When Vicious Obsessions Collide

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Be sure to check out our carbon fiber store, where our specialty is in lifestlyle products.

This post was guest blogged by Paul Carpenter.  Paul is a creative professional and has been working on the internet since the early 90’s, along with things of a technical nature at Interarchitect.com.  He enjoys a variety of hobbies including dabbling in hand-fabricated carbon fiber items. When he’s not knee deep in pixels or carbon dust, he spends his time with his wife Heather and 1-year old daughter Mira.

This is part 1 in a 2-part series.  Check out part 2,  a step-by-step guide on how Paul made the custom carbon fiber Oakley Juliet sunglasses from scratch.  Subscribe to our RSS feed or become a fan on Facebook for the latest updates.

I have, over the years, been mildly (or even majorly) obsessed with several things, including Oakley manufactured gear of all kinds, and carbon fiber. Upon learning that Oakley was looking to make their own glasses out of the magical stuff, my creative thoughts took off, with a unique result.


My obsession with Oakley began when I was a young chap, around 1991. I was a relatively avid cyclist at the time and saved up all the money I could to procure a pair of the original Oakley M-Frame glasses. They were one of my most prized possessions at the time and I wore them constantly. That single purchase scarred me for life, as it were, as in the intervening 18 years I’ve not put any other brand of glasses on my face.

Over time, as the Oakley style grew more edgy and defined, my love of their products also grew, and while my collection of goods is minuscule by the standards of some collectors, I still rabidly admire their work. Not only do I enjoy their products, but also their corporate culture and “ways of doing things.” The fact that there are B-52 ejection seats in the corporate headquarters, the fact that they have a black corporate jet and also have a corporate tank amuse me to no end.

I have not only glasses but a myriad of clothes, coats, cases, shoes, displays, brochures, etc. If Oakley puts their stamp on something, chances are that I will like it. I have also converted my wife to the Oakley ways, as she no longer desires to wear cheap sunglasses, and I can only wait for the day when my 1-year old daughter is ready for her first pair of Oakleys.

I have a very short list of companies that I would absolutely love to work for in some capacity, and Oakley is firmly at the top. Their own obsessions are simply intriguing and far from the norm, and as a creative professional I imagine working for Oakley would be a unique challenge.

The Carbon Phases

I honestly can’t recall when carbon fiber entered my consciousness, but for quite a while I have been utterly fascinated with this mysterious material. I suppose it stems from my love of cars and the usage of carbon fiber in that realm, but it’s intrigued me how fabric made of the most elemental of elements can be used to create such a variety of objects.

I lust over the supercars made of the stuff. I always wanted, but never got a carbon fiber framed bike. My interest in the stuff drove me to investigate and learn how to use it for myself, and over the years I’ve done small projects on my own, always learning by doing, and have made things such as knife handles, letter openers, handgun grips, radar detector mounts, and even a carbon briefcase (still in progress.)

In short, if you can apply or make something out of carbon, I desire it.

Custom carbon fiber Oakley Juliet sunglasses

The Collision

Imagine my glee, then, at learning that Oakley was experimenting with carbon fiber for their sunglasses. Take two things which I obsess over and put them together. The results, no doubt, would be incredible. Oakley style, Oakley optics, wrapped in a package constructed from carbon fiber. Honestly, I don’t think anything could be cooler.

Then imagine my poor little hopes, dashed against the rocks of reality, when I learned that these glasses would be part of the Elite line, and would be far north of $1000 per pair. Now, I do pretty well in life and am extremely blessed, but the day when I can spend that much money on a pair of sunglasses will be long ways away. Perhaps when I am old and rich, and my daughter is out of college, but the thought of waiting 15 years is tortuous.

But now consider that I know a little about making things from carbon fiber. I am pretty handy with small tools, am generally clever and pretty creative.

The solution became clear: I will simply have to make my own.

Custom carbon fiber Oakley Juliet sunglasses

The Juliet Homage

I have a fair number of Oakley glasses, but far and away my favorites are the Juliet. To me, the Juliet encompasses the Oakley quality to perfection. The design is edgy, the materials are unique, the fit is perfect. For me, the choice for my project was clear from the start.

Armed with nothing more than a roll of carbon fiber, some epoxy, a jewelers saw and a dremel tool, I got to it. You can see the blow by blow process in this post (Going live Thursday 8/10/09), but suffice it to say that it took me about 5 months to get this project completed. I don’t have CNC machines, CAD data, or even accurate measuring tools, but slowly I figured out a way to create my own unique interpretation of the Juliet, completely out of carbon fiber. I had to make a few changes, there were details which I had to leave out, but in the end, I was able to make something that no one else in the world has, or will ever have. Oakley has moved on in their design language and I highly doubt we will ever see a fair of Elite glasses like the Juliet.

In doing the project, I also see why the Oakley C SIX looks the way it does. Carbon is a tricky material to work with, and getting the finer, thinner shapes that comprise the Juliet was a true challenge. The larger, flatter shapes of the C SIX will no doubt be more hardy to rough treatment and were probably also a bit easier to manufacture.

Custom carbon fiber Oakley Juliet sunglasses


With the Carbon Juliet under my belt, I think that I will try to create some more glasses. The “Oakley Inspired” line, if you will. I will never be able to make more than one or two a year, so these will be only for my own amusement, but I’d like to create some original shapes that pay homage to one of the most independently-minded and coolest companies this earth has ever seen.

Thanks for the drive to do things your own way, Oakley, conventions be damned.

This is part 1 in a 2-part series.  Check out part 2,  a step-by-step guide on how Paul made the custom carbon fiber Oakley Juliet sunglasses from scratch.  Subscribe to our RSS feed or become a fan on Facebook for the latest updates.

Be sure to check out our carbon fiber store, where our specialty is in lifestlyle products.