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Can a Pair of Sunglasses Impact Your Mood?    

Can a Pair of Sunglasses Impact Your Mood?

What if a pair of sunglasses could alter your mood? That’s the question Austin Soldner and Michael Schaecher began exploring when they set out to launch a line of innovative luxury sunglasses in 2018. In pursuit of glasses that were future-proof and forward-thinking, they were connected to the German optical manufacturer Zeiss as if by fate. Famous for designing the camera lens that captured the moon landing in 1969, Zeiss had been working for decades on tinted lenses that their research has shown can boost the wearer’s mood, energy levels, and improve focus. 

“We had the name Futuremood chosen about a year and a half before we even learned about these mood-altering lenses from Zeiss, so it was almost like the universe aligning,” said Schaecher. Although they were suspicious at first, trips to Italy to meet with the scientists and test the products out for themselves had them convinced. “They were taking all of this historical research on color therapy and light therapy, which has been around on the fringes for a long time, but studying it with a new level of scientific rigor,” he said. 

While some doctors and alternative healers have argued for years that looking at different colors can impact the way people feel (blue is said to make us feel calm, for example, while red is said to stimulate excitement and energy) it is still considered an alternative treatment that is not approved by the FDA, but the founders are not deterred. “There is no technology more ancient or more misunderstood than light [which creates color],” said Soldner. “As we think about that from an optical point of view, the future is wide open in terms of understanding how light works with our brain.”

At Madhappy, where our moods are a daily focus, they were a clear match for our first sunglasses collaboration. Together, we created a custom silhouette featured across four frames in Dusk, Navy, Jet Black, and Sand. The Dusk and Navy frames feature Futuremood’s Auraboost and Auraflow capabilities with Halochrome lenses, which fine-tune incoming light signals to elevate your mental state. “We are oriented towards creating a better future and provide tools for that future, and there was harmony with Madhappy’s focus on mental health, optimism, and openness to new things,” said Soldner.

Scroll down to find out more about how the glasses work and see the full collection.

How exactly can color impact someone's mood? 

Austin Solder: All of light is color and, Essentially, the vibration and the frequency of light that’s hitting our eyes is coming from whatever the composition of the source of that light is. Everything that omits color comes from the reflection of a light onto that color or from that object. Every time that happens, it helps identify the value or harm of that object. Think about how every time you smell a candle, it reminds you of a memory of home, or how the smell of pumpkin makes you think of fall. In the same way, every object that reflects or emits a light off of it reminds you of something. That’s where the deep neurological memories and associations to certain colors affect your body and physiological state.  

Michael Schaecher: One of the interesting things we found from the research was that once light gets past your eyes in the visual cortex, there is no one specific thing that it activates. It can activate all kinds of different reactions inside the body and the mind based on what the composition of the light color is. The eyes are one of the most sensitive and important sensory organs that we have. One of the things Zeiss did was try to figure out what are the different sensations that get elicited as a result. What we don’t know yet is what part of [these reactions] comes from nature, and what part of it is nurture? What part of it is hardcoded into us when we are born, and what part of it is essentially socialized into us through memories and the environments that we are in as we learn and grow?

So, if there isn't necessarily one feeling that can be elicited from light, and it affects everyone differently, how are you designing the glasses and selecting colors?

AS: Think of a painting. You walk up to a certain type of painting, and 9 out of 10 people can feel a sort of energy from it, like, "oh, this artist is going for something dark here," or, "this artist is trying to entice my eye." We’re looking at these lenses in the same way and actually studying how the different ones make people feel. We measure the moisture on someone’s skin when they wear them, so, does someone sweat or have an increased heart rate when they wear these? You can tie the different test results to the qualitative responses of what they were feeling. Our red pair, for example, increases heart rate a lot when people put them on. They feel the hair on their skin stand up, and say something like, "I feel like I want to go run" or "this is very intense to me, I feel energized." The combination of the scientific studies with what we hear people say helps us to associate each pair/color with a mood.

MS: So we have four pairs and moods which were locked in by the research Zeiss had done: red, which is energizing, green, which is relaxing, yellow, which helps with focus and clarity, and blue, which offers a refreshing pick-me-up. Those were the paints, picked by science, that we as artists had to work with to paint this picture. We then paired that with a really well-designed product that people want to wear. We wanted it to feel like the nicest pair of sunglasses most people have ever held in their hands. We’re designing for people who are ahead of the curve in both fashion and wellness.

Madhappy for FUTUREMOOD is available now on Madhappy.com.

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