Sk8Shades Shines In South African Skateboard Community

Sk8Shades is a skateboard sunglass company based out of South Africa. We know skateboard sunglasses are not a new trend, but Sk8Shades are taking them to the next level. Sk8Shades has honestly embraced the Reuse & Recycle aspect of skateboard made sunglasses. All Sk8Shades frames are made out of skateboards used by skaters in the South African skateboard community and beyond.

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In South Africa, boards are highly valued, they are passed around and shared by riders until there is almost no deck left. Dave, the owner and creator of Sk8Shades has set up a system to encourage riders to bring him their used skateboards. The program is a point based system which exchanges used decks for new decks or sunglasses. Sk8shades is enabling riders, who may not of be able otherwise, to ride on new decks for the first time. While, sharing the importance of a renew & recycle lifestyle. We talked to Dave, the owner, about his brand.

What do you think makes Sk8Shades stand out from other skateboard sunglass brands?

I think it is the way we use the material, making sure we get as much out of one board as possible. The combination of the colorful layered and dirty materials as well as the 3-ply cross-layered frames makes them different from anything else out there. Dirty temples are standard on Sk8shades because we love to show the graphics and the boards previous history. The layered plywood frame shows the fresh wood hidden in each board with colours that came back to life once sanded and sealed. We also don’t use any CNC equipment and most of the machinery is at least second hand. The only automated process is the shaping of lenses, which is done with a Weco 1060 and a Weco 1066i, we would have a state of the art mini lab, if it was 1979.

Is Sk8Shades still a one man job?

Not anymore, I have fellow skater and former optical lab technician Dane Strike working for me full time. He has 4 years of lab experience in fitting lenses and I have been teaching him how to work with wood. While I still make the frames, Dane has learned most of the processing of the boards, breaking them down into useable pieces and has learned some finishing skills. He also does most of the work on the temples and takes care of sealing the frames.

What’s your favorite skate trick?

It’s a tie between a Layback grind and a Texas Plant at the moment.

You give out free new boards in exchange for the used ones. Has this inspired/enabled more people to start skateboarding in your community?

We trade new boards for used boards to motivate kids not to throw them away and to get them out from under their beds! Some kids come with boards that are completely destroyed and others give us boards that still have some life. We make sure these boards are traded again to someone with a totally beat down ride so that they can keep skating. There are a few kids around the park that borrow boards and don’t have their own, if we get any spare hardware we will assemble boards and make sure they go to a kid that doesn’t have one.

What have you made out of skateboards other than sunglasses?

My first project was the classic skateboard shelf, and then I made some light covers and some other random things, like vases and stuff. Using one of the last pieces of those boards I made my first pair of sunglasses. Since then, June 2012, I have made about 1000 pairs of sunglasses and have recently started going through the off-cuts to figure out other things to make. I have made skateboard racks, bottle openers, random Girl figures, a collapsable tripod for an iPhone, picture frames, dog tags, jewelry boxes, sunglass cases and a couple other things.

Are involved in any other community skateboard programs outside of the Sk8Shades exchange?

Not really at the moment but there are a couple of us working on a design for a new park in the city and we try to do a few DIY spots around town to keep the kids motivated.

Thank you, Dave.
For more information about Sk8Shades watch the video below or visit them online at Sk8Shades.com.

Sk8shades – Sunglasses from old skateboards. from Dave de Witt on Vimeo.

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