NEW YORK—Long term societal issues, like those of diversity, equity & inclusion, have been fighting the hard fight for many years. With the escalation of the disruption unleashed by the global pandemic, the particular brighter spotlight on the topic from media, and a groundswell among individuals and organizations that more vocal plus active commitment was needed, DE& I initiatives continue to expand. Voices from within health care, business, family, politics and culture are starting to join with those in structured businesses along with more assertive storytelling through groups victimized or impacted by the lack of inclusion within hiring, in receiving or accessing fair and equitable business or even health care services and more.

Individuals, groups and companies across the particular optical industry and vision care profession, are stepping up to support these as part of an expanding commitment.

VMAIL will continue in order to report on these as they are issued. Vision Monday has housed these and a lot more in our Variety & Inclusion category upon VisionMonday. com ( ).

Efforts this year have widened. Optical companies have issued statements of support for diversity & addition and have fostered more internal dialog plus new programs. Among these are National Vision, VSP Global, MyEyeDr., Warby Parker, IDOC, EssilorLuxottica, Safilo, Marcolin, Zyloware, Kering, WestGroupe, ClearVision, CooperVision, Johnson & Manley, De Rigo and many, many more.

Schools and college of optometry have also amped up their own visibility in this arena throughout the past two many years and involved current and prospective students and faculty as well within new discussions.

Recognition of the DE& I challenges span problems among Black, Asian, LatinX, Pacific Islander, and others of color as well as LGBTQ and women, and those with limited economic access to treatment and services. Communities associated with those suffering from or living with vision disabilities and blindness are, just this month, joining with other national agencies to recognize and demand representation plus access during National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

Today, the DE& I issues are being supported by executives and employees, doctors and associates, patients and patient advocates, plus industry institutions and professional societies who are starting to more openly address the issues of racism and institutional prejudice along with new programs.

Editor’s Note
To learn more about the how dialogue and initiatives surrounding variety, equity & inclusion are usually expanding all through the business, read our feature article, “Embracing the Differences. ” This Cover story appeared in the October edition of Eyesight Monday, in both the print and digital editions as well while online here .

Black-Owned Eyewear Steps Into the Spotlight

Over the particular course of the past few years, Black-owned eyewear brands have been growing both in numbers and popularity. Some specialize in designing eyewear to fit people with African heritage, while others focus on cultural designs, but they are all successful in creating on-trend, high quality eyewear that appeals to everyone, across the board. These are just a few of the companies engaging in the eyewear category.

In 1992, Daymond John, Carl Brown, J. Alexander Martin and Keith Perrin founded FUBU ( ), a clothing and lifestyle brand whose name stands for “For Us, By All of us. ” Over the past three decades, FUBU offers steadily grown into an iconic brand which now includes the particular FUBU FRAMES Eyewear Collection by Eye Candy Creations USA. The eyewear follows the same philosophy as the larger brand, “Inspired by the lives of everyday people innovating for survival, ” and “designed for strong, ambitious, game changers who embrace individual style because a birthright, ” the brand says ( ). Constructed from Mazzucchelli acetates and high-end metals, the particular frames feature unique constructions and vibrant lenses along with anti-reflective coatings.

Peoples from Barbados ( ) began in 2016 with what was intended to be a simple, one-off capsule collection celebrating the island associated with Barbados’ 50th independence anniversary. Six yrs later, optician Alicia Hartman is still heading up the effective brand—with way more than that will initial capsule collection under her belt. Peoples From Barbados aims to bring the adventurous, ambitious plus daring history from the Barbados to the worldwide stage, offering eyewear that is glamorous, bold and full of Bajan Soul.

Twin designers Coco and Breezy ( ) are usually well known names within the optical community. From their own DJ skills to their visual art, Coco and Breezy are true modern Renaissance women—a reality reflected in their eyeglasses designs. Corianna and Brianna Dotson started their sunglasses brand in 2009 and rocketed to near-instant success; most famously, they designed the particular iconic “third-eye” sunglasses worn and loved by Prince. Coco plus Breezy also have collaborated with brands like Hershey’s, Ciroc and Teva.

