Having first accessed cult-level status in the 80s, Cazal eyewear is the passion project of visionary and designer Cari Zalloni. The brand name itself is a portmanteau of the founder’s first and last names.
Not only did Zalloni revolutionize eyewear design, he also created trends in the 80s that were way ahead of their time—and the extraordinary styles still remain in vogue. The larger-than-life designs have continued to welcome polarizing opinions while offering design-forward, truly statement-making sunglasses for his fans.
Cazal sunglasses took the 80s hip-hop world by storm, designs from that era still remain trendy today. The nickname “Cazzy” has been bestowed upon the brand by its most beloved fans. While the genius behind Cazal passed away in 2012, the team behind the brand continues to thrive by creating collections that immortalize Cari’s spirit.
The birth of Cazal
Cari was born in Athens in 1937 to a father of Greek-Italian descent and an Austrian mother. He spent his early years living in Greece, but after his father’s death in 1946 his mother uprooted them to be closer to relatives in Austria. It was there in Vienna that Cari had access to eyewear legends such as Udo Proksch where Cari would discover his passion and hand for design.
After graduating from the Vienna Academy of Applied Arts in 1960, he went to Italy to work for a furniture manufacturer to produce lighting designs. After a short stint there, he moved on to Germany to focus on his true calling: eyewear. He snagged a job at Carrera. At the time, Carrera was considered one of the most dominant designers in the eyewear world. The most prominent collection he worked on at Carrera was their Saphira collection, where he was able to give just a peek of some of the glasses he would soon create.
By 1975, Cari was ready to make a name for himself in the eyewear world, with a little help from entrepreneur Günter Böttcher. Together they founded Cazal.
The brand identity of Cazal has always been clear: they wanted to create classes that were statement-worthy. While of course the aesthetic isn’t for everyone, Cazal found a dedicated fan base that would learn to love their asymmetrical designs and bold eyewear.
Cazal was blossomed across their fan base in Europe, especially with the street-style lovers. It wasn’t until Darryl McDaniels of Run DMC was seen in a classic pair of 607s that prompted soaring sales across America. Icons like MC Hammer, LL Cool J, Spike Lee, and Rick Ross could all became big fans.
If you’re looking for ways to flow against the mainstream, the original designs of Cazal offer truly outfit-making accessories with a high recognition value. Often striking, always unusual, and not for the faint of heart, Cazal eyewear offers styles that transcend trends and gender. If you often find extravagance and individuality at the forefront of your everyday life, you’ll find Cazal to be the perfect match. Shop our favorite styles below.
Vintage Cazal Poster
Best-selling designs from Cazal