There is something about a pair of sunglasses that makes them arguably one of the most quintessential 'must-have' items of all time. Not only are they immensely practical, offering protection from the dangers of the sun, they are an enormously versatile fashion accessory, available in a huge range of styles, colors and prices to suit every pocket.
Given their worldwide popularity, sunglass manufacturing has become a very lucrative, but highly competitive industry and while some manufacturers rise and wane in the public affections, there is one company that remains forever synonymous with the eyeglasses that protect our eyes from the rays of the sun: Ray-Ban
Although Us President, Benjamin Franklin, is often credited with inventing eyeglasses (he was the one who developed the first bifocal lens in the 1780's), the first reading glasses were developed in Italy, as early as 1260.
People continued to be fascinated by all things optical throughout the centuries that followed, then, in the mid-eighteen hundreds British scientist James Ayscough began to research tinted glass, and the possibility that such technology may be used to improve vision impaired eyesight. As successful as he was, it was not until 1929 that the idea that glasses could filter the sun's rays was given any serious consideration. At that time, U.S. optical company, Foster Grant, began to develop the idea further, until finally, later that same year, the first ever pair of sunglasses were sold from a Woolworth's store on the Atlantic City boardwalk.
Recognizing that the new technology could be beneficial to their pilots, the U.S. Army Air Corps asked another prominent American company, Bausch & Lomb, to develop eyeglasses that would protect the eyes from the dangers of the glaring sun, when flying.
It was U.S. eyeglass company, Ray-Ban, who really ran with the concept. In 1936, using the newly available polarized lenses, and a wide frame that offered maximum protection from the sheen of an instrument panel, Ray-Ban began to produce a lens that banned the sun's rays. Some three years later, this model of sunglass so popular with pilots, became readily available to the American public. Ray-Ban 'aviators' were born.
As Americans came of age, so too did their eyewear. Throughout the war years Ray-Ban continued its working partnership with the Air Force, creating Gradient mirror lenses that managed to be both highly practical and fashionable at the same time. There was something about that American flyer in his tough brown leather flight jacket, whose sunglasses hid his eyes. Ray-Ban had just made sunglasses sexy.
Ubiquitous in the 1950's, sunglasses became more than just eye protection. Worn by A-list celebrities in Vegas and Hollywood -stars whose every move was scrutinized and emulated all over the country- sunglasses became a fashion accessory, and Ray-Ban was quick to accommodate the growing trend for new designs and colorful frames, which they marketed to women in particular.
Keeping abreast of space-age technology, the company developed shatterproof lenses in the 1960's and the popularity of sunglasses continued to rise when fashion icon Jackie Kennedy was often seen with her trademark, oversized frames. On the silver screen, sunglasses were becoming an essential part of any actor's costume, with movie stars like Peter Fonda and Audrey Hepburn, playing stylish, sunglass-wearing, characters who were able to hide their eyes from the audience and remain convincing.
Ray-Ban continued to develop new styles and designs in the 1970's and 1980's: their 'Wings' model was indeed a forerunner to the very modern, half-frame, lens of today. In the era of American TV cop shows, like Starsky & Hutch, and Chips, the mirrored lenses once so popular in the 1940's, began to reappear. Ray-Ban was retro.
Stylish and modern, funky and retro, Ray-Ban remains at the forefront of sunglass manufacturing to this day, no mean feat when one considers the competition out there. Undoubtedly, the company will continue to have staying power in the industry, because throughout the decades it has evolved with the nation to give people exactly what they want for their eyes: the reliable protection of a hi-tech pair of sunglasses, and the serious 'cool' of a damn sexy pair of shades.
This concludes our article about what to consider when selecting your ultimate, cool sunglasses. Are you interested to read more of our blog articles about high quality fashion and accessories, including shades and other eyewear? Or about eco-friendly, sustainable fashion? If so, you should definitely become a member of Beingbar.com!
Why, you ask? Well, we are kind of an authority by now. You will never miss a new article or blog post from us. Oh, and it's free!
At BEINGBAR we craft the ultimate conscious and sustainable sunglasses, made with natural materials and true principles. For people who make their own conscious choices. Click here to read more. Or visit BEINGBAR.com
At Beingbar® we walk the talk. Our journey started in 2011 and we set out to make sustainable fashion accessories and eyewear. It's the core pillar of what we do. We knew something had to change in the industry and had some ideas about how to do things better. As from that moment on we are on a journey to make it better every single day.
Most of our eyewear is made with fastgrowing bamboo elements and we avoid the use of plastics at all cost in products, production and logisics. And more importantly, we make sure or products are built to last, not to replace.
Join us in our quest and sign up for our newsletter! It's free, and you will never miss any of our posts. You can find the sign up box below every post (so also below this one).
Do it now! You will not regret it!
Some brand names in this or other articles on beingbar.com, like Ray-Ban, as well as model names, like Wayfarer and Clubmaster are trademark registered and owned by Luxottica. This website and this article are by no means endorsed by Luxottica or their subsidiaries. For more info visit their website here.
Not sure the best way to get started? Follow these simple steps to hit the ground running:
Step #1 - Understand What Sunglasses Features You Need:
Step #2 - Select Your Perfect Sunglasses:
Step #3 - Ordering and Maintenance of Your Sunglasses:
Step #4 - Connect With The Community: