BEFORE IT WAS COOL • Before larger-framed sunglasses became a trend, Haner and Sanders used to shop in the men’s section to achieve that oversized look.
BUILDING GENERATIONS • One of Saint Owen’s earlier designs, “Triumph,” was named after the first twin-engine Triumph motorcycle that Haner and Sanders’ father built. The look was also inspired by the motorcycle goggles.
mix was Matt, Sanders’ husband and Haner’s brother-in-law. Sullivan and Matt were close and would later form the band Avenged Sevenfold with fellow bandmate Brian, who is now married to Haner.
Dedicated to perfectionism with an edge and reaffirming what is authentic, this familyowned-and-operated sunglasses brand, run by twin sisters, is breaking the monotonous cycle that the eyewear industry has begun to stifle into over the last 30 years. With a sunglasses brand offering more than what meets the eye, Michelle Haner and Valary Sanders have constructed a unique, vibrant company from the ground up, bypassing the industrialized procedures of their industry counterparts and priding themselves on building a new type of enterprise with purpose and intent. To them, that is authenticity. That is Saint Owen.
114 LOCALE MAGAZINE
The motivation behind the company’s hallowed name was to honor their late childhood friend, James Owen Sullivan. Haner and Sanders grew up in Huntington Beach, California and came to know “Jimmy” Sullivan as children and developed a friendship that would span almost two decades, up until his untimely passing in 2009. Remembered for his innovative spirit, vibrant personality and, as Sanders put it, someone who wore the “craziest glasses ever,” Sullivan was attributed to being a great inspiration to the sisters’ creativity. It’s only fitting the sister duo would draw inspiration from those closest to them, as Saint Owen’s origins truly stem from family and lasting friendships. Another major element in the brand’s beginnings comes full circle in their backstory: Haner, Sanders and Sullivan were childhood friends who grew up in the heart of Surf City, attending concerts and punk shows. Included in that
With the defining impact of music playing a role in much of their early years and into adulthood, the sisters toured the world with their rockstar husbands and still do to this day; Sanders took on the role as their tour manager for five years. During that time, Matt and Brian suggested their wives take a shot at designing some custom frames for an upcoming show. Haner and Sanders collaborated and got to work. The end product was so wellreceived that they decided to turn it into a business, and now here we are, full circle. “Michelle and I have always been very involved in the fashion realm and very style-centric,” states Sanders. Haner adds that they wanted to “create something personal but that had a lot of edge.” Since its launch in 2017, Saint Owen’s personal commitment still holds true in ensuring every aspect along the design, development and construction process is touched by hand in an effort to bring an intimate quality to the products—a quality lacking in most of today’s markets. Sanders elaborates, “We just