At the core of every pair of Ballo sunglasses is a combination of recycled paper and off-cut timber laminated together with bio-resin. Every pair of their wooden frames is made by hand. The frames come with 100% polarised lenses or CR39 UV400 revo mirror lenses for enhanced glare reduction and superior eye protection. All made with love in South Africa. Founder Alistair Barnes is committed to sustainability.

  1. Tell us about yourself. What are your fashion creds?
    I hate fashion. My fashion creds are that I’ve been obsessed with textures and patterns from a young age and have never liked much that I see in the shops, especially when you buy something and wear it twice then it unravels. I am just frustrated with fast fashion and try to make clothes with simple designs and strong fabrics. Form follows function and I build garments to last.
  1. Why did you decide to start Ballo and how are the glasses produced, what materials are being used?
    I didn’t like the way big businesses were run – especially the monopoly that exists in the worldwide sunglass market. At Ballo, we use old machinery and 23 different processes all done by hand to make the glasses – hard materials in frames are all upcycled or recycled (timber offcuts, recycled paper, fabric offcuts), laminated together with bio-resin, lenses are polarised and spring hinges fitted. I like the fact that to make more sunglasses I have to employ more people.
  1. Why is sustainability so important to you?
    I grew up in nature on a farm in the Drakensberg Mountains in the middle of South Africa. Being in touch with nature gives me energy and makes me feel connected and refreshed. All I see around me is humans draining the planet dry and I have chosen to try make the best lifestyle and business decisions to respect and save our planet.
  1. What’s the biggest lesson that you’ve learned as an entrepreneur in the fashion industry?
    You can’t think outside the box when you’re in the box. So get out.
  1. Describe your personal style. Who are your style icons and why?
    Sustainable Gangster. Yoda – comfort and function are key.
  1. What’s always in your fridge?
    Zucchini, broccoli, parmesan, carrots, hummus.
  1. What three things can’t you live without?
    Meditation, swims in the sea, and dancing.

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