Mark Craig, co-founder of Activist Eyewear, emphasizes that his glasses' double-pronged Split-Fit arms aren't there for "drama's sake." The tips, which spread the weight of the frame across a broader area by clinging to the skull behind the temple and above the ear, prevent headaches and keep glasses on while wearers run for the train or make a vigorous nonverbal denial. Craig didn't set out to make futuristic-looking glasses, but he's not unhappy about the result.
"It's function that we're spinning in stylistic ways," says Craig, who designed eyewear for Michael Kors, Coach, and Nike before co-founding Activist with Anthony Codispoti in 2009.
Activist's offerings have grown remarkably since the arrival of their small first collection in 2010, but Craig continues to strum the same power chords. His sunglasses and eyeglasses are carefully shaped and boldy colored, flaunting a bit of an industrial edge. The more traditional pieces, including the company's first offering, dubbed the 10.01, resemble Ray-Ban's Wayfarers, but have flexible, hinge-free arms and subtler colorways.
The bolder looks (and it makes sense to embrace boldness if your glasses are already sporting double arms) tend toward the colorful, but there are a lot of options, notably the San Christoval, that are all business up front despite the party in the back. Because the frames also feature a biomorphic pad that grips the nose – and is way subtler than it sounds – these glasses don't slip.
The technology doesn't end there. Craig is a lens wonk, and Activist's incredible variety of hues and polarizations reflect that nerdiness. He suggests a dark amber shade for forest hiking and green for water sports. Mountaineers or beachgoers that bask in intense brightness benefit from the mirrored lenses, but there also is a level of personal preference in lens shade. "Some people just want the vibe, which is totally valid," says Craig.
Named for notable explorers and mountain ranges, Craig's glasses are made for men of action – even if that action is just getting through another day in the city. "Someone who lives in New York is...on the move all the damn time," he says. He wants to maximize that man's daily style while minimizing the headache of routine. [$425; activisteyewear.com]