Let’s talk about acetate. You’ve probably run into the word countless times when shopping for sunglasses, but you may not know exactly what it means. And that’s okay, because many people don’t know why acetate matters - especially when it comes to making our premium handmade sunglasses. 
 
You see, acetates are like the body of the car for your sunglasses - they hold the color, shape, and nuance that will eventually become an expression of yourself. More importantly, not all acetates are created equally, and for this reason we wanted to give you a little guide to acetate and why it matters when it comes to creating high-quality sunglasses. From sourcing to the final polish, we take great pride in our acetate sunglasses, and we hope this provides extra insight and appreciation for your next sunny adventure. 

tanner gudauskas in RAEN sunglasses for men

What acetate is used for our sunglasses? 
 
Our sunglasses are crafted with the highest-quality cellulose acetate, also known as Zyl acetate. Cellulose acetate is a plant-based biopolymer created from wood pulp and cotton, which makes it much more environmentally friendly than the cheap plastics used in most mass-produced eyewear. On top of that, it’s stronger, more comfortable, and more resistant to fading.  
 
Where do we get our acetates? 
 
All our high-quality acetates are sourced from the top acetate houses and factories - from Japan, to Italy, to various locations around the world. We carefully select designs from teams and families that have a long heritage with acetate construction, allowing us to give you distinctive, handmade eyewear that’s crafted with care and filled with tradition. 

RAEN sunglasses for men and women frames taken apart

What makes our acetates special? 
 
Our Zyl acetate frames have a premium look and feel, featuring colors and patterns embedded entirely throughout the frame. This means there’s no paint on the frames, which is often a characteristic of cheap plastic designs. These high-quality acetates also allow for dynamic color layering with varying patterns, opacities, and color depths. This versatile layering can create eye-popping results for frames like our Tokyo Champagne Collection and Tamarin Collection 

Brooke Power in RAEN tortoise sunglasses for women

What are the benefits of Zyl acetate? 
 
Unlike mass-produced plastic frames, Zyl acetate has an uncanny warmth, weight, and comfort that just feels good to wear. But the range of benefits go beyond pure aesthetics, as our acetates are crafted from renewable resources, which makes them significantly cleaner than petroleum-based acetates and much better for the planet (and your face). Another major benefit of cellulose acetate is what’s called “thermoplasticity - a unique characteristic that allows the material to be molded to fit your face shape, making it highly preferred by opticians and eyewear specialists around the world. Cheap plastics don’t have this ability, as the frames lack flexibility and can potentially break when stretched.  
 
acetate sunglasses for men

Is acetate environmentally friendly? 
 
We continue to seek out and source more sustainable acetates for our eyewear. In the past, we created a special “Of Earth'' Collection with Ambassador Kassia Meador made from a fully biodegradable M49 acetate from the famed Mazzucchelli factory. Recently, we used that same M49 acetate for our limited-edition Myles collaboration we created with our friends at Banks Journal. For us, the future is bright for sustainably designed sunglasses as we work tirelessly to reduce our footprint without sacrificing an ounce of style and craftsmanship. 

environmentally conscious sunglasses for men and women

Is acetate hypoallergenic? 
 
Yes. All our Zyl acetates are hypoallergenic, making them safe for individuals with sensitive skin. 
 
How do we select our acetates? 
 
While you get to enjoy the final product, we’re working tirelessly behind the scenes to seek out the perfect acetates for the next season. We constantly explore what people are wearing around the world and what’s pushing boundaries in the industry. We’re always looking at color and fashion, drawing inspiration from art, design, and even a bit of architecture. The final selection for each season is meticulously curated to perfectly combine form, function, and fashion.  

finding inspiration for RAEN sunglasses with Ford Archbold

How is acetate more versatile than plastic? 
 
Because of the way acetate is constructed, you can create rich colors and design combinations that you simply can’t get with cheap injected plastics. Working closely with our acetate suppliers, we’ve been able to generate an assortment of unique designs you can’t get anywhere else - like our best-selling Honey Collection and Crystal Collection. Acetate also allows for stunning compounds and patterns, creating nuanced designs that are like a fingerprint with no two frames completely identical. Our Chai Tortoise and Kola Tortoise are excellent representations of this technique. With acetate, the options are almost limitless! 

RAEN sunglasses for women in tortoise designs

Can you combine acetates? 
 
Yes. Our Huru Collection is a great example of this, as it combines Honey and Tortoise into an exciting color that’s unlike anything else in our lineup. For these special collections, we only create a limited number of frames, so we recommend you sign up for our newsletter to keep your finger on the pulse for what’s next. So stay tuned! 

Mikey February in RAEN sunglasses for men

 

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