Ask any fashion-conscious person about high-end sunglasses, and they will probably mention Ray-Ban. Eyewear from the iconic brand has graced the faces of the rich, famous, and classy globally for decades. Ray-Ban eyewear designs have an outstanding style that makes statements of unrivaled sophistication. While we can all associate the pieces with excellent performance, the brand didn’t turn into a mammoth name overnight. Stick around, and we will tell you all about Ray-Ban history and the brand’s incredible journey to success.
For a brand founded in 1937, it’s inspiring how Ray-Ban eyewear is very much an in-thing in the 21st century. The brand kicked off using cutting-edge technology to solve a common problem within the relatively new aviation world. Today, this brand is the primary name behind Google Glass, a technological wearable with a host of mobile device and laptop functions.
- Ray-Ban History; The Journey of the World’s Most Iconic Eyewear
Ray-Ban History; The Journey of the World’s Most Iconic Eyewear
No one would have thought that a pair of sunglasses designed solely for aviators would one day be infused in the global fashion DNA. Surprisingly, not even Leonardo Del Vecchio in his wildest dreams. Generally, the Ray-Ban prototype, popularly known as “anti-glare” glasses were launched in 1936. They featured green lenses and plastic frames. The eyewear was designed to limit vision interference caused by infra-red lights or the UV rays of the sun, hence the brand name “Ray-Ban.”
The Ray-Ban brand has made a legacy by growing into the world’s most popular eyewear brand. Today, products from the company are a famous scene and are worn by people from all walks of life. From celebrities like Tom Cruise, David Beckham, and Kate Hudson to regular folk in our home towns with a fetish for class, fashion, and glamor.
Let’s take a walk back in time to learn more about Ray-Ban history:
The 1930s —The Beginning Of The Ray-Ban Legacy
In the 1930s, the US Air Force focused on sprucing up its aviation sector. They made a range of gradual upgrades on their planes, polished the skills of their fighter pilots, and voila! Their aircraft soon flew higher, and their pilots could travel farther and remain airborne for longer. Everything seemed to work well, but for one problem—prolonged exposure to the sun’s glare made the pilots suffer from devastating headaches.
At the time, Bausch & Lomb were leaders in producing periscopes, telescopes, searchlight mirrors, binoculars, and optical lenses. The military requested the lens company to work on eyewear that could cut down the glare. Soon enough, the Ray-Ban brand came to life, and Bausch & Lomb launched the Ray-Ban Aviators.
The 1940s— Expansions
Ray-Ban eyewear popularity grew nearly overnight. In the early 1940s, the eyewear design graced outdoor lifestyle loves with the launch of models like the Ray-Ban Outdoorsman and Ray-Ban Shooter. On the other hand, Ray-Ban Aviators saw the US Air Force through the war. Bausch & Lomb continued to work on lens technology and upgraded the aviator sunglasses by including gradient mirror lenses for the ultimate eye protection when flying.
To date, all things military look great. Civilians in the 1940s were the first to emulate soldiers and did not think twice about donning the stylish Ray-Ban aviator sunglasses. As local folk scrambled for the fashionable eyewear model, Ray-Ban took up the challenge and entered the fashion realm.
Ray-Ban History In The 1950s— Peak of Cinema
In the 1950s, the cinema industry was making waves with new releases of blockbusters and films. It was during this time that Hollywood made films such as Godzilla and the Twelve Angry Men. Movie stars of the time dictated what was vogue or old-fashioned. And as you may guess, the markets scrambled for Ray-Ban Wayfarers (launched in 1952) as soon as they saw James Dean, a movie icon wearing them in a movie—”Rebel Without a Cause.”
By 1955, Ray-Ban was already ripping big for its free advertisement in Hollywood films. The brand released the Ray-Ban Caravan in 1957, which featured a squarer shape compared to the Ray-Ban Aviators. As luck would have it, Robert De Niro wore them the film Taxi Driver in 1976, then Boom! The eyewear model became iconic in the fashion realm.
The 1960s—Fashion Icon
In the 60s, the fashion world evolved, and more people gained an interest in fashionable accessories. This was a breakthrough that made Ray-Ban history even richer. Bausch & Lomb took advantage of the Cultural Revolution to expand its catalog further. Consequently, it made Ray-Ban sunglasses for men, women, and children. Some of the models born during the time include the Ray-Ban Meteor, which featured an angular and masculine design ideal for men. The brand also launched the Ray-Ban Laramie, which were cat-eye sunglasses perfect for fashionable women.
