Few sunglasses have occupied such a storied area in American culture and history as Ray Bans.
From Presidents to movie stars, rock stars to artists, fashion designers to runway models, there’s not really a generation alive that can’t remember owning (or seeking to own) some these iconic sunglasses.
While Ray Bans now is visible in the next generation of Hollywood style setters, the famed sunglasses had a far more practical and humble beginning.
Founded in 1937 by Bausch & Lomb, the very first Ray Ban sunglasses were created for that United states Army Air Corp. The Army needed a sunglass to guard aviators in the damaging rays of your sun, but additionally a sunglass that might look elegant about the dashing airman of the day.
On May 7, 1937 Bausch & Lomb officially took the patent on the cheap ray bans.
The 1st sunglass to incorporate an anti-glare lens, the metal frame was extremely lightweight and made out of gold-plated metal with two green lenses that filtered out Ultra violet rays.
The Usa Army Air Corps pilots instantly took to the sunglasses, earning Ray-Bans the moniker “Aviator Glasses” — an expression which now describes all sunglasses with designs that act like the original Ray-Ban.
The Ray-Ban aviator achieved broader popularity during WWII, when General Douglas MacArthur was photographed in Ray-Ban aviator glasses landing about the beach in the Philippines.
Using their pragmatic beginnings offering airman protection from the sun, Ray-Bans quickly became 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 a revolutionary moment in eyewear design, the Wayfarer quickly become popular among both fringe and the well-heeled — crossing socio-economic and cultural borders — and popular with a mass market that included debutantes and beatniks.
Ironically, the original Wayfarers were supposed to have been marketed to men … until women fell in love with the sleek, shiny design that did actually flatter any model of face.
Soon the sunglasses started to generate on everyone from Presidents and trendy women to folk musicians and East Village Hipsters. Wayfarers were got a PR improvement in when Audrey Hepburn’s Holly Golightly practically lived in her Wayfarers from the 1961 movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Through the entire 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 desired to look cool on the beach.
Ray-Bans popularity waned from the Seventies as being the disco era ushered in extravagent eyewear, and designers like Dior and Yves St. Laurent entered the eyewear market.
From the mid-70s, Ray-Ban introduced a line of “disco” inspired sunglasses from the mid-seventies, but it really fell flat. However, a resurgence in popularity was only around the corner.
In 1982, Ray-Ban appeared to be in the cusp of a revival. Their ray ban 90 off crafted a not-so-subtle appearance on John Belushi and Dan Akroyd in the The Blues Brothers movie. Despite wearing Ray Bans for most of the film (Belushi actually only removes them once — when Carrie Fisher has a rocket launcher targeted at him), sales were a paltry 18,000 pairs in 1980.
That changed in 1982 when Ray-Ban signed a $50,000 a year contract to place Ray-Bans in movies and television shows. Between 1982 and 1987, Ray-Ban had placed their sunglasses in than 60 movies and tv shows.
A purchase paid back when Ray-Ban received their first big return because of Tom Cruise donning the classic Wayfarer in the 1983 coming-of-age movie Risky Business.
Suddenly, Ray-Bans were cool again and also the company could hardly keep its Wayfarers available.
In 1983, the company sold a fantastic 360,000 pairs of the sunglasses. From the future years, Ray-Bans would happen in some 80s hits, including Miami Vice, Moonlighting, and 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, individuals U2, as well as other celebrities like Jack Nicholson and Vogue-Editor (and “The Devil Wears Prada” muse) Anna Wintour.
With the 1990s, Ray-Ban again faced a slump as Grunge ditched the trends of your 80s and wrap-around sunglasses from manufacturers like Oakley became in-vogue. The business aimed to kick-start sales by updating the frame’s styling, but again they fell flat.”
In 2007, Ray-Ban re-introduced the original Ray-Ban Wayfarer design, but expanded the hue options beyond the traditional palette to incorporate patterns like checks and camouflage and colours like navy, white, turquoise, red, and blue.
They also created a type of multi-colored Wayfarer frames that combined colors like gold on black, white on black and red on tortoise-shell.
The strategy worked, and once again, ray bans 90 off appeared to stare you inside the face each and every time you opened a fashion magazine or possibly a copy of men and women.
After a 10 year hiatus, Ray-Ban was dexjpky53 again and even the initial Aviator-style, longtime connected with cops and pilots, began showing up on celebrities.
As the Ray-Band revival took hold, other designer eyewear manufacturers took notice and aimed to rush out their versions of the classic aviator and Wayfarer.
While their efforts brought a clearly retro-flair to 2009 eyewear, the real thing which had been started in 1937 and epitomizes the classic sunglass style persists.