Born and raised in Venice, California, BreakWater Shades is an environmentally friendly, innovative, and socially conscious wooden sunglasses company. The reason BreakWater Shades exists is a result of the founder’s love of the ocean, and the fact that plastic pollution is on pace to outweigh fish in the sea by 2050! We will either continue to use plastic at an unsustainable rate (which would be like throwing away society), or we will upgrade to eco- friendly products. The time for an environmental restyling is now. So, we are doing our part by producing durable, comfortable, outstanding, and eco-friendly frames with crystal clear lenses. Furthermore, BreakWater partners with organizations fighting to keep our oceans, beaches, lakes, and rivers clean. A simple upgrade of your sunglasses can make a big difference -- protect our planet, protect your vision.
BreakWater Shades is the brain baby of Venice local, Miguel Gallo. Growing up in Venice Beach, boogie boarding and body surfing the Venice breakwater were some of his favorite pastimes. He loved the Venice breakwater, in particular, because it produced the best waves, it was closest to his home, and it was near the boardwalk. The more time he spent there, the more he began to notice the amount of plastic bottles and bags in the water and along the shoreline. Miguel always had an adventurous spirit; one rainy day he went out to catch some big waves with his buddies by the breakwater. He realized the debris was even worse on that day. Nothing puts a damper on the childlike wonder of catching a sweet wave like a plastic bag in the face! So at the age of 11, he signed up to volunteer for Heal the Bay. He spent many weekends cleaning up the beach instead of playing video games with his friends. During that time, he learned about how plastic pollution was killing marine life and impacting our environment. He was inspired by Heal the Bay’s plans to implement storm drains and “don’t litter” campaigns. Many years later, Miguel wound up at Humboldt State University – one of the most environmentally friendly college communities. As a football player for the school (some would say an unlikely environmentalist), he walked into a town of tree huggers and began to learn in greater detail about the impacts of human consumption and industry on our ecosystems. One of the most tangible memories he has about this time is traveling back and forth between Los Angeles and Humboldt, and noticing the stark difference in air quality between the two counties. This is something, if you live in Los Angeles long enough, you become numb to. When you go to a place like Humboldt and breathe the fresh air for the first time, it becomes clear that pollution is real, even if you can’t see it.
Long after the college days had passed, back home in Venice, Miguel was sitting under the “V” sculpture, gazing out at the breakwater – cultivating an eco-friendly eyewear business plan to help alleviate climate change and ocean pollution. It was at that moment he realized the breakwaters are there to protect the marina and the lifeguard tower. This was something so obvious, but even though the breakwater had been so familiar to him in the vein of good waves, he had never thought of it in this way before. He realized there is a powerful metaphor in his beloved Venice breakwater. From this a-ha moment, BreakWater Shades was born: eco-friendly, premium wooden sunglasses that look great, raise eco- consciousness, and reduce plastic consumption at an accessible rate.