Over here at MenStuff, we’re big fans of anything sustainable, and we’re also big fans of South African entrepreneurs providing us with cool, innovative products manufactured on home soil.
Ballo, a Cape Town-based company, ticks all those boxes and are going about making South Africans a little more stylish, and they’re going about it the right way.
By using sustainable off-cut wood from furniture and recycled paper to create the frames of the sunglasses, Ballo eliminates more common plastics from the production process – a process that would otherwise have included harmful chemicals and potential waste.
Their range includes various frame designs, but their Barnes model (R1,590) is likely to be the fan-favourite because of its similarity to the iconic ‘Wayfarer’, which has been a style staple for several decades. All their models come with polarised UV400 reflective lenses, and can even be outfitted with your prescription if you’d like.
After getting some hands-on experience with the sunglasses, it’s safe to say that these are in fact the real deal and there’s no doubt they are a serious alternative to the more well-known brands out there.
The imbuia wood used for this particular pair, known as the Rowli (R1,590), has an earthy, textured feel to it, reminding you that it’s not a cheap, vinyl plastic made to look like wood, but actually pure wood itself. They even have a fresh, woody smell to them – go figure!
While the glasses themselves are impressive, another standout feature was the attention to detail on smaller parts. The laser-cutting on the inside is precisely-satisfying, while the metal hinges on the arms are beautifully-made and provide strength and sturdiness to the sunglasses. No shortcuts have been taken here and in fact, Ballo has gone above and beyond by taking the extra step to ensure you’re getting a quality pair of sunglasses for your money.
We don’t mean to lump Ballo in with the big-name brands out there – they’re a completely different animal. But the reality is that many people tend to look at the more established names with the consideration that locally-made products won’t deliver. It’s quite easy to say that Ballo’s products are on-par, if not better, than the Ray-Bans and Oakleys of the world; add the fact that they’re sustainably created and you’ve got the ingredients for a winner.
Ballo makes some other cool sustainable products too, so if you want to get a bit more information about them and their brand, head over to their site and check out what they’ve got!