This New Local Sunglasses Line Grants Girls a Bright Future
Ashley Mariko Johnson is brilliant. She created a supah stylish accessory line—we refer to it as specs-n-affect—that shines a spotlight on women and education.
Photos: Adam Jung; Models: Moani Hara and Brittney Valverde Valiere
Ashley Mariko Johnson had a vision: Why not create something that empowers women to feel great, feminine and beautiful every day? And, what do women don on the daily? Sunnies! The 35-year-old Punahou alum is the creator of Mohala (which means to shine and be free in Hawaiian) Eyewear, a sunglasses brand that is designed for women by women. “Upon researching the eyewear industry, I learned that while half of sunglasses sales nationwide are women’s sunglasses, most eyewear companies are founded, owned and operated by men, which dilutes the branding,” explains Johnson. “For our product, I worked with a female German designer who has been creating eyewear—for Gucci, Prada and Tom Ford—for over 20 years.”
Each high-quality, chic pair comes with hypoallergenic frames, is made with nontoxic renewable sources, and provides 100 percent protection against UVA and UVB rays. We’re currently crushing on all of the fly styles, but the ones we’re especially keeping an eye on are the Pīkake gold-mirrored lenses with transparent guava-mimosa-hued frames and the Lina tan-gradient lens option in a coconut mojito frame. Both are on trend with the pastel shades that are keeping peeps cool this spring.
Pikake, $139; Lina, $139
And, Johnson hasn’t lost sight of another reason she created the brand—to give back. “For the past 10 years I’ve worked for Foodland Supermarket in the human resources and operation department. It’s an amazing female-owned company that believes in contributing to the community,” says Johnson. “It has influenced and inspired me to do the same through Mohala.” After seeing the film Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, Johnson knew the nonprofit featured in the film fit her mission and brand perfectly. “Room to Read is doing incredible work to change the educational future for girls in Africa and Asia. The program also includes teaching girls life skills, which helps them develop confidence, communicate and to be advocates for themselves,” she says. “For every pair we sell, one week of school is donated to the nonprofit.”
So, not only has Johnson given us a reason to shop (amen!), she also helped us realize that giving back is the perfect accessory.