Quick, without thinking, responds: a signature glasses? Surely you belong to 90% of the population – totally random and invented percentage – that responds Ray-Ban.
Do not worry, it is not that you have succumbed to the powerful and attractive magnet of the mainstream – breathe the modern of the world – you simply have fashion culture, cinema, aviation or much easier: you wear them right now.
Neither fashion, nor trends, nor style, nor who gave them to you. The responsible one of your essentials at the time of undertaking any trip are the Ray-Ban is called John Macready, a bold American pilot.
Ray-Ban ads on the wall of a Chetumal building (Mexico) © Alamy
You can wear glasses just because they are beautiful, of course but if you also know where they come from, when they were born and how they came to you, you will realize that you are not wearing any sunglasses, you are looking through a #iconotraveler .
Therefore, before starting to name movies and actors right and left, let’s go to the heart of the matter: how it all began.
América, 1937, Bausch & Lomb founded Ray-Ban, a company that later acquired the Italian Luxottica in 1999. The Ray-Ban were used for the first time by the Air Forces of the United States Army.
Advances in aviation allowed flying higher and higher and the sun’s flashes were very annoying for the pilots.
In view of this situation, John Macready asked Bausch & Lomb for glasses that would protect enough from the sun’s glare and at the same time provide a complete and perfect vision.
This is how those that once were called sunglasses with green Anti Glare lenses (that is, anti-glare or anti-glare) appeared. But the name was finally Ray-Ban. The initial plastic frame was replaced by a metal one, baptizing the model as Cheap Ray-Ban Aviator.
During World War II, the Ray-Ban Aviator became an indispensable complement to the soldiers’ attire.
Improvements were incorporated such as the gradient lens, with a special coating on the top for effective protection and a lower part to the air to see clearly the control panel of the aircraft.
And from the air to the asphalt: the military style was introduced in the fashion of the 1940s and Ray-Ban sunglasses, despite being originally designed for aviation, became popular and spread among the civilian crowd, both feminine and masculine
Ray-Ban James Dean
James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause (1955) with the model Wayfarer © Alamy
The war ended, giving way to the 50s, which brought a new model of glasses with colored frames: the Wayfarer.
And now, yes, let’s start getting into the big screen little by little. With his leather jacket and his 6T Thunderbirg, Marlon Brando turned the Ray-Ban into “the accessory of the outlaws” in Wild (1953).
James Dean got into the skin of Jimmi Stark, dressed with the Wayfarer, to star in Rebel Without a Cause (1955) and Audrey Hepburn did the same in Breakfast with Diamonds (1961), making this accessory an object of unprecedented desire.
The popularity of Ray-Ban grew at the same pace that they were introduced many innovations and variants: neutral gray lenses to get a real color vision, protection improvements, gold and silver frames, limited editions like the Ray-Ban Johnny Marr 2011, a range designed especially for the female audience, etc.
The cheap fake Ray-Ban sunglasses adopted the spirit of change and revolution of the 60s, becoming a symbol of everything “anti”: anti-fashion, anti-class leader, anti-social …
Rock stars began to wear them in many of their appearances, making them the hallmark of iconoclasm.
At that time, the brand had become the world leader in the field of sunglasses. And the cinema continued to stay true to the icon: Peter Fonda sported the Easy Rider (1969) model Olympian I and II.
Knock Knock. Hi Seventies! Bell pants, platform shoes, miniskirts, funny prints and endless colors flooded the streets – and the dance floors.
The originality was not incompatible with the comfort and to all this shaker of optimism and carefree were added a few ingredients in the shape of sunglasses: the Ray-Ban Vagabond and Ray-Ban Stateside models.
In ’74 the Ambermatic lenses, specially designed for winter sports, were introduced.
The stars of the moment kept hiding their eyes behind the lenses: Clint Eastwood made the Ray-Ban Outlet Balorama in Harry the Dirty (1971), Robert de Niro took the Aviator in Taxi Driver (1976) and Bob Dylan was rarely caught without his Wayfarer.
The communication actions followed each other, always having the user at the center of their advertising campaigns, such as the famous Never Hide.