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Prada SS18 2
Backstage at Prada SS18Photography Nick DeLieto

Tiny shades are about to be everywhere

They're the perfect size to fit into a bumbag

We first noticed them on the catwalks of Balenciaga and Prada, before Rihanna appeared in a pair in the latest issue of Dazed and, in recent months, they’ve all but taken over our Instagram feeds. Really tiny sunglasses are everywhere. Here's four reasons why they're taking over.

BLAME THE RUNWAY

Though shades have been shrinking for a while now, some slimline pairs were first seen as part of Balenciaga’s SS17 menswear show, with Demna Gvasalia’s 90s inspired frames also featuring in the newly-released SS18 campaign. Martine Rose was ahead of the curve too, sending her Jeremy Corbyn-inspired collection down the runway on models with mirrored shades perched on top of their heads this June. And as part of the Prada womenswear show back in September, New Wave-esque vinyl overcoats and strong-shouldered blazers were accompanied by slim, cat-eye frames, with the brand new campaign offering some serious Trinity-from-the-Matrix vibes.

...AND KANYE WEST

Last week, it was revealed that Kim Kardashian had ditched her oversized glasses in favour of more directional shades, as she told best friend Jonathan Cheban on an episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians: “(Kanye) sent me a whole email like, ‘You cannot wear big sunglasses any more. It’s all about tiny little glasses. He sent me, like, millions of 90s photos with tiny little glasses.’”

It’s not just Kim that’s streamlining her sunnies; sisters Kendall and Kourtney have also downsized, with both spotted wearing George Keburia’s slimline shades. A narrowed-down development of Le Specs x Adam Selman’s sell-out ‘Last Lolita’ frames that everyone lost it over last summer, the emerging Georgian designer counts Solange, Zoe Kravitz, and Bella (a hardline tiny sunglasses advocate) and Gigi Hadid amongst his rapidly growing fans, too, so expect high street knock offs in 5, 4, 3...

THEY’RE THE SUNGLASSES OF THE INSTAGRAM AGE

Where the larger sunglasses popular in the mid-00s offered paparazzi anonymity for the likes of Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, and Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen (whose oversized Chanel shades were surgically attached to their faces for much of the era), Balenciaga, Prada and Keburia’s edgy frames extend a definitive invite to ‘look at me’ – something that’s key in the age of social media. (See also: giant statement earrings that fit perfectly into a square-cropped selfie). Obscured faces don’t translate into those all-important likes, after all.

THEY LOOK KIND OF BAD, AND THAT’S THE POINT

Though tiny sunglasses are a formidable trend for those of us without a model-esque bone structure to pull off, we’re seemingly buying into them anyway. Keburia tells us “strangely, a lot of our customers say that the glasses do not suit their face, but they still buy them. I think the reason is that it gives them a stronger aesthetic and makes them feel more confident.”

The sunglasses slot neatly – not surprisingly, given their diminutive proportions – into the ongoing obsession with 90s fashion and all things ‘ugly’ too, as Balenciaga continue in their mission to get us all dressing like our dads. Joining the brand’s clumpy sneakers and bumbags as the accessories du jour, the subversive shades encompass the sense of irony that’s pervading fashion, deftly traversing the line between futurism and nostalgia. It’s also notable that from a completely pragmatic point of view – where this whole dad-fashion trend arose from in the first place – it’s unlikely you’d be able to fit frames any bigger than these into that logo-emblazoned bumbag anyway.