Golden Hour: Sunglasses for the Traveller Lifestyle
There are some people who are content to never leave the place where they grew up, uninterested in shifting their perspective from the 360 degree view around them. Then there are those with a broader vision.
That was the realisation of Matthew Hodge, founder of Golden Hour sunglasses brand, when he decided that those with a hunger for exploring the world needed eyewear fit for the occasion – both in terms of style and performance.
We sat down with Matthew to discuss the brand’s origins, the inspiration behind his designs, and why Golden Hour sunglasses are the perfect accessory for yachting adventures.
Can you start by giving us a brief background to your brand?
Sailing has been a part of me for many years; my sister showed me its freedom, unrestricted by roads and walls. As a sailing instructor she helped me start my own career in yachting. Sailing across the Atlantic from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean, I always looked forward to a moment known as the ‘Golden Hour’, where the sun crosses the horizon and our world is bathed in vibrant warm tones of reds, oranges, pinks and yellows all mirrored by the sea.
It’s an intense moment to capture nature’s raw beauty and makes you appreciate the incredible gift of sight we so often take for granted. Working at sea, I had a growing collection of eyewear and decided to explore new designs that challenged what was available. After careful prototypes and multiple flights to eyewear shows, I launched my very first collection of sunglasses that were my answer to both style and performance needed in eyewear.
Do you have different ranges or collections? How are your sunglasses categorised?
My degree in Architecture taught me that great design is all about balance. If the person has particularly hard and sharp features, then a softer round sunglasses frame would complement them. Equally rounded facial features would suit a sharper more angular frame to offer structural balance.
This approach runs throughout all of our three frame shapes and each one incorporates a balance of hard and soft angles and shapes within the sunglasses frame design to suit a wider audience.
In fact, we’ve never had a single pair returned in the two years we’ve been going, despite offering free delivery and returns. I hope that speaks for itself.
Can you talk us through the design process and where they are manufactured?
Every design began sat at anchor! When I felt inspired by a new place, I created a collection to fit it, from the volcanic sands of Greece to the crystal clear waters hidden below the cliff edge town of Eze in France.
None of our designs are picked out of a catalogue, so you won’t find anyone else wearing a similar pair to you on your adventures.
When you’re on the water all day it doesn’t take long before squinkles (squint wrinkles) start to set in. So every pair of our sunglasses integrate superior optical clarity with new generation polarised lenses with full UV protection.
We now use an Italian company called Mazzucchelli with six generations of craftsmanship to source our frame materials. They can actually be hand adjusted to give better head grip if the weather heats up, or you’ve put on a little too much sun cream and your sunglasses are trying to slide down your nose like a ski jump.
What about the synergy between your product and luxury yachting – why are yours the perfect sunglasses for style-conscious yacht enthusiasts?
Whether you call it wanderlust, a love of the sea, or good old curiosity, the fact remains the same: If your hunger to explore cannot be quenched, no matter how many vacations, voyages and passage plans you make, then Golden Hour is for you.
We find the perfect balance between style and performance. Every yacht provides a function, but the great ones carry themselves with elegance on the water. That’s our vision for Golden Hour sunglasses too.
How can people buy your product – just online, or are they available in any bricks and mortar stores yet?
Until now we’ve tried to keep ourselves online, but a few super cool stores have really wanted to promote us, so we’re happy to oblige for a while. But with free worldwide postage and returns it’s just so much easier for our customers to have it sent directly to them - and it works well for us too.
Finally what are your ambitions for the brand – where would you like to be in 5 years time?
We aim to constantly push the boundaries of performance and atheistic design with every new collection we release. We’re challenging the status quo and making the most durable products so that our customers can live their amazing lives without compromise.
So many people are supporting a small independent team like ours and we’re really thankful for them. We work day and night to make sure that they have the best sunglasses in the world and we want to treat them like family (the kind you like). This is a value we don’t ever want to change no matter how many years we continue to grow.