Standing alone in a golden field in Guernsey Cove, P.E.I. is a charming workshop. Inside is where Fellow Earthlings’ founders Chris and Sydney Seggie handcraft eyewear. “We’re a small team and everything is done in-house,” says Sydney, one-half of the husband-and-wife duo.
The couple moved back to the Maritimes after working in London and Hong Kong. “We wanted to start a family, and we didn’t want to live in an expensive city while trying to make this work.” This spring, they welcomed their third child to the team.
Aside from their family history on the East Coast, P.E.I.’s eyewear manufacturing heritage made the island the perfect place to set up shop. “It’s this sort of international mystery because such interesting product came out of P.E.I. at a really important time in North American design,” says Sydney.
Throughout the ʼ80s, eyewear factories boomed on the island. Tannerey Ltd., which produced Ray-Ban and Ralph Lauren, was innovating with leather-wrapped frames. “It was a huge production,” says Sydney. “For a time, they were the second largest employer on the island.”
Recently, they stumbled on a treasure-trove from the old factory: Ray-Ban’s original Canadian collection. “We’d heard about product from the old factory,” says Sydney. “It’s coveted by vintage collectors because it’s still unique. We had started looking around and found a gentleman in Charlottetown who sold the product overseas in the late ʼ80s. He had boxes stored away — it was better than we could have ever imagined.” The high quality frames are leather covered in a rainbow of shades — all made in the original factory.
The discovery reinforced Chris and Sydney’s mission. “We have the opportunity to bring some awareness to this part of Canadian history,” They’re doing things on a smaller scale, but for Fellow Earthlings, it’s the right way for right now. “We’re just here trying to give people another option. To make eyewear that’s truly handmade — out here on P.E.I.”
As part of Uncrate Canada, customize your own Fellow Earthlings eyewear at Bloor Street, H Project from May 4 – 7 and at Yorkdale, H Project from May 11 – 14.