For two decades now, Southern California's SPY has been making eyewear inspired by the region's action sports culture. While many other optics brands have survived for longer, the 20 year mark is rather impressive for an independent company. To celebrate, SPY has launched the limited edition Happy 20 Collection, a three-piece line paying homage to the brand's past, present and future. While the outward aesthetic is the obvious main attraction, the Fore, Union and Heir feature recycled, biodegradable materials and SPY's newly patented Happy Lens.
Scientifically capable of boosting positive moods, the SPY-exclusive Happy Lens technology blocks harmful shortwave blue light and UV rays, while allowing longwave blue light—known to promote serotonin neurotransmitter production, which regulates mood, appetite, circadian rhythm and sleep cycles—to penetrate. In doing so, Happy Lenses can raise moods and alertness, and reduce eye fatigue as well. Additionally, the distortion-free lenses enhance color perception and color contrast (especially in bright, direct light), making for a truly unique experience from the get-go.
Though each design has its own merit, we're most interested in the present and future (Union and Heir models, respectively), as the brand begins to edge its way towards a more fashion-forward clientele. The Union offers a handsome indication of the brand's interest in introducing more relevant silhouettes, while the Heir is a true design departure for the brand (perhaps unfortunately) known best for producing "wrap" style frames. The move is ambitious, but one we applaud.
"We wanted to see how much we could explore in shapes, materials, sizes; to see how much we could push boundaries," says SPY Product Director Juliette Koh in regards to the design prompt given for the Heir. While radical in comparison to where SPY has been, the frames certainly wouldn't look out of place in any number of high fashion boutiques in LA, NYC or Tokyo, for example. And while the brand certainly isn't interested in going in that direction, they certainly have the potential to play in such a space.
Find the limited edition, unisex Happy 20 Collection online from SPY for between $130 and $170.
Images by Graham Hiemstra