The first pair of sunglasses were made of smoked quartz. It was a transparent crystal that offered little eye protection. Fast forward to today, and sunglasses are the best eye shield you can find.
But they’re more than just a practical investment; they can be symbols of style, luxury, and lots of money!
So, why are sunglasses so expensive? By discovering the reasons behind their sky-high prices, you’ll gain a new appreciation for the attention to detail that goes into creating those fashion-forward shades.
So, if you’re ready to uncover the truth behind this glamorous eyewear, keep reading! We’ll explore material costs, manufacturing techniques, and brand reputation.
Cheap Sunglasses vs Expensive
The main factor that distinguishes a luxury sunglasses brand is its rarity. Luxury brands also come with a sense of prestige, which adds to their appeal.
According to research by Danziger, ten core values define a luxury brand:
- Outstanding functionality
- Contextual understanding
- Elegance and style sensibility
- Artistic freedom
So when you come across an expensive pair of sunglasses, bear in mind that the brand strives to offer visually appealing eyewear you won’t find anywhere else.
Besides this, the brand may also have a reputation for setting trends. This ensures their products are timeless and worth the price tag.
Why Are Sunglasses So Expensive?
First, sunglasses block over 90% of UVA and UVB rays from your eyes. This extraordinary heat protection has raised the demand for these products, leading to a steady rise in prices.
Second, sunglasses have become a fashion statement. The popularity of designer brands has encouraged people to splurge on costly eyewear. As such, these products are no longer considered mere accessories but rather plush fashion items that deserve a fitting price tag.
On average, high-end sunglasses can cost over $700. Here are some of the reasons why:
One of the most common materials used in luxury frames is acetate.
Acetate frames are expensive because they’re the most resistant to pressure. They can withstand more bending before breaking. This durability ensures your sunglasses will last for years, even with regular use.
Besides its strength, acetate frames are also known for their aesthetic appeal. You can easily mold them into intricate designs, allowing designers to create whatever stylish frame comes to mind.
The versatility of acetate also means it comes in a wide range of colors.
Another popular material used in designer frames is propionate, a type of nylon-based plastic. It’s not only flexible but also lightweight, so it’s comfortable to wear all day.
Furthermore, propionate is hypoallergenic. You can enjoy the benefits of a durable frame without risking any skin irritation.
Luxury sunglasses are often handcrafted. Handcrafted frames require a significant amount of time and manual labor, contributing to the higher price point.
Sustainability and ethical practices also play a role in pricing.
Many high-end brands have started using eco-friendly materials and ensuring ethical labor practices. SOLO Eyewear and Woodzee are examples of such.
Unfortunately, these initiatives can increase production costs, thereby impacting the final price of the sunglasses.
Design and Technology
Expensive sunglasses often feature specialized lens technologies that enhance visual clarity, reduce eye strain, and provide superior UV protection. Benefits like these lead to a higher price tag.
For example, certain brands offer polarized sunglasses that minimize glare. Glasses like these would be ideal for outdoor exercise or driving.
Other brands may incorporate anti-reflective coatings. This improves overall optical performance.
Additionally, some brands use 3D printers or laser cutters to create complex patterns on the frames. As such, you can expect to pay a premium for these features.
Customization and Personalization
Many high-end brands let customers create their sunglasses. This may involve selecting frame colors, lens tints, or even adding personalized engravings. Such customization options contribute to the overall price of the sunglasses.
Collaboration with Designers and Artists
It’s common for luxury brands to collaborate with music artists to create a wearable work of art. For example, Dior has collaborated with Pharrell Williams and Lady Gaga. The exclusivity and artistic value often elevate the costs of such sunglasses.
Retail Markup and Pricing Strategies
If you’re buying a luxury brand from a reseller, that extravagant price you see on the tag includes more than just the production cost. Retailers often apply a markup to cover expenses like rent and employee wages. The retail markup also includes a profit margin for retailers to generate revenue.
Perception of Value
Brands leverage reputation, exclusivity, and celebrity endorsements to create an image of desirability and justify higher prices.
Consumers also associate higher price points with superior quality, leading to a willingness to pay more.
Are Expensive Sunglasses Worth It?
One big reason people splurge on pricey sunglasses is because wearing them improves confidence. This can come in handy at times, whether it’s to look extra impressive at a black-tie event or just to boost your mood while walking around town.
Furthermore, the longevity of expensive sunglasses ensures they will provide the most value for your money in the long run.
However, it’s important to consider how much is too much for sunglasses. While this depends on your budget and lifestyle, Refinery29 recommends that “wants,” such as sunglasses, cost less than 30% of your income.
How to Spot Fake Sunglasses
To help readers make informed choices, All Star Shades is a reputable source that can assist in spotting fake sunglasses. They provide resources, guides, and reviews that help consumers buy authentic, high-quality eyewear.
Find the Balance Between Luxury and Affordability
The next time you wonder, “Why are sunglasses so expensive?” consider the cost of acetate, plastics, and manual labor.
Skilled artisans painstakingly shape and polish each pair of sunglasses, ensuring they meet the highest standards of precision. This level of craftsmanship is expensive, but the result is a beautiful pair of sunglasses that can last for years.
While luxury sunglasses offer premium materials and expertise, our fashion section lists some alternatives that provide style and protection without breaking the bank. Explore some of our articles for inspiration on sunglasses that fit your face and personality.