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Sunglasses: 12 Under-the-Radar Brands For Keeping Your Cool

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Image via <a href="">Smoke&amp;Mirrors</a>.
Image via Smoke&Mirrors.

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Forget flatforms, ankle bracelets or side-body bags: sunglasses are the one summer accessory that's actually an essential. And since you're wearing them on your face, you want them to be really good looking in addition to serving the very important purpose of protecting your eyes.

Fashion brands have caught up to sunglass mania recently, thanks no doubt to the work of online frames company Warby Parker, the eyewear gurus at Illesteva and fashion designer Karen Walker, whose inventive frames are everywhere these days. After the jump, we've found 12 other brands worthy of shopping for all your sunglass needs. Some are brand-new, some are old celebrity faithfuls that have stood the test of time, all are winners in the style department.

1. Garrett Leight: Garrett Leight is the son of Oliver Peoples founder Larry Leight, so you better believe he knows how to make great eyewear. Based in Southern California, these frames have an understated cool that's surprisingly hard to master. [Site]

2. Masunaga: This one's for the lovers of heritage goods. Masunaga was born in Fukui, Japan in 1905. The company is obsessed with quality and still produces everything in house. [Site]

Image via.

3. Sunday Somewhere: This Sydney brand produces super-cute, modern frames. They recently collaborated with popular blogger Rumi Neely of FashionToast on a capsule going for $320 a pair. [Site]

4. Barton Perreira: These high-end styles are stocked at Barneys and Opening Ceremony and worn by celebs like Angelina Jolie and Ryan Gosling. [Site]

5. KBL: Founded by Kara Mendelsohn, formerly of Thakoon and Marc by Marc Jacobs, and her husband, formerly a director of sales at Oliver Peoples, KBL offers colorful takes on aviators, cat eyes and more. Expect to pay around $200 per pair. [Site]

6. Le Specs: Austrialia is producing a ton of great sunglass brands, most likely because they're uniquely challenged when dealing with intense sun exposure. Retailing at $40 to $80, Le Specs offer great design and value for the cost. [Site]

7. Etnia: Dreamed up by a group of Barcelona-based creatives, these specs are crafted of sustainable materials in Milan. The brand pride itself on bold colors; its latest Wild Love in Africa collection was made in collaboration with the NGO Africa Rising Foundation. [Site]

8. Smoke&Mirrors: If you love Ray-Bans but hate wearing the same brand as everyone else, Smoke&Mirror's clean classics are for you. The new brand is designed in NYC and handmade in Italy. [Site]

9. Italia Independent: Sunglasses with mirrored lenses are big this summer and Italia Independent has got an wide selection of frames that fit right into the trend. Chiara Ferragni of The Blonde Salad is a fan—she's got a collab on the site that features frames covered in leather. [Site]

Image via Fame/Flynet.

10. Oliver Goldsmith: Founded in 1926, London's Oliver Goldsmith rose to prominence in the 1950s, outfitting everyone from Grace Kelly to Audrey Hepburn to, much later, Princess Diana. Fourth-generation family member Claire Goldsmith relaunched the label in 2004 using archival frames, which are now stocked at eyewear boutiques all over the world. [Site]

11. Pared: This handmade sunglass line is all about unique, high quality construction and attention to detail. The eye-catching frames look like they are straight out of Anna Della Russo's closet, but the price point is way friendlier. [Site]

12. Spektre Sunglasses: Italian-made and Milan-based, Spektre has fully embraced the mirrored lens, offering varieties for every face and style. [Site]