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If you haven’t noticed by now, we here at The Gloss have a bit of a sunglasses obsession. We also love people and brands that give back. So when I heard about Extinct, I jumped at the opportunity to show you all what these kick-ass sunglasses are all about.

These aren’t just great sunglasses; the heart behind the company is firmly planted in an incredibly important cause: animal conservation. Extinct Sunwear is the brainchild of Alex Ferriera and Kaitlyn Yee, a couple that truly cares about the future of endangered animals. Just looking through Extinct’s Instagram page, you can see that Alex and Kaitlyn are making conversation cool, one pair of sunnies at a time. For just $30, you get a killer pair of retro-inspired shades that will never go out of style, and you get the knowledge that your purchase goes towards conserving the future of endangered species.

Extinct Sunwear is the perfect balance of fashion and philanthropy. I talked to Alex and Kaitlyn about everything Extinct stands for, their Kickstarter campaign, and how you can become a part of changing history.

(Related: These Floatable Bamboo Frames Are The Only Sunglasses You Can’t Lose In The Ocean This Summer)

 


The shades look awesome, what made you decide on the shape and how long did it take to come up with the idea behind Extinct? 

Kaitlyn: Thanks, Jillian! We wanted to go with a trendy look, something that would be modern and in tune with our age groups’ style. We knew we wanted to create a company that aided wildlife conservation efforts, so it seemed like a natural fit to pair it with a product that we and everybody else could rock and spread the word in.

Alex: Glad you like them! It was really important to create something timeless that would work for you whether you’re spending a day on the safari or walking the red carpet. We went with a style that’s somewhere between your favorite pair of Oliver People’s and Ray Ban Clubmasters. Like Kaitlyn said, our core mission was to find a new way to support wildlife conservation efforts. We landed on sunglasses because we loved them and could wear them everyday so we figured the rest of the world could too.

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Giving back to wildlife is really big in the news lately, especially with the tragedy of Cecil the Lion. What drives you to make a difference in the world and how did you come to support wildlife foundations?

Kaitlyn: It really sprouted out of passion. I’ve always had a deep appreciation for animals of all kinds and have questioned many times mankind’s tendency for carelessness when it comes to the wildlife we share the planet with. Luckily, there are many other people who share this thought and who are working towards conserving and protecting animals of all species whose populations have been threatened. Extinct is just a way to join them.

Alex: Cecil proves the power of our world and the Internet to stand behind an issue. It’s just a matter of continuing to bring awareness so that more join in on the fight. Unfortunately, what happen to Cecil happens every single day to hundreds of animals and I think this is just the tip of the iceberg for a movement towards a more peaceful coexistence.

I’m generally a pretty business minded guy, and I understand a lot of the messages we receive every day come from businesses and the products we decide to love and purchase. I’ve always had a desire to use business as a way to make change and Kaitlyn and I’s love for wildlife and concern for the global state of it seemed like a great way to do that.

 

(Related: Our Interview With Ethical Fashion Entrepreneur Cynthia Salim Will Change The Way You Buy Clothes)

 

I feel that sunglasses are such a universal accessory, everybody owns at least one pair, if not two or three. What goes into creating a pair of Extinct sunglasses?

Kaitlyn: Oh yeah, definitely the topper to any good outfit. A huge majority of what goes into creating a pair of Extincts is the thought process behind the style. Our goal is that each pair is inspired by an animal, and looks good on as many people as possible. Our whole brand is meant to be bold and make a statement (If you couldn’t tell from our name and logo!). Each pair comes with an Eco-friendly burlap pouch and an organic cotton sleeve inside of a unique triangle-shaped box. We generally like to top it all off with stickers or a friend discount so anyone who orders can pass on the message and help raise awareness.

Alex: I own three! It’s pretty hard not to love a sweet pair of sunglasses.

A pair of Extincts (and there are more in the works!) starts with a process to find the frame style and overall look. We spend a lot of time looking at what’s current, but also what’s retro and still around. Once we have the frame down, we work with our manufacturer to perfect it and choose materials. We’ve chosen to go exclusively with polarized lenses, as we need them in our everyday lives and we believe they make a huge difference for regular wearers. We’re already working toward ways to create the most sustainable pair of sunglasses we possibly can and that includes our packaging. Our overall goal is to be bold, sustainable, and stylish.

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What other ways, besides backing the campaign, can people get involved with the causes that Extinct backs?

Kaitlyn: It’s so easy to get involved these days, and this is one of the most pressing issues that you have the opportunity to stand behind. It can be as simple as sharing an impactful photo on your Instagram or Facebook which could spark someone else to think and consider. Most organizations offer opportunities to donate time either locally or internationally to aid these animals.

Alex: There are a whole bunch of incredible ways to get involved in wildlife conservation. It starts by simply being more conscious and aware of the activities you partake in. Be aware of the companies you buy from and take the time to educate yourself on what’s really taking place on our planet. There are fantastic opportunities all over the world that allow you to volunteer your time for conservation efforts. This is one, a great way to travel and see the world, and two adds feet on the ground in places where it’s needed most.

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What made you choose Kickstarter as a way to get your brand out there? 

Kaitlyn: Kickstarter is sort of a hotbed for change in that it has created a way for people to start things they never could even dream of. A lot of trends tend to start there, so hopefully this is one we can get to spark a whole bunch of other companies that help support this issue.

Alex: We chose Kickstarter for two main reasons. One, because we didn’t have the funds to meet our initial minimum order and two because Kickstarter is a global platform. We wanted to get our message in front of as many people as possible and it’s been amazing to see all the support and like-minded people join in.

 

What’s the next step for Extinct?

Kaitlyn: We’re hoping to join the new wave of sustainable companies who makes a substantial impact on global problems and, more selectively, the existence of threatened species. We plan to offer a large variety of apparel and accessories, all staying true to our ethos by being Eco-friendly and trendy.

Alex: Once our campaign is finished and hopefully successful, we’ll be getting straight to more sunglasses and some other goodies we think everyone will like. Whatever you might need for a day at the beach or a long hike through the forest, we have in the works!

Head over to Kickstarter and support Extinct Sunwear. You won’t regret it.