History of Sunglasses

Sunglasses have evolved considerably since their initial conception by Inuit and Chinese peoples.

Three examples of snow goggle technology from the National Museum of the American Indian

Beginning in prehistoric times, Inuit tribes constructed goggles by cutting slits in flattened pieces of ivory or bone to peer through and observe the otherwise blinding arctic landscape. Sunglasses were pioneered again in 12th century China, where slabs of smoky quartz were attached to frames designed to fit the wearer’s face. They were often used to hide judicial expressions in court rather than a way to improve vision.

Italy is where the groundwork for the beginnings of modern sunglass technology began. In the 18th century, the more traditional form of glasses was created, with two clear lenses attached to a wire frame. The invention spread throughout Italy and glasses with tinted green lenses soon became popularized in Venice to protect the eyes of gondoliers from the glare of the canals. After being introduced across Europe, the 20th century saw American firms improve and expand upon the Italian design to create many of the silhouettes and styles we know today.

Herbert Matter, Pontresina Engadin 1935. Image courtesy of MoMA.

Lapima draws on the Italian sunglass heritage with the sourcing of their glasses, which incorporate Italian latex as a key component. The latex allows for the construction of frames that are both durable and light, providing the wearer with a feeling of comfort regardless of style.

As a Brazilian designer, Lapima understandably draws on national culture to inspire their unique shapes and designs. The expressive and vibrant nature of Brazilian fashion and their iconic beach lifestyle have had a notable impact on Lapima’s styling. Their glasses sport bold frames and colors that communicate energy and light, perfect for a visit to Copacabana Beach or just a summer stroll.

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