Meet Tom Stewart and Michael Charley. The two run a small product development company based in San Francisco and recently launched what’s turned out to be an uber-successful Kickstarter campaign to revive what would have been a sad extinction in the world of vintage sunglasses.
A few years back on a surf trip in Forster, Australia (just north of Sydney), Tom came across a pair of sunglasses sitting on a table outside a local surf shop. Drawn to the shades’ vibrant colors, Tom bought all the remaining pairs the store had to offer and went on to rock the sunspecs on both the waves and shore for the remainder of his trip.
So the story goes, when Tom continued to wear his new shades after his return to the States, people constantly asked where they could find them. Eager to hunt down pairs of the whimsical shades for his friends, Tom called the Forster surf shop only to find that they were completely sold out. Next, he hunted down the original manufacturer of the frames, called Sunskis, and learned that the manufacturer had gone out of business decades ago. The Sunskis he’d bought were apparently among the last pairs in existence.
Putting their product development minds together, Tom and Michael hatched a plan to resurrect Sunskis for the modern day. Pairing the original frames’ colorful 80’s-inspired look with up-to-date lenses that block 100 percent of the sun’s ultra-violet rays, the design duo aims to produce “a high quality, hand crafted pair of sunglasses that look as unique as the original and feel even better,” says Michael in the campaign description video on Kickstarter.
It seems fans of retro sunglasses are game. While they’d hoped to raise $9,800 to help pay for the tooling and making of molds for the new Sunskis, the two passed the mark in just three short days. When the campaign closes today, it will have exceeded its goal by over 1300 percent and raised a jaw-dropping $143,000 or more for the project.
Want in? The first Sunskis are expected to land in donors’ hands by September.