Sky High: Sunglasses for a Cause

Sky High: Sunglasses for a Cause

Italian eyewear designer L.G.R teams up with charity for a collaboration that's taking flight.

Italian eyewear designer L.G.R teams up with charity for a collaboration that's taking flight.

Text: Joseph Akel

Given the release of their second collaboration with the non-profit, Nairobi-based air ambulance service AMREF, Italian eyewear designer L.G.R is, quite literally, taking the maxim “fashion to the rescue” to new heights. For L.G.R’s founder, Luca Gnecchi Ruscone, the decision to support AMREF through sales of the special edition L.G.R X AMREF “Dahlak” aviator is one rooted in a very personal connection to Africa. Indeed, Ruscone traces the origins of L.G.R to a trip he made to Asmara, Eritrea—the East African country was a colony of Italy until 1947—where, while rummaging through his grandfather’s optical shop, he discovered a pair of vintage Italian sunglasses that caught his eye. Ruscone decided to recreate the design, founding his eponymous eyewear line in 2007 which has since become noted for a chic aesthetic that is equal parts Out of Africa and La Dolce Vita.

Established in 1957 by a team of surgeon’s who sought to bring medical services to Africa’s underserved and remote communities, AMREF today has evolved into the continent’s largest non-governmental health organization, providing free healthcare with clinics and laboratories in some 30 countries. One integral aspect of AMREF’s mission is to oversee a network of flying ambulances which deliver urgent care to some of Africa’s most isolated regions. Designed to meet the demands AMREF’s pilots face when flying a rescue mission, L.G.R’s “Dhalak” aviator features a special anti-reflective coating and high-altitude UV filter for the lenses, black leather eye-guards to block out glare, and a matte-black frame which diffuses light reflection.

As Dr. Bettina Vadera— CEO of AMREF’s Flying Doctor program—notes, “Charity evacuations are an important part of what we do” noting that, through partnerships with the likes of L.G.R, the organization can continue to “reach people most in need who otherwise may not survive.” With a portion from every sale of the L.G.R X AMREF “Dhalak” aviator going towards supporting the charity’s mission, Rusocne underscores that the collaboration is one way of giving back to the African continent, [a place] which has played such an important role as the source of inspiration behind the brand.”

The L.G.R X AMREF Flying Doctors sunglasses will be available at www.lgrworld.com and Studio Optix NYC in April ($380 )

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