Over its 75 illustrious years Ray-Ban has been instrumental in pushing boundaries, implementing the rise of celebrity culture and cultivating that power to influence fashion. From James Dean to Audrey Hepburn to Johnny Cash, Ray-Ban has proven indispensable for cultural icons who don’t want to be seen - but definitely want to be noticed.
As new aeroplanes were flying higher and faster, US Air Force pilots were struggling with headaches and altitude sickness. Ray-Ban was formed, never one to shy away from a challenge they introduced the now iconic green lenses or G15 lens as it is now known, and that could cut out the glare without negatively impacting the vision. The Ray-Ban brand was born. This new anti-glare eyewear went on general sale in 1937. Initially with a plastic frame then remodelled with a metal frame the following year and rebranded as the Ray-Ban Aviator.
Military influence on fashion was irrefutable, even more so after WWII: Army regulation civilian wear was a staple of 1940s fashion, sunglasses were not an exception. Ray-Ban had jumped unquestionably from military action to pop culture icon.
Post-WWII, Hollywood’s impact on what people wore had grown exponentially. The Ray-Ban Wayfarer model was launched in 1952, James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause and Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s helped to cement their place in history and lead them to become one of the most instantly recognisable fashion accessories ever made, actually shaping popular culture rather than following. Ever embracing new eras, Ray-Ban encapsulated the 1960s zeitgeist of transformation and social revolution, adapting right along with the times. The eyewear market was maturing and becoming more refined, two distinct categories were born: sportswear and style.
Ray-Ban continues to create new and innovative sunglasses to fulfill both categories whilst maintaining their abilities to design cultural icons, from the Outdoorsmen to the Erika.
Styles change, fashion evolves; Ray-Ban, however, remains an enduring classic.