Hollywood celebrities, rockstars, hippies, and teenagers all have one common denominator: at some point they’ve worn a pair of Ray-Bans. The unmistakable Aviators and Wayfarers came and stayed without protest, but how exactly did it rise to fame? Take a blast from the past and see how Ray-Ban became the cult brand it is today.
1930s – How it took flight
Started by Bausch & Lomb, the Ray-Ban glasses were initially made for aviation and the military. After instances of being blinded by the sun while flying, these glasses were made specifically for pilots because of the green anti-glare lens that filters out UV rays whenever they soar the sky, hence the name “Aviators.” The term ‘Ray-Ban’ was coined, which means to banish the rays of the sun.
After the surge of the Aviators came the Shooter, made with pale green or yellow Kalichrome lenses that minimize haze and mist by filtering out blue light. Another was the Outdoorsman, launched in 1939. Perfect for outdoor activities like hunting, shooting, and fishing.
1940s: Aviation and More
Still on the military high, Bausch and Lomb began making transitions for an upgraded model of the Aviators. They created the gradient mirror lens, these Aviators had a glare-reducing coating at the upper portion of the lens while the lower area’s coating faded, allowing the pilots to easily maneuver their aircrafts.
1950s – Hollywood Glam
Branching out from just function, Ray-Bans left the Aviator train and started to play with new synthetic material available to create a design that possessed a different appeal. The Ray-Ban Wayfarer was launched and fashion icons like James Dean and Audrey Hepburn were seen sporting these in their iconic movies Rebel Without a Cause and Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
1960s – At its peak
More fashionably classic styles were introduced by B&L in the ‘60s. They were able to expand from 30 models to 50 models in their catalogue. Olympian I and II were released in 1965, a frame featuring a curved metal bridge and rounded rectangle lenses. Peter Fonda wore the Olympian in his film ‘Easy Rider’.
1970s – Sports chic
The sporty aesthetic merged with their fashion trends at that time, letting people have both style and function. Ray-Ban launches Vagabond and Stateside, which had plastic frames and customizable lenses. Actor Robert de Niro wears Caravans in Taxi Driver and Clint Eastwood wears Baloramas in Dirty Harry in 1971.
1980s – Stage and screen
The Ray-Ban Wayfarers and Aviators make a comeback, particularly in the film industry. It became a staple for emitting a cool and untouchable aura for characters in The Blues Brothers (1980), Risky Business (1983), Top Gun (1986), and The Breakfast Club (1988). Even the Prince of Pop, Michael Jackson, wore them for his ‘Bad’ tour.
1990s – A new era
It continued its reign over cinema through special appearances, Denzel Washington wears Clubmasters in Malcolm X as does Tim Roth in Reservoir Dogs. Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones wear Ray-Ban Predators in Men in Black and Johnny Depp wears a pair of Ray-Ban Shooters in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998). But in 1999, Bausch & Lomb sold its business to the Luxottica Group. An Italian optical company that owns 80% of the eyewear market in today’s 21st century.
2000s – Breaking new grounds
Ray-Ban received the attention it deserved under the wings of the Luxottica Group, who brought innovation to the brand with modern materials such as lightweight carbon fiber and state of the art lens technology. A new line of eyeglasses were introduced and in 2013, customers were able to customize their own pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses online. The brand currently uses materials such as metal, leather, denim and wood to modernize its originals. Today, Ray-Ban remains as a global leader by staying true to its identity while applying technological innovation to their products.
Vision Express Philippines is the home of Ray-Ban in the country. Find more styles from Ray-Ban at Vision Express Philippines stores.
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