Colin Leslie Eyewear’s bamboo sunglasses and fashion frames: simplicity, sustainability and street style.
Founded in 2009, by ethical lifestyle designer and Ethical Fashion Fellowship 500 member Colin Leslie, who describes where his design inspiration thus:
‘My passion has always been working with different timbers. Bamboo’s one of the fastest growing plants, at least a foot a day. It felt like the most natural and obvious source product to use. For me it’s the perfect medium to produce ethical eyewear with a universal appeal’
From carpenter to entrepreneur to Eyewear fashion designer and eco warrior? Where does this output sit within contemporary culture?
Just like many entrepreneurs I am someone, whose work is inspired by the way I live. My carpentry and love of working with wood led me to working with ethically sourced bamboo to produce an affordable luxury product, which is an ethical representation of the lifestyle I live and advocate.
Does this sit well with you?
Starting a new business in a recession does sound crazy I know, but it was also very exciting. When I started the business I literally had minimal retail experience, I knew nothing about social media and the only customers I knew about were the ones I provided my carpentry skills to.
How do you affect society?
By being a responsible ethical retailer, who supports his community and seeks to spread the ethical message to a wider audience
How do events in society affect you?
The birth of my granddaughter reinforced my commitment to promoting an ethical lifestyle. We are responsible for trying to do our best to ensure the next generation have a great environment and engage with an ethical lifestyle. As we live in a disposable society, I believe it is essential that we as a community give back in whatever way we can, even if it’s just by buying one ethically sourced CLE bamboo frame at a time.
To extent are you social?
Our social media platforms, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest are a great way for us to immediately engage with our audience, who are always happy to feedback about our latest collections, or send/tweet us pictures of them wearing our bamboo shades and glasses.
What single event changed you?
Definitely the accident which led me to founding Colin Leslie Eyewear. The realisation that physically, at some stage, I wouldn’t be able to continue working in the construction industry at the same level.
The fact that I was able to continue to work in the medium of wood which I love, and create an eco-friendly business from my passion, was a very welcome bonus.
Why is getting involved in eco friendly projects important to you?
It’s a chance to reaffirm my commitment to ethical living and engaging with other ethical lifestyle advocates.
Why is getting involved in eco friendly projects important for anyone?
Do you think it’s important for children to do creative arts and craft?
Without a doubt. We need to encourage children to embrace imaginative play, to enjoy creating things, make music, write and act. This is the best way we can help inspire them to be our future designers, technology innovators and next generation eco-warriors.
Do you recall doing creative things as a child and what difference did it make to your entrepreneur business skills now?
As a child, I made so many different things during the long summer holidays. From building a wooden go-cart from old pram wheels to my first push bike. I loved the idea of creating something new out of pieces that had been thrown away.
You can imagine my excitement when I walked into my first woodwork lesson in secondary school, I’d found my passion.
Finding that passion (which you will find at the heart of any business and ingrained within the people who run them) led me to start my first business as a carpentry sub contractor.
Why is creativity important to you?
I feel that being creative allows you to express yourself in a very personal way. It’s a representation of who you are, what you are feeling and often signifies a mood at a specific time.Colin Leslie Eyewear