Stronger together, the story behind Oh My Eyes
Meet Jonna and Christopher, the creative duo behind Oh My Eyes - a Swedish eyewear brand that goes against the fast-fashion cycle and aligns with Karlina's values of slowing down, creating harmony with the environment, choosing quality over quantity and practicing sustainable and mindful manufacturing. A pair of premium handmade Oh My Eyes sunglasses will last a lifetime if taken care of. Along the new collaboration between Karlina's and OH MY EYES, we wanted to share more than just match-made-in-heaven looks. Here’s their incredible story.
We know that there is quite a story on how the idea of the sunglass brand was born. Can you bring us back to that day out in the sea?
Imagine seeing your favourite pair of sunglasses sink to the bottom om the sea… Being in a small harbour with boats lined up we had an audience to go with it. All I can say is that it was stressful, and in hindsight rather amusing. Christopher borrowed a pink children’s scuba mask and tried to fetch it but it was too hard so we had to give up. A few weeks later we got a picture sent to us. Jonna’s sister had hired a diver to pick them up. Worth it? Yes totally. One thing led to another, and here we are.
Why sustainable approach is so important to you?
From the beginning we wanted to create the best possible eyewear we could. We wanted to tell the story behind the manufacturing, and after trying different factories we decided to partner up with an incredible team in Sabae, Japan which has a rich history of making sunglasses. Their attention to detail is incredible, and each step is carefully made by these skilled workers. Today it’s hard to come-by that level of pride in a profession.
What would you like to tell other brands to encourage them to follow your example?
We believe in something small-scale and genuine. It’s much more important for us to take things slow than to rush into something for a quick turnaround. Oh My Eyes is unisex and seasonless, something we highly recommend other brands to follow suit. Just like it takes six months to create one pair of our sunglasses, in over 200 stages, we think it’s equally important to follow that philosophy when it comes to the brand as well.
Your sunglasses are handmade. What added value does it give to the product?
Knowing that each and every detail of our sunglasses has gone through the hands of a skilled artisan not only adds quality, but also a story to share. We really hope that our customers are proud of wearing their Oh My Eyes sunglasses – and we believe that it adds a more careful approach to the product.
How did a brand from Sweden end up making the products all the way in Japan?
When trying out different manufacturers one city really stood out for its craftsmanship and professionalism. Being a small brand it was important for us to have great communication with the craftsmen and to be able to order a smaller batch from start. Sabae, the city west of Tokyo, is known for its long eyewear tradition. For more than 100 years, craftsmen from Sabae have produced frames made from plant-based acetate which is more durable than regular plastic, and light yet robust titanium, which is stronger than stainless steel, nickel-free and corrosion resistant.
You are not only sustainable but also socially responsible. Why the urge to protect the eyes of people that need it the most through a One for one initiative - the albino community in Tanzania?
While visiting an eyewear camp in Tanzania to hand out glasses that had been collected by a Swedish eyewear company a few years ago we discovered how one group was marginalised. A large number of people with albinism asked for sunglasses, which we lacked at that time. The small number that we were able to hand out made such a difference to them. Sunglasses with UV400 lenses reduce the risk to develop cataract or even blindness, and as a result help clear their vision.
What’s the most powerful memory from spending time with people from the Tanzania Albinism Society?
Understanding the desperate need for sunglasses and sun protection. Many albinos stay indoors all day to avoid the sun as it is unbearable for them. It is difficult to understand what sensitivity they experience. And the majority simply can not afford sunglasses to protect their eyes. Albinos are generally discriminated against, and it is difficult for them to get a job because of this and the fact that they cannot work outdoors in the sun, which leads to severe poverty. So every penny goes to food and survival from day to day. Sunglasses with the right UV protection they need can cost them several months' salary.
You work together as a couple. How does your passion for each other impact Oh My Eyes and how does the passion for the brand impact your relationship?
Having worked as a team throughout our career – Jonna as a journalist and Christopher as a photographer – it was natural for us to start a common project. For us, the passion lies in creating a brand that feels genuine and personal. We love meeting people that add character to our sunglasses. We’ve met so many inspiring people since we launched in 2018, and we hope to continue on that path.
What values does each of you add to the brand?
Christopher has a career as a commercial photographer, with a focus on portraiture. He has a great eye for aesthetics. Jonna adds a passion for storytelling.
You say that your glasses last a lifetime if taken care of. If you would need to choose only one pair to wear for the rest of your life, which one it would be?
We would both pick the OH-15 because of its timeless appeal.
Where do you find inspiration?
It can be a person we meet on the streets of Stockholm or Los Angeles, or someone we meet online via Instagram. But it can also be through forms and shapes. One of our strongest sources of inspiration when it comes to the design of the sunglasses is Scandinavian modernism.
What makes you jump out of bed in the mornings?
Knowing we don’t have to jump out of bed. Being your own adds such freedom. When it comes down to it though, it’s our two kids waking us up.
How does it feel to actually wear something that has just been a vision in your head?
It’s amazing and still very hard to grasp. And we still pinch ourselves when we see other people wearing Oh My Eyes on the street.
Where and how do you see Oh My Eyes in the future?
We hope that it will grow into a Oh My Eyes universe where we fully convey our inspiration and love for craftsmanship to the customer. We would love to continue collaborating with likeminded brands. It’s an honour to be able to create something together with Karlina’s for example. We believe we’re stronger together.