Made in the South Awards 2017

Maho Shades

Style category winner Kris and Alex Anderson’s sunglasses are tailor-made for style and sport

photo: ALISON GOOTEE

Sunglasses from Maho Shades.

Sunglasses rank high on the list of the world’s frequently lost objects. For Kris and Alex Anderson, that familiar exasperation turned to inspiration. Right after the couple moved to the U.S. Virgin Islands in 2014, they both shed costly pairs while paddleboarding St. John’s paradisiacal Maho Bay. “We figured we aren’t the only people who want high-quality sunglasses that aren’t so expensive you’re afraid to wear them,” says Kris, whose corporate law background included eyewear clients. Nine research-intensive months later, Maho Shades was hatched. Even mosquito-borne disease couldn’t stop the venture—when Zika hit the islands at the same time Alex became pregnant, the Andersons relocated the business to Alabama’s Gulf Coast.

Alex, a former interior designer, shepherds the brand’s fashionable styles. Inspired by architecture and named for favorite destinations, from Ibiza to Nashville, the glasses also include performance characteristics you’d want for sportfishing and other outdoor pursuits—durability, color enhancement, glare reduction, and more. Beginning this winter, cutting-edge manufacturing will provide bespoke service: Customers can have their faces scanned in 3D via an iPad at a local Maho retailer (if you’re ordering online, you’ll be sent a pair of measurement frames); the precise dimensions will then be used to hand-tool frames out of zyl acetate, a lightweight but sturdy material made from eco-friendly cotton fiber and wood pulp. Kris likens the fit to that of “a Savile Row suit,” but at a fraction of the price.

>Sunglasses, $200-$250 from mahoshades.com


MORE MADE IN THE SOUTH:

>Style winner: Maho Shades
>Style runner-up: Lina Rosa
>Style runner-up: Jenni Earle
>Style runner-up: Blair’s Belts

See all winners and runners-up


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