanderlust and it’s great that he has transferred those qualities into the Canopy brand.
The beautiful photography on the www.canopysunglasses.com website is actually all done by Zihao during his travels around the world. The tagline for the Canopy sunglasses ‘Elegently Crafted Rebellion’ speaks volumes for the brand, the desire to rebel against the normality, against the mundane and mass-produced products we see every day. Each pair of the wooden sunglasses is crafted by hand from sustainably sourced wood and comes with a carrying pouch and a sturdy wooden bamboo case.
I love that wood was chosen as the material these sunglasses were made from, it’s strong, durable, renewable and when done right looks and smells better than any other fabric. Zihao was also kind enough to answer some questions I had for him and as usual provide a list of 4 essential menswear items he can not live without:
Where did the idea for wood sunglasses come from?
When I was 18 I used to build guitars – not professionally, just for myself – and while working with guitars I became really familiar with and fixated on the beauty of wood. It’s strong, renewable and absolutely gorgeous. And where better to use this material, than on luxury eyewear?
What does Canopy stand for?
To us, Canopy is two parts adventure, one part rebellion, mixed in with a strong shot of nostalgic style. It represents a different life – a life of exploration and adventure. We mean this both literally (go check out the world – it’s awesome!) and metaphorically. There’s something inside everyone that wants to break free from the shackles that society places on them, and just be creative and do whatever makes people happy. It’s that wanderlust and yearning for something that’s bygone that Canopy represents. We encourage people to dream of something different and wonderful.
Why did you start Canopy?
A couple of reasons, really. First, we were frustrated with the state of the sunglasses market. Luxottica essentially have the market sewn up – they’re the guys that own Ray-Ban, Oakley, Persol, Oliver Peoples – everyone, essentially. Every year they just churn out more plastic frames at exorbitant prices. We wanted to break out of the mould of plastic. Secondly, we want to spread the joy of adventure. We’ve done a ton of things – hiking on glaciers and hunting for plane wrecks. We’ve ridden and we’ve wrecked motorcycles all over the world, hiked in Central America, driven the US coast-to-coast, and we want to encourage more people to experience the same euphoric joy that we’ve experienced while doing all those things. We really think that’s something worth sharing.
What are you 4 essential menswear items?
- A vintage watch with a mechanical movement and a leather strap. Something about genuine ticking watches that have kept the world on time for hundreds of years inspires action.
- I spend almost all my time either in bed or on my feet. That’s why I’ve got a nice bed, and that’s why I have to have quality leather shoes. Doesn’t matter what I’m doing, they could be hiking boots, boat shoes, motorcycle boots, brogues – they’ve got to be high quality leather shoes.
- My gun metal money clip. I ditched the fat wallet years ago in favour of minimalism. Everything you need and nothing more.
- And of course – almost too easy – a pair of Canopy sunglasses on my face
I hope you guys enjoyed that little overview of Canopy’s wooden sunglasses, there is another company I will talk about in the future who manufacture wooden menswear accessories so keep your eyes peeled and leave me a tweet or a comment below.