No Sun No Problem: 9 Great British Sunglasses Brands

Some real hidden gems.

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Growing up in Manchester, I know the U.K. isn’t the sunniest of places. While on its day it can be beautiful, overall it’s not the first place I’d think would be a hive of sunglasses brands.

That hasn’t stopped plenty of sunglasses companies operating successfully in the country. Heritage, high-end brands like Cutler and Gross and Oliver Goldsmith mix with newer faces like Cubitts and Taylor Morris.

Most of the brands on this list design their glasses in the U.K. and do the manufacturing elsewhere, with Italy and Japan being obvious choices due to the glasses making expertise in these countries. Some of them, like Kirk Originals and Banton Frameworks, do at least part or all of the manufacturing process in the U.K.

Here is my list of British sunglasses brands. Oh, and if I’ve missed your favorite, be sure to send me a message so I can consider adding it to the article.

Best British Sunglasses Brands

Cutler and Gross

Cutler and Gross is perhaps the most well-known British sunglasses brand. The company has been designing luxury specs since 1969. It has a large variety of frames and comes up with some truly unique and interesting designs. While the shades are designed in London, the manufacturing is done in Italy for access to high-quality acetate. The brand’s trademark is thick retro style acetate frames in a variety of colors. Cutler and Gross also produce a collection of frames for Paul Smith.

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Cubitts was founded in 2013 in London. It has a collection that features a mixture of both modern up-to-date frames and more classic styles. Prices are mid-range with most frames coming in at around £125 (~$159). The brand makes acetate and metal frames, and you can get them with prescription lens.

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Taylor Morris Eyewear

Taylor Morris Eyewear was founded in 2013 and sells sunglasses both online and from its flagship store in London. The brand sells a relatively small, yet unique collection of frames in a variety of colors. They sell both metal and acetate frames, as well as those that combine materials. The price of the frames ranges from the mid to mid-high end. What’s more, the site offers international delivery. Check it out below.

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Banton Frameworks

Banton Frameworks design and make their sunglasses from hand in Glasgow from European acetate. In fact, they claim to be the only frames maker in the whole of Scotland. The brand has a small selection of frames in up-to-date styles. The company has a really interesting page about the design process you can check out on the company’s website here.

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Spitfire is a London-based sunglasses label that produces a selection of modern on-trend frames. The glasses are quite affordable coming in at under $100. They mostly use acetate and metal. Spitfire is a good choice if you want a pair of on-trend frames without paying through the nose.

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Kirk Originals

Kirk Originals was founded in 1992 and the frames are hand finished in the UK. It has a strong tradition in music and has been worn by stars such as Mick Jagger, Liam Gallagher, and Paul Weller. Kirk Originals is a high-end brand and has a nice selection of quality acetate frames.

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Oliver Goldsmith

Oliver Goldsmith was founded in 1926 and is now run by the fourth generation of the Goldsmith family. The glasses are UK designed and the manufacturing process takes in expertise from Japan, and Italy. The sunglasses are high-end frames and they come in a variety of classic and modern styles using both metal and acetate.

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Finlay and Co.

Finlay and Co glasses are designed in the UK and then handmade in Italy. You can buy both prescription frames and sunglasses. The brand sells a variety of styles in several colors at a mid-range price point.

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Sunwise is an Oxford-based brand that makes sunglasses for sport. They sell glasses for running, hiking, cycling, golf, cricket, and more. The glasses are amongst the most affordable on this list typically coming in at well-under £100 (~$127). The company sells both glasses marked as “Made in Britain” and ones as “Designed in Britain.”

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Duncan Elder

Duncan is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Boardwalk. He's a menswear writer who has spent the last 15 years developing his own sense of style, which lies at the cross-section of mid-noughties indie and Uniqlo-inspired minimalism.

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