"I received a phone call from Youjung our Senior Designer who said to me, 'Selin, I have my heart set on the Blue Dealer sunglasses.'" - Selin, Sabah Sun
The idea for Sabah Sun was born in February of 2020 over a couple glasses of wine and baklava at a gathering I hosted for the American Turkish Society in New York. I was chatting with Selin, a designer from Istanbul with a deep knowledge and extensive experience in eyewear design & production. I love talking with passionate experts; Selin is exactly that.
Nearly 8 years in, I was ready to expand the Sabah business, and wanted to do it in a meaningful way. Eyewear had always been on my mind as a great option, like Sabahs -- a blend of function & form, an accessory that serves as a vehicle for independent expression, and an opportunity to create high value for our customers by delivering a premier product at a great price in a market that is crowded, and often overpriced.
So a couple months later, with Selin and her colleague, YouJung, as our guides, we began the process of mood boarding, ideating, designing and prototyping sunglasses with one of the finest small batch eyewear producers in Italy.
As I've understood with making Sabahs, the most well made product is only as great as the underlying materials. So we started by sourcing some of the best heritage acetate in the world, in a distinctly 8mm thick weight, and injected with a premium core wire, held together by real drill pins and premium hinges. Our lenses are from Carl Zeiss - one of the best lens makers in the world, be that telescopes & microscopes... or sunglasses. As such, Sabah Sunglasses are substantial, and sturdy, without being heavy or overbearing. The lenses are crisp and protect your eyes. Sabah Sun is meant to last.
From there, we focused on design -- we wanted to make sunglasses that were classic & timeless, fit many situations and as many face types possible, yet with a distinct Sabah expression, subtle and in the details. You'll find this in hand-polished acetate frames, the recessed lenses and the distinguished nose bridge. In the the details of the core wire and the asymmetrical, hand carved effect of the temple tips. And finally, like in Sabahs, in the colors - from a classic black and tortoise to a more fashion forward amber and Sabah blue.
Read on to explore.
Thanks for listening, and enjoy.
The Sabah Dealer
Carl Zeiss Sun Lenses:
Carl Zeiss is known for quality, durability and precision. Their lenses are made for both macro and micro industries, providing the technology for a range of products from eyewear to telescope lenses to medical equipment. Sabah Sun lenses go through an extensive testing phase before they are shipped. Our lenses rival some of the best known brands in the world.
Hand-polished Acetate Frames:
The Sabah Sun frame is made from some of the finest heritage acetate in the world. We've chosen to work with 8mm thick acetate sheets, which allows for the frames to be hand-polished and more beautifully sculpted than a thinner acetate frame, which is more common in standard eyewear. Sabah Sun sunglasses are substantial and the thickness of the acetate is distinguished, but not heavy. Each frame is extra well polished by craftsman at the wheel. There may be some small imperfections — its is the hand-finishing that makes each unique.
A recessed lens is more about design than functionality. You can see how the lens sits in from the frame creating an architectural effect. This was an important design detail to add character and attitude to Sabah Sun; and can only be accomplished thanks to the thickness of the acetate we sourced.
Anti-reflective Lens Coating:
When the sun comes in from the back of your frame, it is met with anti-reflective lens coating that prevents glare and really increasing the performance and functional benefits of your sunglasses.
Premium Hinge Screws:
We source Sabah Sun hinge screws from the most premium hinge suppliers. This results in a continuous, subtle resistance on the hinges, enabling the temples to open and close easily-- not too stiff, not too loose; and ensures over time - this resistance will remain.
Premium Core Wire:
Sabah Sun core wire is sourced in Italy. It is the skeleton of the frame — stretching from the beginning to the end of the temple. The core wire is a support mechanism, preventing unwanted bending with wear. We use a textured core wire with subtle non-uniform ridges that adds a bit of character to the overall design.
Real Drill Rivet Hinge Pins:
Occasionally some eyewear drill pins are purely aesthetic, however for Sabah Sun, they serve a functional purpose. Our pins are drilled into the frame, from the front surface to the back surface, in a way that gives the temples support & added sturdiness and holds the frames together.
Custom Designed Temple Tip:
This was a very important part of the design. We wanted to create something that looked and felt organic, but also handcrafted. We added a few extension points, similar to a wave that is asymmetrical and completely unique to Sabah Sun frames. The final design has a hand carved, organic look.
Lasered Logo with Gold Fill:
The lasered logo with gold fill was designed to match the gold drill pins on the front of the frame & temples. A small but important detail!