Chances are you have come across them.
) is a brand of sun- and eyeglasses founded
in 1937 by the American company Bausch & Lomb.
The brand is best known for their Wayfarer and Aviator lines
In 1999, Bausch & Lomb sold the brand to the Italian
eyewear conglomerate Luxottica Group.
its seven-and-a-half decades, Ray-Ban has been instrumental in pushing
boundaries in music and the arts: From James Dean to Audrey Hepburn to Michael
Jackson, Ray-Ban has proven indispensible for cultural icons who don’t want to
be seen – but definitely want to be noticed.
has left an indelible mark on culture history.
All about Aviation
new airplanes allowed people to fly higher and farther, many US Air Force
pilots were reporting that the glare from the sun was giving them headaches and
new kind of glasses was introduced with green lenses that could cut out the
glare without obscuring vision, and the Ray-Ban brand was born.
new anti-glare eyewear went on sale to the public in 1937.
original glasses featured a plastic frame with the now classic Aviator shape.
sunglasses were remodeled with a metal frame the following year and rebranded
as the Ray-Ban Aviator.
wasn’t long before the popularity of Ray-Ban spread from pilots to anyone with
an outdoor lifestyle.
1938, the Ray-Ban Shooter was
launched in both the green lens and the pale yellow Kalichrome lens, which sharpens detail and minimizes haze by
filtering out blue light, making it ideal for misty conditions. The
“cigarette-holder” middle circle, designed to free the hands of the shooter, is
the signature of this icon.
continued to expand its catalog – and customer base – with the launch of the Ray-Ban Outdoorsman model the
called “Skeet Glass” and designed for special groups such as hunting, shooting
and fishing enthusiasts, the top bar and temple end pieces have been covered
through years with different materials, including nacre and calf leather.
Aviation and More
War II saw American Air Force pilots continue to rely on Ray-Ban. Research and
development resulted in innovations such as the gradient mirror lens, which
featured a special coating on the upper part of the lens for enhanced
protection, but an uncoated lower lens for a clear view of the plane’s
designed for military use, these products and innovations resonated with
civilians who wanted to enjoy the same high-performance tools the pros were
influence on fashion was undeniable: Army and Navy regulation t-shirts were a
staple of 1940s fashion, and civilians eager to emulate pilots sported cool new
had jumped decisively from military function to pop culture fashion—without
losing any of their trademark effectiveness.
the wake of WWII, Hollywood was having an increasingly powerful impact on what
people wore. The Ray-Ban Wayfarer model
was launched in 1952, and once they had been seen on screen legends such as
James Dean in 1955’s Rebel Without a
Cause and later on Audrey Hepburn in 1961’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Ray-Ban
Wayfarer became one of the most instantly recognizable fashion
the while, Ray-Ban continued to innovate.
in 1953, Ray-Ban Signet sunglasses
feature an eye catching gold or silver frame with horizontal bands at the nose
bridge, front corners, and ear stems.
original Ray-Ban Signet would
spawn multiple updates, including the 2011 Ray-Ban Johnny Marr’s Limited Edition customized by the
guitarist for the legendary British indie rock band The Smiths.
innovations of the 1950s included the G-15 gray lens (1953) – a neutral gray
lens giving true color vision and exceptionally comfortable protection even in
most dazzling glare – and a fourth metal frame style, the Ray-Ban Caravan (1957), a squarer
version of the Ray-Ban Aviator later
worn by Robert De Niro in 1976’s Taxi
dedicated women’s range was introduced in 1958, including frames in different
colors with decorative flourishes that kept pace with contemporary fashion.
Revolution and Change
the 1960s zeitgeist of change and revolution, Ray-Ban adapted right along with
the changing times.
roughly thirty models at the beginning of the decade, the catalog had expanded
to fifty by 1969, including styles for men, women and children.
had become the world’s leader in eyewear through its reputation for style and
quality, from the glasses themselves to the specially made leather and vinyl
cases that protected them when not in use.
continued to create new styles and Hollywood stars continued to wear them. The Ray-Ban Olympian I and II were introduced in 1965 and worn
by Peter Fonda in Easy Rider in
frames feature a gently curving metal bridge and rounded rectangle lenses,
reinterpreting a classic with a sleek and elegant twist.
Ray-Ban Balorama sunglasses
emerged in 1968 and were famously worn by Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry in 1971.
Bob Dylan was rarely seen without his Ray-Ban
Wayfarer, the dark lenses adding to his enigmatic non-conformist appeal.
