If you’re a sunglasses enthusiast, you probably love Ray-Bans more than any other brand. Terms like ‘iconic’, ‘timeless’ and ‘status symbol’ have been thrown around a lot to describe designs from the American company, and in this case, they’re all justified. No other brand of sunglasses has captivated the attention of celebrities and common folk alike for decades together, and yet remain a leader in all regards. To celebrate the awesomeness that is Ray-Ban, LensPick presents, the top 3 Ray-Ban sunglasses you must buy!
Ray-Ban Aviator Sunglasses
What article about the top Ray-Ban sunglasses is possible without a mention of the Aviator? Perhaps the design that’s most associated with the Ray-Ban name, and rightly so, the Aviator is undoubtedly the most loved design from the eyeglasses expert. It’s hard to believe that a style so loved even today is more than 75 years old. To get things into perspective, it’s older than a couple of countries!
They say that American General John MacCready, a US Army Air Corps Lieutenant asked Bausch & Lomb to create sunglasses that minimize visual discomfort for his pilots at high altitudes. They complained of headaches and nausea from the glare, and thus the Aviator was born. Initially it was just called ‘Ray-Ban’, and got its name from the fact that it was used to ‘ban’ sun ‘rays’. In 1937 they were introduced commercially under the Ray-Ban Aviator name, and the rest is history. The look caught on after American General Douglas MacArthur sported an iconic look in World War II, and the design was subsequently adopted by celebrities and common folk alike. Despite periods of relative low sales, the Aviator has stood the test of time, remains one of the highest selling sunglass designs in the world, and is considered a modern fashion icon.
Ray-Ban Wayfarer Sunglasses
After the wild success of the Aviator, Ray-Ban could have pretty much stayed dormant and still made tons of money, yet they didn’t. In 1956, the Wayfarer was introduced. A departure from the metal based sunglasses in the market then, the Wayfarer was pretty much the herald of the transition phase from metal sunglasses to plastic ones.
By then, Ray-Ban was already much loved and respected for the Aviator design, but could have been written off as one hit wonders, if not for the Wayfarer. Again, it was an instant success, garnering support from all corners. Legendary actor James Dean was often spotted in them, which only spurred their popularity further. By the 1970’s however, their popularity had declined, and they were almost going to be discontinued, if not for the classic film ‘The Blues Brothers’, where the protagonists heavily used them. The 1980’s saw another revival of the Wayfarer after it featured in over 60 movies and TV shows, with stars like Bruce Willis and Tom Cruise sporting it. But then, the 90’s brought another sales slump, after which the Wayfarer was redesigned in 2001 after the Luxottica buyout. Ever since then it had been popular, with recent popularity being owed to Robert Pattinson, Katy Perry and Bruno Mars. Now, you can find the original Wayfarer, the redesigned one and a foldable version. Something for everyone!
Ray-Ban Clubmaster Sunglasses
Among the Ray-Ban models available today, the Clubmaster is perhaps the most ‘inspired’, so to speak. An adaptation of the popular Browline glasses design by Jack Rohrbach of Shuron Ltd., the Clubmaster made that design popular in sunglasses. Since Ray-Ban already dominated the market with the Aviator and Wayfarer by then, it was a little bit easier for the Clubmaster to gain traction, and so it did. After they were introduced in the 1980’s, they became the third bestselling design of that decade, behind only the Aviator and Wayfarer. Of course, it helped that the design was popularized by heavyweights such as Burt Lancaster, Lyndon B. Johnson and Malcolm X in the years prior.
Although the Clubmaster didn’t enjoy much popularity in the 90’s after a fairly good period in the 80’s, it has again become popular because of the whole retro culture coming back into vogue, as well as because of TV shows like Mad Men, American Horror Story and Heroes. Nonetheless, the Clubmaster is one of the most important designs from Ray-Ban, so popular, in fact, that the design is now almost universally referred to as Clubmaster instead of the original Browline. That’s some achievement indeed!
Three timeless designs, one iconic company. If you’re looking to be part of a fashion legacy spanning decades, Ray-Ban should be your one and only choice. No other manufacturer has the original designs to rival it, and no matter what you say about them, they remain the most important eyewear sunglass manufacturers in the world. So what are you waiting for? Get yourself a pair of Ray-Bans today!