>> Last year at Graduate Fashion Week, in passing, I mentioned Termite Eyewear, a start-up venture by then-students Natalie Finch and Patricia Williams, who were in their final year of fashion design at Ravensbourne University at the time. Termite Eyewear were given the opportunity to have a pop-up store at Graduate Fashion Week and it was interesting to see tangible product at a graduate showcase, where people would wander past, trying on their signature wooden sunglasses, thinking they were available to buy straight away. That’s down to Termite’s USP – sustainable, made in Britain and out of recycled materials, namely wood. Natalie and Patricia set out to put a “challenging, exciting and desirable, not frumpy and boring” spin on sustainable design, which is something I’m particularly interested in at the moment, what with Fashion Revolution Day coming up.
The pair have accumulated experience at the likes of Celine and Jonathan Saunders but have still found time to bring Termite to life. Since graduating last year, their project is now in full fruition, with a fully functioning e-commerce website. The styles available at the moment online are part of the Base collection – the full shape and the half shape with round lens in different shades, and in a choice of raw, ebony, rose and oak wood. The frames are meticulously laser cut, then hand worked to get the smooth edges, using wood that has been sourced from independent reclaimed/recycled wood organisations.
I believe these pastel shades will soon be available on the site too…
They’ve just put together two near collections that go beyond the two “Base” styles. The Barber collection is inspired by Old English heritage with vintage interior shades of burgundy and forest green used. The cut-outs on the wooden frame has been adjusted to allude to more of a 1950s frame silhouette.
Then there’s the eye catching Metro collection, using the London underground as a reference point. Styles are named after different tube lines dependent on their colour (Piccaddilly blue, Central red etc). High glossy primary-hued colour is contrasted with the raw layers of stacked reclaimed Birchwood. The cut-out of the frames are also positioned so that the wood around the lens resembles the fluid lines on a tube map.
There’s still a ton of experimentation going on at this fledging sunglasses brand as Natalie and Patricia juggle their full time day jobs and this new venture. That Natalie and Patricia had the ambition to really go for it when they were still at uni says a lot about the future of Termite. It’s an intriguing product that stands on its own even without the sustainable credentials.