Aether creates eyewear, but not as you know it. The brand, which is based between Tallinn in Estonia and Shanghai in China, was launched earlier this year with a premier collection of distinctively modern sunglasses and spectacles that are integrated with open-ear audio technology – letting you instantly access your music collection or podcasts and enjoy immaculate call clarity. It sounds like something you'd encounter in a science fiction film set in the distant future, but Aether has made it a modern day reality.
Aether is the brainchild of three friends: Hannes Unt, Andy Shi and Raymond Shi. After identifying a gap in the global market, they decided to channel their expertise in areas of product design, brand development, and creative direction to create a product that would push the boundaries of audio technology and high-end eyewear design. “Our goal was to create a wearable design object as a portal to a holistic aural experience, allowing users to tune into the soundscape that reflects their mood while staying connected the present moment.” says Unt, Aether's creative director.
At the brand's core is an appreciation for great design: one of its core principles is that audio eyewear will only really work if it looks and feels like a pair of well-made glasses. In keeping with its commitment to using only high quality materials that you would expect from a premium eyewear brand, Aether uses Carl Zeiss lenses and acetate from renowned Italian manufacturer Mazzucchelli 1849 for its frames, which are mechanically cut and hand-finished in a 25-step process. Ultra-lightweight nylon-injected temples are fixed to the frames with a custom hinge, promising ultimate comfort with every wear. Each model weighs less than 40 grams, so you'll barely notice you're even wearing them.
In a world of sensory overload, the freedom to set your own tone – to filter the elements you want to focus on and minimise those you don't – shouldn't be underestimated. Aether's open-ear listening experience lets you engage with the world around you while customising your own personal ambience. Add to that considered aesthetics in the form of sleek curves, clean lines and refined details, and you have what's set to be the future of eyewear. You'll never want to wear normal glasses again.
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