You can't throw a proverbial stone anywhere on social media these days without hitting a pair of Lexxola sunglasses. Whether you’re a celebrity superfan or just clung to cool style a bit, it’s impossible not to notice the extent to which the London-based brand is influencing the fashion world today. And even if the name Lexxola doesn’t ring a bell, you’ve probably seen the shades on one of the many A-listers who wore them, a list of names that seems more taking through of the sun.
It seems like an evening brand, but more specifically the warm glass aviator silhouette called Damien has become * a sign of Gen Z's remarkable bright and playful aesthetic . The lineup offers a strictly edited range of sunglasses that all follow the same template of thick black acetate frames married to translucent lenses in a range of punches colors such as orange, blue, and yellow. Launched in late 2019, the brand isn’t even two years old and has been able to create the kind of impact that heritage labels only dream of, the kind of have-to-have impact that has inspired a million its signature dupes retro -cool shade (an Amazon search for “tinted sunglasses” delivers over 2000 hits).
Call me bias, because I own a couple of blue shades of Jordy, but I find myself that it will take for the statement shade more than I thought I would. Simple ingredients? Add a pair of colorful sunglasses and it instantly becomes a full look. Do not believe? Just look at Dua Lipa Kourtney Kardashian or Kaia Gerber —which are just a few of the faces you’ll recognize giving sunglasses.
We reached out to Lexxola founder, Zane Saleh, to dispel the insane hype he had created around the brand, discuss the economics of dupes that emerged in the wake of Lexxola’s rise, and why Gen Z was in them all. Oh, and introduce in the brand’s latest shape, the shiny inspiration of the ' 90s [Eva] 194 .
I want to start by sharing with you a little more about your background. Have you worked in the accessories space before?
Actually, no. My background is pretty unconventional in the fashion world. First of all, I studied economics at university, and then I ended up landing a job in art, where I worked four to four or five years before starting out like Lexxola.
Wait, you've had zero fashion experience, let alone the accessories space ? That's appealing Do you think it had an effect on your aesthetic and the look and feel of the sunglasses?
It allows us to work as a team in a different kind of way. From having conversations with other fashion companies, there is a structure and parameters that fashion brands have always used in the past. And I think coming from an unconventional background with essentially zero experience allows us to think freely and write our own rules.
First of all, I have always been a fan of sunglasses. However, where it came from, is a step back to look at what the inherent problems are within the industry. I noticed a major lack of inclusion and sense of community in existing eyewear companies available to younger Millennials and Gen Z ' s. It felt like the gap between brands and communities reflected some sort of oddly dated hierarchical approach. As we got further away, we started to look at how the industry was structured-very monopolistic and dated. These large companies no longer need to innovate, which has brought this ecosystem where there is a lack of innovation. Re-inventing old styles shouldn’t be the norm, but that’s how it felt. So we tried to create a brand that spoke to this modern glass experience, and to the fact that we live in an expressive and inclusive society.
It's like building a community that's really at the heart of the DNA brand. When you first launched, did you ever think to yourself “I really want to see them wearing sunglasses”?
What we want to do is be a digital mirror in society. Living in cities and being around cities my whole life, and going to places like New York, I realize that these are spaces that are rich in culture and diversity, and people with different & Different talents. So [our ideal customer] is not one-dimensional. When we took that visible perspective, it became easier for us to highlight who we wanted to work with and just go on asking ourselves, "Do they represent our values?"
I feel the calling card for Gen Z has become Lexxola and more specifically Damien in orange and yellow tints. Without fail, I can open my TikTok and see the sunglasses all over my For Page (and across social media in general). Why do you think they became famous in Gen Z?
I think there ' s different reasons and it ' s all beyond being something visually cool. Ultimately, a big reason lies in timing. We really started to gain traction in the early months of 2020 and then of course the last 15 or 16 months of each other’s lives were locked indoors during these unheard of times. People have no choice but to express themselves digitally. So you have a whole generation of young individuals looking for meaningful products. Beyond what we talked about in a sense of community and the product was just cool, it is clearly that there is a need for the younger generation that has experienced a really tough time over the past few years. looking for something really expressive, and I think that’s what came to [Lexxola].
With all the buzz inevitably came many copycat styles and there were undoubtedly infiltrated the market. If anything, that’s a good sign that you’re doing something right. But what are your thoughts on all the many dupes that people promote as the real thing?
Immediately, we loved them. Here’s the thing: we’re selling to a younger generation, right? So we realize that ultimately, our product is not cheap. We are not necessarily the cheapest on the market. And at the end of the day, our products are built to inspire the confidence that leads to action in cities, so if you can get that at a cheaper price, who’s to say that’s wrong? 
Is there a frame that sells best? And colorway?
Damien was the first bestseller and became the longest -running bestseller, but Jordy is really close if we don’t beat it and we recently released Antonio which became a success. Ultimately, that’s the fusion of Damien and Jordy. We took the favorable aspects of both and produced a style that was 93% statistically similar to the average of the two. We try to create a product based on what customers love, but yes, in general, Damien black and orange is our icon .
We had a style formerly called Vale that we decided was not part of the future. But honestly, since then a large portion of our customers have continued to demand it. When will it return? When can I order it again? So we created a new iteration of that product, renamed it, and we actually managed to bring it to the most affordable price we could offer. Meet Eva . It is similar to what we have before but much improved. It is also more ergonomically sound. And fill that gap in our list where we are missing right now.
Was there a moment when you actually noticed the brand coming out? Do you have any kind of "Oh shit!" sandals?
I always feel like Gen Z wants to feel a situation, they want to know about the brand to know if they represent their values rather than just looking at a product and saying, “Oh, I like the look that. ”So we didn’t have a big moment needed. It’s become more continuous and consistent growth of integration, which I think reflects how this generation works when you compare them to the first generations of Instagram. Gen Z really wants to be a part of something. It’s no longer enough to just be a brand, they want to feel part of a community, they want to know a little more about the brand. And I think that translates into a slower development, but a more measurable approach to online shopping.
You said earlier that you consider Lexxola to be "somewhere between a fashion brand and a service company." What is the required part of the service in this?
We try and talk to our customers in all vertical respects, whether that's the focus groups in London where we bring a selection of customers to the office and ask them how we can be more great. There’s real life strategy and then there’s all the digital social media platforms. What’s funny is that sometimes we inadvertently stumble upon new ways in which we get information from our customers. So, for example, yesterday, we announced that we were releasing some new colorways, and in a style we called Damien and we asked people to guess.
Because human psychology is like this, people guess what they want to see. We saw these trends really clearly and reacted to them immediately. I have already talked to our factory to actually create the pairs that are most popular in this vote.