If you pick them up, you realize they are not Ray-Ban knockoffs. They are so light they almost float away, and the frames come in several stylish finishes and shapes.
The company that makes the sunglasses, among other things, debuted at Norman Music Festival last year. Kynd Clothing is a collaboration between Matt Longoria, from Oklahoma, and California boy Brent Gill. Both attended the University of Oklahoma and met while waiting tables at Red Lobster in Norman. The duo had been kicking around the idea of a sustainable clothing company for some time before getting things rolling last year.
“I went to OU for meteorology,” Gill said. “I was going to be a stormchaser.”
Now, he chases fashion and waves.
He graduated and quickly moved back to California, where he works in food service and gets to take his surfboard to work every day. Developing the clothing company hasn’t left him with much spare time, though.
“Both of us do this every waking hour outside of our night jobs,” said Gill.
It has been a yearlong journey culminating in the launch of the project on Indiegogo.com, a crowd-sourcing platform, to ask for funds to get it up and running at full speed. The brand is trying to raise $55,000.
“It’s an ambitious goal, but we want to see if we could do it all at once and get this started,” Gill said.
Making the clothing line out of bamboo was an obvious choice because of the qualities that make bamboo a truly renewable resource.
“A lot of people understand that some resources are sustainable, but they don’t really understand why,” Gill said.
Gill is knowledgeable about bamboo facts that range from interesting to near-miraculous. It makes an excellent clothing material; it is softer than cotton and “feels like a blend of cashmere and silk,” Gill said.
It also is capable of replenishing itself in a very short amount of time. According to Gill, some species of bamboo can grow up to three inches an hour. Also, fields of bamboo require no time to rest between plantings, so there’s no need to rotate the crop as one would with cotton, for example.
His plans are not set in stone, but in addition to his ambitions to sell sustainable and comfortable clothing, he would like to see changes to the retail clothing world.
“We’re trying to shift the emphasis to where it really should be — the companies knowing all about it, taking it upon themselves to educate their customers to do the right thing,” he said.
You can find Kynd’s products at kyndclothing.com, and it will direct you to the company’s Indiegogo page.
Donors may contribute until April 25.