All the while, Bausch & Lomb focused on producing stylish glasses of unmatched quality. The sheer quality of their eyewear made them a staple among celebrities. This propelled the brand into the majors, turning it into an iconic name within the fashion world.
The 1970s: Sports and Fashion
Just when people thought Ray-Ban could not get any better, the brand hopped onto the sports fashion bandwagon in the 70s. Ray-Bun sunnies turned into a popular scene when people were working out. Before long, the folk started to wear fashionable sunglasses when taking a breather in local disco bars. I’m sure you’re wondering whether sunnies are a thing in indoor disco clubs. Well, let’s say that great dance moves at the time were nothing without a stepped-up fashion game. Yap, getting all flashy from head to toe was a big thing back then!
Fashion enthusiasts in the 70s had a craving for accessories with sophisticated designs. Bausch & Lomb wasted no time launching the models Ray-Ban Stateside and Ray-Ban Vagabond. The flashy glasses with standard lenses and plastic frames became an overnight sensation. In 1974 Bausch & Lomb took advantage of the newly introduced Ambermatic lens technology to quench the growing hunger for high-performance eyewear. This technology boasted a light-bending feature, enabling the brand to make eyewear that changed color depending on the lighting. Voila! The folk could now hit the sports fields in sunnies when playing winter sports.
Ray-Ban History In The 1980s: Soaring Higher And Higher
In the 1980s, Tom Cruise hit the screens and immediately became a darling to many. In the Top Gun film played in 1986, the movie star wore a pair of Ray-Ban aviators when playing a fighter pilot named Maverick. Again, this is a significant time in Ray-Ban history as demand for the OG model Ray-Ban aviators hit the roof. Half a century after the first launch of the Aviators, they took the market by storm. This cemented their place as timeless classic eyewear. To date, the model is still as popular as it was decades ago.
The 1990s: Change Is As Good As Rest
The Luxottica Group took over from Bausch & Lomb in the 1990s. Under the umbrella of the new management, Ray-Ban joined the scope of highly fashionable eyewear brands like Persol and Vogue. It was during this time that the brand unleashed its full potential. The Luxottica Group took advantage of Ray-Bans vintage charm to expand its catalog, making it more appealing to modern folk.
The 2000s: The Power Of Collaborations
With the dawn of the new millennium, entrepreneurs became well-acquainted with the power of collaborations. Consequently, Ray-Ban took the opportunity to expand its banks through partnerships. The brand collaborated with big names like Mick Rock, James Murphy, and Johnny Marr. They wore the updated versions of Ray-Ban Wayfarer, making the model as fashionable as first introduced to the market.
A few years after the Ray-Ban Wayfarer model was a complete success, the company opted to throw the Ray-Ban Remaster and Ray-Ban Clubmaster into the ring. Through collaborations with celebrities like Paolo Nutini and Ladyhawke, the sales of these models skyrocketed nearly overnight. In 2003, the company launched Ray-Ban Optical and Ray-Ban Junior. These models quickly became a staple among the working class and school-going children.
2010s: 2 Decades Shy Of a Century
After dominating the market for a remarkable eight decades, it was clear that Ray-Ban was in the fashion world to stay. From sunnies designed for aviators, the icon was now revolutionizing modern pop culture. In 2011, Ray-Ban launched the “Never Hide” campaign, and fans of the brand assembled in major cities like Paris, Shangai, Barcelona, London, and Rio to celebrate.
Ray-Ban History in the 2020s: What the Future Holds
The “Never Hide” celebrations made one thing clear—Ray-Ban is an iconic brand that attracts overwhelming support from existing and new fans every day. The masses support the legendary brand and are eager to keep Ray-Ban history and legacy alive for decades to come. We can only project what the future has in store. However, we are almost confident that Ray-Ban will remain a leader in producing top-quality protective and fashionable eyewear.
Moreover, the new decade has come with numerous interesting technological advancements. Google Glass is just one among other groundbreaking projects we can expect from the brand. The Ray-Ban brand remains keen on sticking to its original goal— to develop top-quality sunglasses. Currently, models from the brand combine style, function, and scientific innovations, ensuring that consumers get optimal bang for their bucks.
The sky is the limit. From the Ray-Ban history, you can tell that the brand has enjoyed substantial success throughout the decades since its birth. While this is the case, it’s still keen on reassuring its significance in the modern world. Recently, Ray-Ban introduced the Lite-Force, a flexible and durable thermoplastic material with superior lightness. All points considered, the Lite-Force is likely to keep the brand at the top—right where it belongs.