Few sunglasses have occupied such a storied spot in American culture and history as Ray Bans.
From Presidents to celebrities, rock stars to artists, fashion designers to runway models, there’s not just a generation alive that can’t remember owning (or seeking to own) a pair of these iconic sunglasses.
While Ray Bans now is visible in the next generation of Hollywood style setters, the famed sunglasses had a more practical and humble beginning.
Founded in 1937 by Bausch & Lomb, the 1st Ray Ban sunglasses were made for that U.S. Army Air Corp. The Army needed a sunglass to shield aviators from the damaging rays of the sun, but additionally a sunglass that might look elegant about the dashing airman through the day.
On May 7, 1937 Bausch & Lomb officially took out of the patent on the cheap ray bans.
The first sunglass to include an anti-glare lens, the metal frame was extremely lightweight and made from gold-plated metal with two green lenses that filtered out UV rays.
The United states Army Air Corps pilots instantly took towards the sunglasses, earning Ray-Bans the moniker “Aviator Glasses” — an expression which now describes all sunglasses with designs that are exactly like the very first Ray-Ban.
The Ray-Ban aviator achieved broader popularity during WWII, when General Douglas MacArthur was photographed in Ray-Ban aviator glasses landing in the beach inside the Philippines.
Off their pragmatic beginnings offering airman protection from direct sunlight, Ray-Bans quickly became a part of American fashion and popular culture when, in 1952, Ray Ban broke from traditional metal frames and created hard plastic frame called “The Ray-Ban Wayfarer.”
Now considered an innovative moment in eyewear design, the Wayfarer quickly became popular among both the fringe along with the well-heeled — crossing socio-economic and cultural borders — and fascinating to a mass market that included debutantes and beatniks.
Ironically, the original Wayfarers were supposed to have been marketed to men … until women fell obsessed about the sleek, shiny design that seemed to flatter any model of face.
Soon the sunglasses began to generate on everyone from Presidents and trendy women to folk musicians and East Village Hipsters. Wayfarers were got a PR surge in when Audrey Hepburn’s Holly Golightly practically lived in the Wayfarers from the 1961 movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Throughout the 50s and 60s, Ray Ban Wayfarers were the sunglass of choice for everyone from Bob Dylan, to Andy Warhol, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Roy Orbison, John Lennon and countless average American teenagers who just wanted to look cool around the beach.
Ray-Bans popularity waned from the Seventies because the disco era ushered in more extravagent eyewear, and designers like Dior and Yves St. Laurent entered the eyewear market.
Within the mid-70s, Ray-Ban introduced a type of “disco” inspired sunglasses from the mid-seventies, but it really fell flat. However, a resurgence in popularity was just nearby.
In 1982, Ray-Ban seemed to be around the cusp of the revival. Their ray ban sale canada made a not-so-subtle appearance on John Belushi and Dan Akroyd within the The Blues Brothers movie. Despite wearing Ray Bans for most of the film (Belushi actually only removes them once — when Carrie Fisher features a rocket launcher targeted at him), sales were a paltry 18,000 pairs in 1980.
That every changed in 1982 when Ray-Ban signed a $50,000 annually contract to position Ray-Bans in movies and television shows. Between 1982 and 1987, Ray-Ban had placed their sunglasses in than 60 movies and tv shows.
Your time and money paid back when Ray-Ban received their first big return as a result of Tom Cruise donning the classic Wayfarer from the 1983 coming-of-age movie Risky Business.
Suddenly, Ray-Bans were cool again along with the company could hardly keep its Wayfarers in stock.
In 1983, the organization sold an incredible 360,000 pairs from the sunglasses. In the future years, Ray-Bans would show up in a series of 80s hits, including Miami Vice, Moonlighting, and also the Breakfast Club. Sales reached 1.5 million.
In the Eighties, Ray-Bans and Ray-Ban Wayfarers could possibly be seen on everyone from Madonna to Michael Jackson, Elvis Costello, Morrissey, The Ramones, Blondie’s Debbie Harry, members of U2, along with other celebrities like Jack Nicholson and Vogue-Editor (and “The Devil Wears Prada” muse) Anna Wintour.
With the 1990s, Ray-Ban once more faced a slump as Grunge ditched the trends of the 80s and wrap-around sunglasses from manufacturers like Oakley became in-vogue. The corporation aimed to kick-start sales by updating the frame’s styling, however they fell flat.”
In 2007, Ray-Ban re-introduced the first Ray-Ban Wayfarer design, but expanded colour options past the traditional palette to add patterns like checks and camouflage and colors like navy, white, turquoise, red, and blue.
In addition they developed a collection of multi-colored Wayfarer frames that combined colors like gold on black, white on black and red on tortoise-shell.
The strategy worked, and when again, cheap ray ban sunglasses appeared to stare you inside the face each time you opened a fashion magazine or possibly a copy of People.
After having a 10 year hiatus, Ray-Ban was dexjpky53 again as well as the initial Aviator-style, longtime related to cops and pilots, began arriving on celebrities.
Because the Ray-Band revival took hold, other designer eyewear manufacturers took notice and tried to rush out their versions of your classic aviator and Wayfarer.
While their efforts brought a clearly retro-flair to 2009 eyewear, the real thing that was started in 1937 and epitomizes the classic sunglass style persists.