Wednesday, July 6th, 2011...10:59 am

With Benefits: Summer Sunglasses

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This post is the fifth in a series I’ve written on for-benefit companies — for-profit models that inherently benefit social causes — for the men’s ethical fashion site Well Spent (formerly Commerce with a Conscience), where Brad creates daily features as well as the most well-curated product guide for conscientious men’s style out there.

One out of five people in the world can’t see clearly – that’s 1.3 billion people living without proper vision. Earlier this month, you most likely heard about TOMS revealing its next one-for-one product, sunglasses. Inspired by this announcement, I decided to round-up my four favorite brands offering sight to people in need, in exchange for slick new shades.

4sight Sunglasses

At $89 a pop, 4sight’s glasses clock in as the most affordable on the list. Ben Midanek created the company in 2010 after traveling South America and East Africa and discovering how few people in the developing world had glasses, despite their need for them. 4sight offers eight styles, and for each pair purchased, corrective glasses are donated through nonprofit partners Unite for Sight and Feed the Children.

Proof Sunglasses

Launched earlier this year, Proof offers $90–$130 sunglasses that are made from sustainably sourced wood. They donate a “large” portion of each sale to help individuals in India receive sight-giving surgeries, as well as to a tree replanting initiative in Haiti. They also offer the most varied selection of styles of all the do-gooder brands, with nearly 60 different pairs currently for sale through the label’s site.

TOMS Eyewear

With the purchase of TOMS Eyewear for $135, a medical treatment or a pair of prescription glasses is provided to a person in need via TOMS’ Sight Giving Partners (expert eye care organizations already operating around the world). The TOMS website tells an educational and compelling story regarding the lack of corrective vision services in many regions of the globe, and also reminds us that TOMS customers have enabled the company to donate over 1 million shoes to date – a very impressive feat. Two styles in 18 color variations are available now.

Warby Parker Sun Collection

At this point, you should already know Warby Parker and their one-for-one glasses model. Last week, the company released a collection of $95-a-pair sunglasses. As with their regular glasses, for every pair purchased, a pair of prescription glasses is donated to someone in need though the nonprofit VisionSpring. Nine styles are available, and prescription sunwear will be coming in August.

What do you think of these four brands’ styles? Would you buy a pair?

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