Raen Optics

Surf and skate style meets '50s inspiration in a Southern California sunglasses brand


While its name may conjure cloudy weather, Raen Optics are a paean to endless summers and drop-tops—an enthusiasm made clear with their limited edition Myopia sunglasses created for surf-loving label Alexandra Cassaniti (in stores Spring ’11). Other latest styles—the Underwood (bottom left), Ryko and Squire (bottom right)—draw from “a very classic, mid-century design aesthetic.” The Squire was inspired by a photograph of James Dean in his Speedster, and all three do double duty as sleekly retro eyeglass frames.

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Founded in 2008, Raen is the brainchild of a foursome bonded by an appreciation of iconic sunglasses, Justin Heit, Jeremy Heit, Micah Dunham and Jordan Percy of Libre Design, a creative agency based in Encinitas, CA. The small coastal town thrives with upstart companies springing from skate and surf culture. “[This] has a heavy influence on coastal Encinitas, and this background has certainly shaped what Raen has become and will guide us in the future,” they explain.

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Each frame is handmade with select European acetates and hardware that you’d be hard-pressed to find at Raen’s wallet-friendly prices. “We are striving to create timeless pieces,” they say, designed to “be relevant for more than one or two seasons.”

Visit Raen online for collections and retailers. Prices start at $95.