Fashion is a major part of electronic music culture, and top DJs are often icons that can inspire entire the masses in the way they dress. Techno is known for its all black, almost gothic at times dress code, Garage and 5-panel hat/windbreaker combo go together like lamb and tuna fish, and the EDM crowd is drenched in neon, kandi, lace, and pasties. But what about eyewear?
With festival season upon us pupil protection is a must. I actually love sunglasses. They can be a very subtle addition to your wardrobe that can really take your style game to the next level. The usual suspects are the Wayfarer or Clubmaster, but surely there are much less obvious answers? Something that combines killer style, incredible quality, without costing an entire week's salary? Allow me to introduce you to IVI, a brand bred from the action sports world, but designed for those who are serious about their eyewear.
Pronounced like ivy, IVI may look somewhat familiar to those of you who were fans of skateboard icon Rob Dyrdek's fantasy factory, as a giant display case used to sit right behind his desk. Founded in 2012 as a collaboration between various heads of action sports companies, the company underwent a revival a couple years ago and has come out swinging. Combining premium acetate with NASA-approved lenses, to all my DJ colleagues and readers alike, this might be your new favorite brand in vision protection. IVI have been gracious enough to give us a few styles to showcase to you, so let's begin.
The first thing we need to cover is the materials used in all of their frames, which is part of what makes them so great and separates them from their competitors. Each piece is handcrafted using cellulos acetate, a cotton fiber based plastic. This all comes from Mazzucchelli, the premier manufacturer of cellulos acetate since 1849.
Starting with such a strong foundation ensures a quality product, and upon picking up a pair of IVI frames, you can really feel it. They are that perfect heavy feel. Not heavy to the point of being uncomfortable, but heavy in that you can instantly tell they aren't some cheaply made, overpriced piece of plastic. IVI and Mazzucchelli have partnered to create some truly incredible colorways that you just will not find anywhere else, taking chunks of acetate and pressing them into colorways like a world-first camo and new Tigers Eye. In the video below, you can see just how they create these.
Next up, and arguably the most important aspect, is the lenses. While many brands make you pay for the name and use a mediocre lens, IVI uses Carl Zeiss technology. Many of you in the photography and videography business may recognize this name, as companies like Sony use them in their cameras. Another name that uses Zeiss lenses is NASA. Yes, you read that correctly. These glasses use the same quality as the cameras used to photograph the first humans walking on the moon.
In the arms are precision cut aerospace grade aluminum to ensure the frames can take a beating but still remain extremely lightweight. Additionally, some of their frames feature Peek is an incredibly flexible and lightweight thermoplastic that was formerly only found in medical and aerospace applications. This allows for ultra-thin design that can withstand massive amounts of pressure. As you can see, there was no expense spared when making these glasses. Now that the specifics are all covered, let's dive into the actual product.
Upon receiving your new pair of IVI sunglasses, you will be greeted by a sleek black box, with nothing more than the company's logo on them. Inside, you'll find a nice thick leather pouch containing your glasses, a cleaning cloth, warranty card, information about your Carl Zeiss lenses, and a quote from a famous historical figure.
GIVING: This has been my go-to pair of sunglasses for the past 5 years. I used to work in the surf industry, and my friend gave me a pair after he had just become a rep for them. I've worn them almost every single day since then, no joke. One of IVI's first styles, it combines a big Wayfarer shape with aluminum arms that give it a striking appearance. I have a big head, so larger frames like this are preferred.
SEPULVEDA: After the success of the Giving, the company looked to further the design, and created a slimmed down version with a flat top. A sleeker look for those who prefer a slightly smaller frame. They released a limited edition camo version that was stunning. You can see it in the video I posted earlier in the article.
GRAVITAS: As you can imagine, the Sepulveda was a massive hit. And when you find success, you build off of it. Enter the Gravitas, a combination of the two former frames. A Wayfarer inspired frame that's a bit bigger than the Sepulveda, but not as large as the Giving. What makes these really stand out is the detailed aluminum arms, and give this an extremely classy yet modern look.
DEANO: One of the company's newer frames, the Deano uses a blocktop lens shape, with a slight wrap. From the front, these glasses look fairly standard, but from the side, it's a whole different story. They use an exposed wire arm, with adjustable acetate tips for an extremely unique design.
LEE: As I said, I have a big head, and all these smaller designs other companies seem to be pushing just don't work. The Lee, along with the Giving are my bread and butter. The Lee has a nice large rectangle lens shape and a really great weight to it. What makes this frame different from the rest is the double horn acetate colorway. Basically, they fuse two separate pieces of horn colored frames together to create a totally new style. Definitely recommended for those who want to set themselves apart from the crowd.
BEVERLY: Last up is the female geared Beverly frame. It's actually one of my favorites of the bunch, due to the really cool combiation of matte, gloss, and black & white marbled acetate. While these are definitely more feminine than the others, for those of us who are bold enough, they actually look pretty rad when I put them on. Makes you feel really punk-rock. Say what you want, but I would have no hesitation rocking these at a rave.
Normally, handmade Italian sunglasses would cost you your first born child, but with their most expensive product coming in at $260 for the Deano in its Dust color, the price is definitely fair. It's not the cheapest brand around, but then again it's not for everyone either. If you are looking to step up your eyewear game, and invest in your eyes as well as your wardrobe, this is your brand. IVI is a company with a clear vision (I'm so clever I hate myself sometimes), to bring top quality eyewear products to those who are looking to distance themselves from the crowds.
When it comes to reviews, I try to only stick with brands and products that truly resonate with me. Whether that be synths, sunglasses, or tacos, I want to bring attention to what I believe in. Through my writing, I hope to convey my passion for said products, and IVI is one of those companies that I sincerely adore. Their mission is in line with my own, and being able to review them for you has been a treat. For more information, as well as all their other styles and colorways, check out their website here.
One final note: Magnetic and IVI will be partnering up for a giveaway via our Instagram page, so be on the lookout for your chance to win your frame of choice!