NEW YORK—Ahead of Pride Month in June, seven CFDA eyewear designers are uniting to launch the third annual edCFDA Pride Eyewear Initiative. The designers Blake Kuwahara (Blake Kuwahara Eyewear), Christian Roth (Christian Roth Eyewear), Gai Gherardi and Barbara McReynolds (l.a.Eyeworks), Jeff Press (PRESS), Patty Perreira (Barton Perreira), Selima Salaun (Selima Optique) and Stirling Barrett (KREWE), will each offer a limited edition sunglass design, with a portion of the proceeds collectively benefiting Bring Change to Mind. The designs were debuted at The Loft Eyewear Show in New York on March 14, 2024.

Established in 2022, the edCFDA Pride Eyewear Initiative is an annual charitable venture driven by eyewear designers of the CFDA to target and highlight specific needs within the broad spectrum of the LGBTQ+ and gender non-conforming community. With donations to LGBTQ+ causes totaling more than $100,000 in its first two years, an expansion from five to seven designers this season bodes well for a record-breaking year in 2024.

In 2023, as reported in VMAIL, edCFDA announed a collective donation of $53,600 to the TransLatin@ Coalition. Gai Gherardi, co-founder/designer of l.a.Eyeworks, said, “While it is the eyewear designers, with the CFDA’s support, who have piloted this outstanding effort, it is also a testament to the optical community—retailers and customers alike—who have embraced the importance of visibility for these causes.”

Proceeds from sales of the 2024 edCFDA Pride Eyewear Initiative will benefit Bring Change to Mind (BC2M), an organization dedicated to ending stigma and discrimination surrounding mental health. The edCFDA’s collective donation will target BC2M's high school programs, where almost half of the teens identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community, as well as BC2M’s LGBTQ+ Youth Mental Health Task Force, which is designed to build empathetic allies and activists, and provide crucial support to LGBTQ+ youth.

Blake Kuwahara, founder/designer of Blake Kuwahara Eyewear, said, “Access to mental health resources, particularly for LGBTQ+ youth, is so critical and often lacking in most communities. We’re honored to partner this year with Bring Change to Mind to help them continue their support programs and to broaden their reach to even more high schools across the United States.”

Pamela Harrington, executive director of Bring Change to Mind, said “Given the expanding legacy and impact of the edCFDA Pride Eyewear Initiative, Bring Change to Mind is honored to be recognized for our mental health work with high school teens across the country. We are excited to partner with the designers that will be donating a percentage of their Pride collection sales to enable the growth of our LBGTQ+ programs. BC2M’s peer-led clubs are building safe spaces for students to convene in their schools, create connectivity, build critical supports, promote allyship and save lives.”

The participating eyewear designers are members of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, and lead the edCFDA, a working group within the CFDA that seeks to expand the understanding and presence of designer eyewear as a vital component of contemporary fashion. The edCFDA aims to inspire, empower and promote awareness of eyewear design and the vitality of the optical industry through promotion, education, mentoring and collaborative initiatives.

Christian Roth, co-founder of Christian Roth Eyewear, said, “Spearheading the edCFDA, I am very proud of the collective power of our group. With passion and camaraderie we achieve meaningful goals and make a positive impact within the world of independent eyewear design.”

Lisa Smilor, executive vice president of the CFDA, said, “The members who make up the edCFDA are true leaders within the fashion industry. For more than a decade, these designers have shown what is possible through collaborative efforts. Leveraging the strength of the group as a whole, they provide greater global visibility for American eyewear design excellence overall, while also raising significant funds to support worthy charitable organizations. The example that they set, and the results that they continue to achieve, are both inspiring and laudable.”