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Selling Charleston One Pair Of Shades At A Time

By Maddie Heid for The Island Eye News

The Cordina’s burst onto the eyewear scene with a pair of glasses that combines the best of Charleston and coastal lifestyle. (Photo by Brandon Cordina)

What says coastal lifestyle more than a cool pair of sunglasses that you can wear on the boat or to the beach? Well, that was the goal for Steve Cordina and his two sons Brandon and Steven. In September 2020, the Cordinas launched their own brand of sunglasses called Cordina Eyewear. 

The goal being to create a premium local eyewear company that has ties to the Charleston lifestyle with a little bit of sport, and a little bit of fashion. Steve started his passion for eyewear at the University of South Carolina in 1979. He would do pop ups, and sell them at kiosks in local stores. 

Steve then took a leap of faith when moving back to Charleston and opened his own company, Shades of Charleston. Shades of Charleston now has two locations: one in Mount Pleasant and the other on Sullivan’s Island. Although the company has been incredibly successful, Steve didn’t stop there. “Charleston is such a desirable city,” son Brandon Cordina stated, “My brother, dad and I thought if only we could create a cool, local brand of sunglasses that Charleston is missing.” Being all born and raised in Charleston, Steve and his sons knew Charleston’s market. 

Although Cordina Eyewear just launched last year, the idea for the brand has been brewing for over four and a half years. “I met with a factory in California over four years ago trying to get this started,” Brandon stated. “Now we’re working with over seven different factories, including a place in Italy.” The brand stands out for multiple reasons, but one of the biggest factors being the sunglasses are premium, and have a lifetime warranty on them. The sunglasses are designed in Charleston, and then sent off and created in Italy. Cordina Eyewear is now in nine different stores wholesale with more to follow at the end of the month. Additionally, Shades of Charleston is the largest sunglasses company in the state of South Carolina. “We wanted to create something that feels and has the roots of Charleston,” Brandon said. The next step for the brand is to create a pair of super lightweight, high-quality sunglasses. Cordina plans to use eco-conscious nylon frames along with a resin-based lens that is more scratch resistant than standard polycarbonate lenses. 

Brandon added, “These types of sunglasses will move us to the next level. We’ll be able to reach a larger audience that likes crazy lightweight frames.” 

To support Cordina Eyewear and local businesses, head over to Seabreeze Marina, Las Olas, Compass Vision and Shades of Charleston to try on a pair.

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