Karun: Leading Change in Fashion

From the wild open spaces to the starry sky, the snug fields of green tucked between snow-capped mountains and the raw expanse of open ocean, Chile has got to be one of the world´s most beautiful specimens of Planet Earth.  It seems only fitting, then, that it is also a country taking the business model and embedding it with an environmental conscience (as we have seen with TTANTI and Apicola del Alba).  This next business is one that is setting a new benchmark in the fashion world by merging concepts of sustainability and responsibility with quality eyewear in a way that is quite simply revolutionary. Enter Karun World, sunglasses and glasses made ´from a different point of view´ which I am so excited to feature on my blog because I love the concept, all that they stand for and the sunglasses themselves which are effortlessly stylish and unique.  Here are some reasons why they should be on your radar too.

They symbolize a new vision

The philosophy governing Karun is that their products form symbols of a new way of being; a new way of thinking of ourselves and how we view the world around us. As founder Thomas Kimber says, ¨it´s clear the world needs a big change. I don´t pretend to change the world by making sunglasses, but prove that we are able to make the best products in a completely different way that respects the planet¨.  They follow a circular and regenerative model, aiming to prove that it is possible to manufacture products that are high in quality and that have a lower impact upon the environment than the usual extractive methods that define the norm. They also see themselves as much than just a company, in fact their Kickstarter page states ¨ Everything we do is a reflection of the dream of a great group of people sharing similar values and way of life. We are working as hard as we can to prove through example that we can change the way we interact with ourselves and our planet¨.

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Photo: Karun

They look to nature for inspiration

Karun is inspired by the wilds of Patagonia and means ´to be nature´ in Mapundungun, the common language spoken by the Mapuche indigenous people. This rugged landscape at the southern end of Chile is a place known for its beauty and raw energy, and this is channelled into the designs.  They don´t focus upon inventing new things, instead they look to nature to inspire them.

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Photo: Karun

They are revolutionizing eyewear

Karun is a Chilean business that is revolutionary. Their first collection (Wood) used fallen trees in Patagonia, carefully selecting them rather than cutting any down, to create unique eyewear that embraced the differences found in each specimen.  After this they teamed up Bureo, a company creating skateboards made from recycled fishing nets sourced from Chile, to make the first glasses in the world made from 100% recycled fishing nets using recycling programme Net Positiva.  Discarded fishing nets cause around 10% of plastic pollution in our oceans and cause major damage to sea ecosystems and marine creatures. Net Positiva was developed by Bureo and launched in Chile in 2014, where it collected some 3000kg of discarded fishing nets in just six months.  Net Positiva works across the USA and Chile to clean up coastlines, and are engaged with various non-profits that remove ocean pollution.

Now Karun bring you The Clothing Collection.  This collection highlights the issue of waste in the fashion industry, where items are mass produced and quickly discarded by consumers.  Jeans are some of the contaminating, with around 3 billion pairs produced annually, of which 80% then end up in landfills.  From there greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane are released which cause considerable damage to our soils and water.  The Clothing Collection is the world´s first eyewear made using recycled jeans, combining 75% recycled jeans and 25% bio-resin.  Karun have partnered with Balloon Latam, where a portion of sales from each pair of sunglasses goes towards entrepreneurs in the Llanquihue Lake region of Chile.  Balloon Latam works across Latin America to help develop local economies in a way that is respectful of each community´s identity, cultural conditions and productive possibilities. The designs in this collection are influenced by native Chilean birds such as the Chucao, which is native to the south and known for its emblematic sound, the red-breasted Loica (Long-Tailed Meadowlark) and the crested Kuru, or Magellanic Woodpecker.  Karun has been lauded everywhere, from Cosmopolitan to CNN and GQ.

 

Their eyewear is special

The materials are 100% Chilean and designed in Chile, and are put together using the finest technology in Italy.  The sunglasses use Zeiss official lenses which offer complete protection from UVA/UVB rays, and are available in either grey or amber, or as optical lenses. They contain German stainless steel spring hinges and have no added chemicals. The current collection come with a hardcase container made from jeans and fully recycled cardboard packaging.

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How You Can Get a Pair

Karun are currently seeking funding via Kickstarter, a global crowdfunding platform that got their other designs off the ground.  The campaign ends in late July, and the first 500 models will be completed by August.  In October all the models will have been completed to be delivered by November.

During the campaign, the glasses have a price of USD$149 which is 40% less than their actual retail price so get in there quick to take advantage!

 

 

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More Information

Website here

Facebook here 

Instagram here

Kickstarter campaign here


If you liked this, you might like to support one of these other amazing small businesses:

TTANTI watches made from fallen Patagonian trees;

Pajarito de Mimbre books & toys;

Apicola del Alba natural cosmetics.

 

Traditional Shoemaking in Barrio Italia

The girl is standing beside a bench strewn with leather, knives and paper.  Her brow is furrowed with concentration, lips pursed, as she deftly follows the thin lines that dance their way across the dyed hide in her hand.  The light is dim and the air is musty, tainted by an odor that harkens back to a time before shopping malls, a time when each store´s bounty was not churned out by an unknown´s hands but instead painstakingly created, borne of passion, time and skill.  The girl is making shoes, art.

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Shoe making today is a heavily manufactured process where the various stages of production are divided in a factory and shared by a multitude of workers; more often than not, the shoes we buy in mega stores are the result of industrial sweatshops in countries such as China.  Originally, however, this process was undertaken by just one – known as a cordwainer – who would oversee the entire production and perform the various 68 to 390 steps themselves, along with some 15 different techniques.

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Enter Padre Nuestro, a tiny store in Ñuñoa that is outfitted by just one man and his apprentice, a design alumni now pursuing shoemaking. She has been training for four months but the apprenticeship will take her several years.

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A pair of shoes is the result of an arduous process. First shoes are designed, followed by the preparation of lasts and the cutting and stamping of the leather. The pieces are then dyed, sewn, fitted to the last to form for several weeks, and finally assembled.  The process doesn´t end here, as the sole has to be hammered into shape and the shoe then has to be ´finished´ which may include burnishing, rasping, smoothing, and other techniques.

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At Padre Nuestro, your feet are measured and a mold is found that best matches your foot. Over the course of around one month, your shoes are handmade by this two-person team, with the end result a pair of shoes that have been made for no-one else but you.

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There is currently a waiting list of around two months at Padre Nuestro.  The store sells shoes for men only.  

 

Photos reproduced with permission from Padre Nuestro

The Nitty Gritty

Address: Tegualda 1517, local 1, Factoria Tegualda, Ñuñoa. Metro Santa Isabel

Phone: +56 9 8314 0448

Website here

Facebook here

Instagram here.

 

Tip: while you are here, pop next door to Silvestre Bistro to take advantage of the Wild Food Movement that has come to Santiago! Great prices, ambiance, service and delicious food!!  Barrio Italia is a fantastic place to go shopping, plus you are supporting local small businesses and keeping traditions – just like at Padre Nustro – – alive.