A 23-year-old former Peebles High School pupil is aiming to raise a final £2,500 to help increase production of his hemp sunglasses.
Sam Whitten, who grew up in Broughton, studied international product design at Glasgow Caledonian University.
It was while laid up with a broken leg last year and researching for his dissertation that he came up with the idea of using the sustainable material, which has a huge variety of uses, including biofuel, clothes and paper.
“The idea came after researching a special hemp composite material – hemp and flax fibres are combined with an eco-friendly resin to create a sheet material,” Mr Whitten said.
“After some market research I found there did not exist any hemp sunglasses, therefore creating a new application for the material.”
Working towards the prestigious New Designers 2014 exhibition in London in July, Mr Whitten finished making prototype glasses in a makeshift workshop at his parents’ home in Broughton.
“New Designers 2014 was a big success as the sunglasses received a lot of attention and Hemp Eyewear was featured in an article by the website ‘Cool Hunting’,” Mr Whitten said.
“After this, Hemp Eyewear snowballed and has been featured on hundreds of websites and blogs, as well as receiving thousands of pre-orders on hempeyewear.com”
In a bid to raise the funds to manufacture on a larger scale, Mr Whitten has taken to the Kickstarter crowdfunding website, looking for £25,000.He said: “I am confident we will reach our funding goal due to the amount of attention Hemp Eyewear has received from around the world, and the Kickstarter campaign is currently at £22,500.”
Mr Whitten added: “The long-term goal for Hemp Eyewear is to develop the product line by creating more styles of sunglasses, as well as a 100 per cent hemp clothing line.
In the future I plan to use hemp in furniture and also in architecture.”