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DIFF Charitable Eyewear Looks Beyond Style

For standing out in today’s heavily saturated sunglasses marketplace, DIFF Charitable Eyewear knew it had to take a different approach. 

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Its three founders collectively kicked off the brand in 2014 after spending a few years in the sunglasses industry and music festival promotions. Beyond creating a quality product providing sun protection, they made giving back – through eye exams and pairs of reading glasses – a core aspect of its mission. 

Using Fashion as a Force for Good

Sticking to this vision, DIFF has contributed to the eye health of 2 million individuals over the past seven years. This has entailed medical care and eye exams, and since 2015, the brand has donated 1.5 million pairs of reading glasses to individuals across the world. 

More specifically, DIFF Charitable Eyewear promises that for every pair of sunglasses purchased, their team donates a pair of eyeglasses to someone in need or provides funding for an eye exam. 

Aside from this mission, the company has partnered with Eyes on Africa, Restoring Vision, and the Sabo Project. This relationship provides mentorship to small business owners in Africa, support for schools, nurseries, and communities, and reading glasses, sunglasses, and eye exams to regions where these organizations do outreach.  

Calling attention to these efforts, DIFF partners with influencers and reality TV stars to spread its message and mission and call attention to its sunglasses’ classic-yet-modern craftsmanship.

About DIFF Charitable Eyewear

DIFF Charitable Eyewear

Millennial and Gen Z consumers care about more than image. They seek a brand with an authentic message and mission they act upon.

As well, considering the growing amount of attention paid to sustainability, this growing group of consumers looks for products that last – both in terms of construction and seasonless style meant to last beyond a few months. 

DIFF Charitable Eyewear was founded by Zach Gordan, Chad Jernigan, and Chad Dime. Their initial product reflected the approach of many startup brands: affordable but with uncompromised quality. 

Now over seven years in, DIFF stands by this approach: Across women’s and men’s sunglasses, you’ll spot timeless wayfarers, aviators, cat-eye, and round frames, as well as trendier options incorporating a top bar, colored acetate, or mirrored elements.

Adding to the allure of exclusivity culture are various collaborations crafted with input from influencers or inspired by pop culture.

This combination has resulted in explosive growth over less than a decade. Along with creating a product meant to last, DIFF has teamed up with multiple contestants from The Bachelor, as well as influencers like Kendall Jenner and Hailey Bieber, to highlight their frames’ classic yet distinctive character and forward its vision. 

Explore DIFF’s Sunglasses for Men

Rather than start with a standard plastic frame that may break within a year, hand-cut acetate adds more weight and substance. Acetate is more common with mid-range to luxury sunglasses and tends to provide a longer lifespan.

man wearing cool sunglasses

DIFF explores the possibilities of this material through traditional solid black or mock tortoise and, for the modern consumer, a crystal or transparent colored effect – similar to what’s been spotted on runways over the past few seasons. 

From this foundation, sunglasses feature scratch-resistant polymer lenses, polarized for better clarity while driving or spending time outdoors and blocking UVA and UVB rays. All styles are designed in Southern California, and each frame is handmade. 

On the men’s end, DIFF Charitable Eyewear dives into a series of timeless, unisex styles, from metallic aviators ideal for more angular face shapes to round frames with a bit more retro appeal. The wayfarer, considering its ubiquity, is given a few different treatments – larger and smaller in size and with softer to more angular elements. 

In addition to classic sunglasses, DIFF applies several of the same shapes toward its line of blue light glasses.

Emerging before the pandemic and increasing in popularity now that we’re more likely to be in front of a screen, blue light glasses are said to reduce eye fatigue and related headaches and improve sleep quality. Based on what you usually wear, these come in prescription, non-prescription, and reading varieties.

For variety without being too overt, collaborations cover both men’s and women’s sunglasses, injecting more color and panache. Recent collections have interpreted DIFF’s frames through Star Wars influences or were created with input from artists, actors, or influencers. 

Recommendations

Whether to up your own eyewear game, purchase a more socially conscious product, or replace a pair starting to visibly show wear, consider some of the following styles:

DIFF Eyewear - MANDALORIAN Star Wars

The Mandalorian™ Aviators

We tend to have a distinct picture of aviator sunglasses, one influenced by older military gear and, pop culture wise, Top Gun.

The Mandalorian reinterprets the familiar dual-teardrop shape through a more angular perspective – one of chrome-colored stainless steel based on Mandalorian™ armor seen in the Disney+ show. Lenses feature a breath logo you can only see up close, and additional details have been added to the temples.


DIFF Eyewear - Maxwell - Designer Square Sunglasses

Maxwell Crystal Sunglasses

The Maxwell delivers a more subtle interpretation of a traditional wayfarer frame, perhaps taking inspiration from the Clubmaster’s more rounded form and horn rims.

Here, the frame gets a slightly more softer treatment without losing its familiar curves and plays a secondary role with clear crystal acetate. Mirrored polarized lenses then take center stage. 

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DIFF Eyewear - GROGU - Designer Round Sunglasses

Grogu™ Round Sunglasses

Another Mandalorian™-influenced style, the Grogu™ can be interpreted in a couple of ways. At face value, the shape is inspired by Baby Yoda’s ears.

Style wise, they give us Grunge vibes, taking some influence and adding a modern spin to Kurt Cobain’s now-iconic Lacroix sunglasses. What results ends up being a hybrid of a cat’s eye frame enlarged to feature round, solid-gray lenses. 


Dean - Designer Square Sunglasses

Dean Crystal Sunglasses

The Dean frame takes a maximal approach to the traditional wayfarer, beefing up the frame and increasing both the size and angularity of its form.

More in line with today’s style trends is a crystal acetate frame in a range of amber to deeper hues that add an airy yet ice cube-like quality to the darker lenses. 

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DIFF Eyewear - C3PO 2.0 - Designer Aviator Sunglasses

C-3PO 2.0 Round Sunglasses

Inspired by the iconic Star Wars character, the C-3PO 2.0 frame starts with a ‘60s-esque round form and opts for a bold all-yellow combination crafted out of crystal acetate and featuring mirrored lenses.

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DIFF Charitable Eyewear
Writer

Ivan Yaskey is a Philly-born menswear fashion blogger and copywriter. When not writing about men's style he's also an EDM and synthpop enthusiast.