Honolulu-born Ashley Johnson is the mastermind behind Mohala Eyewear, a luxury sunglasses brand that launched in December, featuring shades that are equal parts chic and philanthropic. For every pair of sunglasses sold (nonpolarized glasses $139, polarized glasses $159), one week of school is donated to Room to Read Girls’ Education Program, a nonprofit in Africa and Asia.
“The purpose of Mohala Eyewear is to be a brand that meaningfully connects with and accurately represents the target market of women that the big brands are missing,” Johnson says.
She was driven to connect with female consumers who embodied intelligence, confidence, social awareness and femininity—all founding principles of her company. Johnson knew that differentiating Mohala Eyewear from big-name brands outside her philanthropic slant was going to be essential for success. She wanted a product that focused on fit and enhancing a woman’s natural beauty, so she worked with a German creative who has been designing eyewear for over 20 years and has worked for Prada, Miu Miu, Dolce & Gabbana and Tom Ford.
And while the product might be sunglasses, the pay-it-forward passion within Johnson to make a difference (a trait she credits to her days spent at Punahou School and Santa Clara University) is unmistakable.
“Education is transformative—it creates empowerment, dreams, jobs, businesses, advancement and independence.” Fighting Eel, multiple locations