Fashion Winner 2010
KAYU sunglasses are the brainchild of Texan born designer Jamie Lim. Jamie was born in America but grew up in Asia, spending time in Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong.
Inspired by the beauty of the region and touched by the inequality she witnessed in her adopted homeland, Jamie created KAYU, an ecological and ethical line of sunglasses. The sunglasses are hand crafted out of bamboo which is a fast-growing, biodegradable and viable replacement for wood and which has significantly lower environmental impact than plastic.
The people and places that she has visited have had a profound impact on Jamie’s work and her belief in the power of design to influence cultures and people. As a result, her sunglasses are made by local artisans using techniques that have been passed down from generation to generation. This helps to preserve and promote indigenous cultures and crafts whilst allowing community craft producers to supplement their family income.
Jamie explains: “In all my work, I strive to keep the core principles of craftsmanship, ecology and ethics in mind. With KAYU sunglasses, I have used materials that lessen the impact on the environment and I have engaged local artisans to help preserve some of their traditions for future generations.”
Whilst in Asia, Jamie was struck by the extreme beauty but also the awful poverty facing its people. Eliminating preventable blindness is a huge problem in developing countries and persists due to a lack of funds. To help address this problem, Jamie donates US$20 from every pair of KAYU sunglasses purchased to fund one sight-restoring surgery in the developing world.
The sunglasses can be bought through numerous retailers across the world including outlets in Asia, Brazil, Australia and the UK or via the KAYU website.
Jamie added: “We can all make a difference and give something back to those who are less fortunate. The Earth Awards is a fantastic platform for highlighting the power of the fashion industry to drive forward positive change; it sends a vital message to designers that business and charity can co-exist and bring about a real improvement in people’s lives.”