After years working in Chicago as an optician, Jamel Marshall moved to New York and created
Savant & Scholar ( ). All designs are Marshall’s, inspired simply by the energy and uniqueness of New York City, and designed to tell a story. Marshall explains on his website ( ), “Each design different than the other, tells its own story associated with Art, Culture, & timeless Nostalgia. The particular eyewear is carefully comprised of custom components, then beautifully handcrafted showcasing its precise attention in order to detail. Artistry that not only accommodates both Single Vision & Progressive lenses, but empowers through individual expression and creativity. ”

Founded by Dionne Ellison, Vuilwear ( ) is a nature-inspired eyewear brand that mirrors the colors and patterns of insects’ eyes. The sunwear, which features honeycomb patterns on the lenses, “challenges the norm by focusing on the lens because that’s the first thing you see when wearing them, ” Ellison describes ( ). Vuliwear gives back, too: the brand donates a portion of its proceeds to United to Beat Malaria, a global grassroots campaign of the UN Foundation that provides bed nets and other insect repellent tools to protect families in need from insects carrying malaria.

Friends Tracy Vontélle Green and Nancey Harris founded Vontélle Eyewear ( ) after they each lost expensive pairs of eyewear plus found these people couldn’t replace them with the particular exact designs they were dreaming up. Now, the two focus on creating eyewear designs that feature textiles, patterns and colors from the African diaspora. On their particular website, Harris and Green write, “Each of our products and accessories are developed to pay homage to our African ancestry with traditional colors plus patterns that will channel our own African, Caribbean, and Latino heritage. Our patterns use many fabrics and styles from highly identifiable, recognizable and respected materials like mud cloth and kente cloth. These designs are tailored to empower humanity to see the world through social and worldwide lens. ”

Jamal Robinson and NFL linebacker Jaylon Smith founded CEV Collection ( ), an acronym for Smith’s on-field mantra “Clear Vision View. ” Together, Jones and Robinson design “culturally inspired eyeglasses with trendsetting designs, ” they explain on their web site. “We wanted to create a brand that stood with regard to something. We wanted in order to design unique and high-quality products at a fair price. We want to build the community that will embodies the particular hope plus inspiration associated with what a Focused Vision can be inside someone’s life. ”

Nwamaka Ngoddy, OD, launched Anwuli Eyeglasses ( ) in 2019, specifically designing regarding Black and African facial features. The particular brand was born out of years of work as a good optometrist, leading Dr. Ngoddy to notice that many associated with her patients were having a hard time finding stylish frames that fit their faces. Anwuli means “joy” inside Igbo—something Dr. Ngoddy hopes to reflect within the structures she designs.

This particular small sampling of Black-owned eyewear brands is just the tip from the iceberg, of course. But it reflects just how large, diverse plus exciting the particular Black-owned sunglasses business is—and just how much we have to look forward to as these brands and their peers continue to grow plus share.

Celebrating Diversity Online

The calendar year is full of days and months dedicated to celebrating diversity & inclusion. There’s Black History Month in February, Women’s History Month in March, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in May and both Pride plus Juneteenth in June. Hispanic Heritage 30 days runs from September 15 through October 15, while October is also National Impairment Employment Consciousness Month. Native American History Month is celebrated inside November, closing out the year.

Of course, diversity & inclusion isn’t limited to certain days or months—it’s something we concentrate on all year round—but these devoted holidays provide a great opportunity to spotlight DEI on social media. Throughout the year, ECPs take in order to their social media accounts to mark these holidays, celebrating the particular diverse history of the eyesight community.

Read More About It
For more on how the industry is getting included with this particular very important topic, don’t miss “The Eyesight Council Offers Members Access to Executive Online Education Through Partnership With Cornell University” and “The Vision Council’s DE& I Initiatives Broaden, NOA’s Dr . Sherrol Reynolds Discussed Diversity Challenges at Eyesight Expo West. ”

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