The temperature is dropping and you’re sporting your winter coat, but that doesn’t mean you should put your shades in hibernation. Summertime might get all the credit for the sun’s highest potency, but the fact is, its UV rays are just as damaging in the winter. The guys at Red’s Outfitters know this fact and want to help you protect your eyes year-round.
In 2011, Whitner Milner and Brian Francis were recent college grads living together in Atlanta when the idea for a new sunglasses brand was born. “They saw a niche in the market that wasn’t being filled,” said co-founder Will Cowan. “They were sick of not being able to find high-quality sunglasses in the colors they wanted. Both of their families were well-connected in the apparel industry, so they started doing some serious brainstorming.”
Before the idea could gain momentum, tragedy struck. That April, practicing breath-holding exercises for an upcoming spearfishing trip, Whitner lost his life to Shallow Water Blackout, which occurs when the victim hyperventilates beneath the water’s surface. Deeply affected by the loss of his friend, Brian reached out to Whitner’s younger brother, Cason, and college roommate, Will, hoping to continue the idea in Whitner’s honor. It successfully took form when Atlanta-based designer Greg Mike of ABV Agency was brought on for creative control, and in late August of the same year their friend was lost, the brand began to take shape.
The team named the newborn company in honor of Whitner’s long-time companion, a faithful yellow lab named Red. Promising a portion of their profits to Shallow Water Blackout Prevention, founded by Rhonda Milner in her son’s memory, the four set out to give new life to the memory of their friend.
A few months ago, Red’s Outfitters officially launched with 12 styles – with Red’s canine silhouette on the side of each pair of frames. The Italian handmade glasses are crafted from acetate and come boxed with Whitner’s story. Upcoming collections will include new colors, styles for sportsmen, a smaller Wayfarer and glasses for women.
“When Whitner and I first started running with the idea, we knew we wanted to be more than just a brand,” said Francis. “We wanted to create something that represented everything we love and stand for. Whitner lived his life to the fullest; we’re trying to honor that.”
Red’s Outfitters sunglasses can be purchased online.