Austin Soldner and Michael Schaecher, co-founders of the new sunglasses brand Futuremood, met at the newly formed San Francisco research and development lab created by the high-end audio tech developer Bose.
The two were tasked with working on Bose’s sunglasses wearable and bonded over a shared interest in sneakers and fashion. Over many conversations the two men realized there was an opportunity to use technology to rewrite the sunglasses playbook and launch the first new brand to the market since Oakley came on the scene.
There was also an opportunity to bring the materials science and tech-forward strategies that sneaker companies have developed to an industry that hadn’t seen any real technical revolutions in decades.
Enter Futuremood “Auras,” which the company bills as the first glasses scientifically tested and proven to alter your mood.
Using technology developed by the lens manufacturer Zeiss, Futuremood’s first glasses come in four colors — a relaxing green, a refreshing blue, an energizing red and a focusing yellow. The company is launching its eyewear in two styles, a boxy, chunky frame and a more traditional rounded frame.
Any mood-altering effects are thanks to Zeiss’ halochrome lens technology, which the lens manufacturer has been working with — and publishing papers on — to suss out the science behind its claims that the use of filtered light can change the way folks feel.
Schaecher and Soldner are believers, and the two longtime tech execs see these lenses as a window into a wider world of material science experimentation and product development that they’re hoping to bring to market with Futuremood.
“If you think about sneakers and where Nike and Adidas got to where they are today, it was through innovation in product design and materials and branding and marketing and all of that had been missing from the sunglasses space,” Schaecher said.
“We really saw an opportunity to push the envelope in technical innovation and product innovation,” said Schaecher. “We have a backlog of stuff to push the envelope of what sunglasses are.”
As with any good direct to consumer product, Futuremood’s difference begins with its packaging. Tapping in to the mood-altering “wearable drugs” aesthetic, the company’s product is packaged in boxes with the same bright hues as the sunglasses. Inside there’s a cloth to clean the glasses, a velvet pouch to hold them and a scented pack of incense matches and a vaguely tarot-esque card with information about the glasses and the sensation they’re meant to evoke (there’s even a Spotify playlist to listen to).
In an email, Schaecher described the sensation as “not as subtle as CBD, but not as strong as a shot of tequila or glass of Rosé.
The design aesthetic is also more in the luxury vein, which Schaecher teased was akin to something that would be more at home in a Cartier showroom rather than a direct to consumer brand’s digital storefront.
As for the mood-altering effects and whether “wearable drug” can win market share, Schaecher is pretty optimistic. “People definitely have reactions,” he said. “It’s a fun, new thing that’s never existed before.”