PORTLAND -- Portland is already known as the capital for sportswear design. Now there is a new focus on eyewear. Several companies are looking at niche markets to see how far they can go.
Society 43 is named after the year when collegiate sports began, 1843. The company is just 3 years old and concentrates on sunglasses for the sports arena.
Its first pair of glasses was for the University of Oregon. Now, three years since it began, Society 43 has inked deals with 80 collegiate sports teams and 30 NBA teams.
Every member of the Trail Blazers is getting a custom pair of sunglasses with the player’s name and number on them.
Eyewear is big business, a $34 billion plus industry in the United States and Portland is after its share of the eye chart.
“I knew from the start. I was really confident with the product,” said Society 34 founder and CEO Jason Bolt. “I love it. All my friends love it and all of their friends love it. So I knew we had something.”
Another local company, EDA Eyewear Design Alliance, works with local artists and designers to come up with high-fashion looks available only through optometrists. All the frames are custom made.
David Giuntoli the star of TV’s “Grimm” has a pair and singer Bruno Mars had special frames made for himself with raised keyboard temples.
Every 14 minutes someone loses, breaks or sits on a pair of sunglasses.
Society 43 must be very happy about that.