Ülsje Handcrafted Glasses: A Sustainable Eyewear Brand You Need to Know About
Updated: Sep 20
Ülsje Handcrafted Glasses designed by Leo Vanweersch, made by hand and manufactured in genuine horn possibly combined with silk or wood. The designs are drawn by hand and no computer is involved. The small collection includes optical- as well as sunglasses. A design out of the small collection can be ordered made to measure. The colour of the lenses for sunglasses is also designed by Leo Vanweersch and manufactured by the renowned brand Rodenstock or Carl Zeiss. These colors are only available for Ülsje Handcrafted Glasses.
Leo designing | PH: Hugo Thomassen
Due to the fact that a genuine horn is a natural material, every design is unique.
Genuine Horn | PH: Hugo Thomassen
Ülsje Handcrafted Glasses offers also the option to order a couture design. Leo Vanweersch draws an exclusive and one-of-a-kind design for only one person. It will be manufactured in a horn plate chosen by the client. Not only the colour/pattern of the horn plate is unique but the design as well. It is a unique procedure.
Design Charlotte | PH: Hugo Thomas
The collection stands for timeless, elegant, and classic designs with a contemporary twist. Quality is of main importance as well.
Portrait Leo Vanweersch | PH: Hugo Thomassen
Leo Vanweersch is a Dutch eyewear designer. He started his career as an optician/optometrist and had his own boutique before he started to design. He has been always aware of the latest fashion. By working in his own boutique he noticed that so much eyewear was looking alike and that quality was of less importance. After several requests from customers, who often wore clothes from the renowned high fashion brands, Leo decided to design his own collection. The collection had to be special. He decided to draw by hand, not doing a computer. He wanted to feel the lines while drawing. He also decided that the designs should be made by hand and manufactured of genuine horn. A beautiful natural material. He had to look for craftsmen who could manufacture his designs.
After a thorough research Leo ended up with Wollenweber Hornline. A family run atelier in Germany. A beautiful collaboration was born.
Leo working at atelier | PH: Hugo Thomassen
Nowadays the word "sustainability" is used by almost everyone. But from the early beginning, September 2007, one of the main priorities for Ülsje Handcrafted Glasses was to manufacture in a sustainable way: by hand by real craftsmen and absolutely without large stocks.
"Although many brands state that they also manufacture sustainable, I really question this statement. Why? If you want to manufacture sustainable then, according to myself, you can’t do mass production. The result of mass production always leads firstly to production by machines and secondly to large stocks which leads to overproduction and thus to many left- overs." - Leo Vanweersch
All the designs of Ülsje Handcrafted Glasses are made of genuine horn. Natural horn is one of the oldest elements of all. Most horns come from the Asian water buffalo. They are kept as farm animals. As a by-product of their natural death, these pets supply high-quality natural material from which our exclusive frames are made.
Ülsje Handcrafted Glasses offers eyewear for men and women. Optical and sunglasses. All glasses are manufactured with the same craftsmanship and precision. The designs are delivered in a hand-sewed sac in a hand-painted wooden box.
Design Jérôme | PH: Hugo Thomassen
Leo Vanweersch was asked in 2016 to design the eyewear collection of Yasmin Mansour for her SS2018 collection. Yasmin Mansour is a Doha based fashion label. This collaboration is absolutely unique because of the different cultural backgrounds of both designers. The collaboration is built on respecting each other and the love for beauty, elegance, craftsmanship and quality.
Also, the eyewear designed and manufactured for Yasmin Mansour is made of genuine horn. The eyewear collection of Yasmin Mansour included only sunglasses.
Collaboration with Yasmin Mansour | PH: Hugo Thomassen
In January 2019 during Paris Fashion Week Haute Couture, the eyewear in collaboration with the very talented Dutch designer Ronald van der Kemp, RVDK x ÜLSJE, was shown for the first time.
Ronald van der Kemp is based in Amsterdam. His brand is known not only for the beautiful designs but also for working on a sustainable base. His vision and the vision of Ülsje Handcrafted Glasses matched perfectly. Every design of Ronald van der Kemp as well of Ülsje Handcrafted Glasses is made by hand and both have sustainability as one of their priorities. Ronald van der Kemp is a pioneer concerning sustainability in fashion. From his first Wardrobe Ronald’s work is based on sustainability. He is an example to many brands, who are trying to work also in a sustainable manner. But the same applies here: no large stocks resulting to not many left-overs. But it is no secret that fashion brands produce too much, resulting in a surplus.
Collaboration Ronald van der Kemp / RVDK x ÜLSJE | PH: Marijke Aerden
Collaboration Ronald van der Kemp / RVDK x ÜLSJE | PH: Hugo Thomassen
Until now Ronald has designed 11 wardrobes. From Wardrobe 6 he started to show during Paris Fashion Week. All the eyewear designs for RVDK x ÜLSJE are manufactured by hand and made of genuine horn. The collection includes as well optical- as sunglasses for women.