1960s debuts were the angular, masculine Ray-Ban
Meteor and the cat eye-shaped Ray-Ban
was king in the 1970s, and disco meant dressing to impress, which often
included cool shades-even indoors.
now the eyewear market was becoming more sophisticated and had developed in two
distinct directions: sportswear necessity and fashion accessory.
launched two models, the Ray-Ban
Vagabond and Ray-Ban Stateside,
each with plastic frames and two types of lenses: the G-31 mirror lens and the
standard G-15 lens.
in 2010, the Ray-Ban Vagabond was
updated with slightly teardrop-shaped lenses for a cool, retro look.
1970s saw further product expansion and technical innovation: mountaineering
glasses with mirrored lenses and leather side shields were developed to reduce
glare and protect the eyes from sun and wind.
expanded its offerings to include prescription eyewear as well as sunglasses.
1974, the photochromic Ambermatic lens
was introduced, able to change color depending on light conditions.
The Ambermatic highlighted outlines and
shapes, even on snow, and darkened especially intense light, making it
particularly good for winter sports.
1980s: Stage and
In the decade of arcade games, MTV, and
the Brat Pack, Ray-Ban was one of the must-have brands. In the movies, there
were leading roles for Ray-Ban
Wayfarer in The Blues Brothers (1980)
and Risky Business (1983). Top Gun (1986) took Ray-Ban Aviator back to their fighter
pilot roots, boosting sales of the Ray-Ban original.
Jackson established his signature look when he showed up at the 1984 Grammys in
a pair of Ray-Ban Aviator. But
it was Ray-Ban Wayfarer he
chose for his epic Bad tour,
which ran from 1987-89 and became the highest-attended tour in history.
A New Era for Ray-Ban
continued to be a movie favorite in the 1990s: the Ray-Ban Clubmaster was worn by Denzel Washington in Malcolm X (1992)
Tim Roth in Reservoir Dogs (1992). 1997 saw Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones
wearing Ray-Ban Predator in Men in Black while Johnny Depp wore a
pair of Ray-Ban Shooter in
1998’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
1999 Luxottica Group acquired the Bausch & Lomb frames business, including
the brands Ray-Ban, Arnette, Killer-Loop Eyewear and REVO.
Culture and Communication
expansion of the Ray-Ban brand in 2003 included Ray-Ban Optical for prescription lenses and Ray-Ban Junior for children.
Ray-Ban Optical draws
on the brand’s pop culture heritage and meticulous craftsmanship to create
contemporary eyewear infused with Ray-Ban lifestyle and quality.
first sunglass collection dedicated exclusively to kids aged 8 to 12 years, Ray-Ban Junior focuses on maximum eye
protection while providing stylish, comfortable frames.
2005, Ray-Ban Junior expanded
to include models made entirely from titanium for a hypoallergenic and
lightweight yet sturdy option.
2006 came a complete overhaul of the Ray-Ban
photographer Mick Rock was commissioned to create a new series of photos, Ray-Ban Uncut: the Wayfarer Session,
with indie rock music luminaries such as Peaches, James Murphy of LCD
Soundsystem, Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream and Johnny Marr of The Smiths
reinterpreting the updated eyewear classic.
2007 Ray-Ban launched the NEVER HIDE campaign, an innovative global media plan
highlighting Ray-Ban’s unique ability to place the Ray-Ban wearer at the center
of attention with a timeless cool statement.
HIDE kicked off with an interactive project in NYC’s Times Square featuring 12
screens displaying images submitted by Ray-Ban wearers who wanted to express
themselves honestly and spontaneously at “the crossroads of the world.”
images were then displayed in a gallery on Ray-Ban.com so that the NEVER HIDE
experience would continue worldwide, showcasing Ray-Ban’s ability to celebrate
the individual and the movement.
Ray-Ban Remasters was
launched in 2008, an ongoing series of multimedia collaborations.
first project featured eight international musical acts, including The Kills,
Black Kids, Ladyhawke, Ipso Facto and Paolo Nutini.
recorded a cover of a song of their choice from the 1950s and 1960s – the
decades that inspired the Ray-Ban Clubmaster – and performed it live at gigs in
New York, Beijing and Milan.
re-works its most iconic models in an explosion of fresh color for 2009 with Never Hide Colorize Communication
Ray-Ban Wayfarer Colorize Kit allowed fans to create their own unique pair of shades.
kit contained a pair of white Ray-Ban
Wayfarer along with stencils and five markers specially designed for
coloring the surface of the frames.
recent Ray-Ban Wayfarer updates
include models featuring designs printed on the interior of the frames, such as
the NYC subway map and striking oral and striped patterns.
color palette is extended with Ray-Ban
Rare Prints series features trends in pop culture, cinema, and
advertising, and is available in two themes: “Comics” and “Button Pins.”
re-affirms its leadership in innovation and technology by giving birth to a new
segment within the collection.
