Rock stars, Hollywood celebrities and style influencers all wear Ray-Ban ®. You love wearing your Aviators and Wayfarers too but do you know how the eyewear brand rose to fame? Read our timeline on how Ray-Ban ® became the cult brand it is today.
1930s: All about Aviation
Bausch & Lomb, an American company of one of the largest suppliers of eye care products, took out a patent for the first sunglasses to use a green anti-glare lens that filtered out UV rays in May 1937. U.S. Army Air Corp. pilots wore these sunglasses during WWII, giving them the name Aviators. General MacArthur was photographed wearing Ray-Ban Aviators while landing in the Philippines, giving rise to the eyewear’s popularity.
In 1938 Bausch & Lomb refashioned their original frame from plastic to gold metal and branded the Aviators Ray-Ban®, meaning to ban the rays of the sun. Ray-Ban® launched a new design, Shooter, made with in pale green or yellow Kalichrome lenses that minimize haze and mist by filtering out blue light. The design also features a cigarette holder in the middle, to free a shooter’s hands while hunting.
The Outdoorsman model is launched in 1939, meant for outdoor activities such as hunting, shooting and fishing.
1940s: Aviation and More
More and more pilots wore Ray-Ban® in flight so the brand Research & Development team designed a gradient mirror lens with a special coating on the upper part for protection but uncoated lower lens for pilots to see the plane’s instrument panel.
When the military trend caught on with the public, Ray-Ban® likewise transitioned from military function to a pop culture fashion statement.
1950s: Hollywood Glam
In 1952 Ray-Ban® launched the Wayfarer, which James Dean wore in the movie Rebel Without a Cause in 1955 and Audrey Hepburn immortalized in Breakfast at Tiffany’s in 1961. Bob Dylan made Wayfarers his signature look in the 60s. In 1953, Ray-Ban® launches Signet sunglasses with gold or silver frames and horizontal bands at the nose bridge, front corners and ear stems . Further innovations included the G-15 gray lens – a neutral gray lens giving true color vision and exceptionally comfortable protection even through the most dazzling glare.
Ray-Ban® launches the Caravan in 1957, a squarer version of the Aviators and the following year, the brand launches a women’s range of eyewear featuring different colors and design flourishes.
1960s: Revolution and Change
Ray-Ban introduces Olympian I and II in 1965, frames featuring a gently curving metal bridge and rounded rectangle lenses. From only 30 models in the early 1960s, the Ray-Ban® catalog expands to 50 models including styles for men, women and children. Ray-Ban® launches Baloramas in 1968. By 1969, Ray-Ban® is considered a world leader in the eyewear industry. Actor Peter Fonda wears the Olympian in Easy Rider.
1970s: Sporting Chance
Sunglasses were used either for sportswear or as fashion accessories. Ray-Ban launches Vagabond and Stateside, both with plastic frames and two types of lenses as well as a line of frames. Actor Robert de Niro wears Caravans in Taxi Driver and Clint Eastwood wears Baloramas in Dirty Harry in 1971.
1980s: Stage and Screen
Ray-Ban® Wayfarers have become the top choice for Hollywood, appearing in The Blues Brothers (1980), Risky Business (1983) and The Breakfast Club (1988). Even Prince of Pop Michael Jackson wore them for his Bad tour. Aviators appear in Top Gun (1986), bringing the brand back to its roots of fighter pilots.
1990s: A New Era for Ray-Ban
More than ever, the noughties showcase Ray-Ban® appearances in cinema. 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). In 1999 Bausch & Lomb sold its frames business to the Luxottica Group.
2000s: Culture and Communication
Ray-Ban® received the attention it deserved under the wings of the Luxotica Group, who brought innovation the brand with new materials such as lightweight carbon fiber and more sophisticated lens technology. A line of eyeglasses is introduced and in 2013, customers were able to customize their own pair of Ray-Ban® sunglasses online. The brand currently uses new materials such as metal, leather, denim and wood to update its originals. Today Ray-Ban® remains a global leader by staying true to its DNA while applying technological innovation.
Vision Express Philippines is a proud retailer of Ray-Ban® in the Philippines. Find more styles from Ray-Ban® at Vision Express Philippines outlets as well as www.visionexpress.ph.