The Ray-Ban Tech Carbon Fiber Collection incorporates
the extraordinarily sturdy yet extremely lightweight quality of carbon fiber.
The collection features wraparound temples composed of seven carbon fiber
layers, resulting in extremely lightweight, flexible, and exceptionally durable
P3 (polycarbonate) and P3PLUS (crystal) lenses guarantee exceptional polarization and more
vivid and high-definition colors.
anti-reflective coating is also applied to eliminate glare and provide full
protection from harmful UV rays.
Updates, Advances and Celebrating 75 Years
2010, it was the Ray-Ban Aviator’s turn
back in the spotlight. Renowned rock photographer Kevin Cummins shot music
icons past and present – including The Virgins, The Big Pink, We Are Scientists
and Iggy Pop – wearing various models from within the Ray-Ban Aviator family.
saw the launch of Ray-Ban Light Ray,
a new sunglass and prescription eyewear collection that expands the Tech
Ray-Ban Light Ray prescription
frames are constructed with a hypoallergenic, durable, flexible, and incredibly
lightweight titanium alloy.
each pair of Ray-Ban Light Ray sunglasses
comes with a kit of three interchangeable lenses for users to personalize the
look of their glasses every day.
has recently unveiled its most celebrated models reinterpreted with a modern
launched in the ’80s, the feminine Ray-Ban
Cats 1000 were recently reintroduced with an elongated and rounded
design in an array of bright and bold colors, including three different
two-tone variations and a smoky lens.
masculine Ray-Ban Cats 5000 received
a similar update, including two-tone models of purple and white, gray and blue,
and pink and black.
continued to update the classics in 2011 by re-introducing three lens colors
from the 1960s – pink, blue and green – for the Ray-Ban Round, Meteor and
following year, Ray-Ban introduced twenty new gradient lens colors, including a
number of bi-gradient color combinations.
March 21st, 2011 thousands of Ray-Ban fans gathered in prime locations around
the globe – Shanghai, Delhi, Istanbul, Rome, Berlin, Paris, Barcelona, London,
New York, Austin, Rio de Janeiro and Cancun – to celebrate a groundbreaking
evolution of the NEVER HIDE campaign.
As one of the leading digital events to date, visitors were photographed and
streamed live at Ray-Ban.com while performing at the NEVER HIDE event locations
an integrated approach, fans could also share their photos with friends at
Ray-Ban.com and on Ray-Ban social network fan pages, reaching over 10 million
Facebook users through feeds of Ray-Ban posts.
also saw musicians mobilize for Ray-Ban: Johnny Marr, guitarist for indie
rockers The Smiths, developed five diverse elements challenging up-and-coming
rock acts – Au Revoir Simone, Best Coast, Carsick Cars, Mona and Tom Vek – to
write their own track using those as inspiration.
addition, Marr inspired and helped design his own model, Ray-Ban Johnny Marr’s Limited Edition:
1,500 numbered gunmetal Signet with
light blue lenses signed “Johnny” on the temple tip.
style and a connection to culture are key to Ray-Ban’s success, technology has
always driven the brand.
origin of Ray-Ban lies in a technological response to a challenge facing pilots
over 75 years ago and Ray-Ban continues in 2012 to embrace technology as it
develops new models for the future.
most recent technological advance for Ray-Ban is the incorporation of
LiteForce, a cutting-edge material (thermoplastic) that has provided solutions
for the automobile, aerospace, electronics, and medical industries. Applied to
the iconic Ray-Ban Aviator model,
LiteForce offers the same strength as a traditional frame and even greater
2012, Ray-Ban celebrates its heritage with its “Legends” Communication
Campaign, featuring a profile of a real person from every decade of Ray-Ban’s
existence, and the campaign image they inspired.
shots illustrate seven decades from the 1930’s to today, showing how Ray-Ban
has always been at the forefront of cultural change, inspiring those who share
its ethos to NEVER HIDE.
every decade of its existence, Ray-Ban has shaped popular culture and more than
75 years after the first pairs of Ray-Ban
Aviator helped US pilots reach new heights, Ray-Ban remains an enduring
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