The Iconic Ray Ban

Updated: Jun 22, 2020

Is there any other glasses brand that is more well known than that of the ever iconic name, and style, of ‘Ray Ban’...?

I’d wager there isn’t…

With a little over 7 decades in circulation, Ray Bans have been present not only in everyday life, on everyday people - but, also very prevalent in aviation, film, and sports, etc.

It all began with aviation in the 1930’s. US Air Force Pilots started reporting that glare from the sun was causing them to suffer from headaches, and some altitude sickness.

The solution? Green tinted lenses that were able to help cut glare, without obscuring vision.

And so begins the story of Ray Ban.

The brand first went on sale, to the public, in 1937.

The original Ray Ban sported the now classic aviator shaped lenses housed, then, in a plastic frame. However, they remodeled it the very next year into a metal frame, and re-branded it as the ‘Ray Ban Aviator’. Which is still popular today.

In 1938, they launched the ‘Ray Ban Shooter’. You’ll notice this model has a very small circle between the lenses. They called it the “cigarette-holder”, and was designed to free the hands of the shooter. It’s the signature of this icon. Clever, clever…

On to the 1940’s. World War II was raging. But, so was Ray Ban. With the release of gradient mirrored lenses, they continued to grow and thrive. Though these mirrored lenses were designed for military use, they gained the attention of civilians, as well. They wanted to enjoy the same high performance lenses the pros did.

Lights! Cameras! Action! Hollywood, here we come! From James Dean to Tom Cruise - Ray Ban has starred on many well known faces in some pretty big Hollywood flicks. Let’s name a few, shall we?

-Rebel Without A Cause - 1955

-The Blues Brothers - 1980

-Risky Business - 1983

-Top Gun - 1986

-Reservoir Dogs - 1992

-Men In Black - 1997

Take a look at the MIB music video in which Will Smith mentions Ray Bans:

So, some of you may be asking, “Why didn’t you mention ‘Breakfast At Tiffany’s’? Wasn’t an iconic Ray Ban featured in this film..?”

Well, I did a little digging, and I found out that it was not a pair of Ray Bans that Audrey Hepburn wore in ‘Breakfast At Tiffany’s’. A common misconception. It turns out she was wearing a pair by: Oliver Goldsmith called ‘The Manhattan’, in tortoise. At a quick glance, they could be mistaken for a Ray Ban Classic Wayfarer.

A couple of Ray Ban debuts were made in the 1950’s.

First, the G-15 tint was introduced. A neutral grey lens that allows for true color vision and comfortable protection - even in the brightest of glare.

And, second, a fourth metal frame was released - the Ray Ban Caravan - a more square version of the Ray Ban Aviator.

Peace. Love. And...and Ray Bans! In the 1960’s, a few new models were released. The Olympian I, the Olympian II, and the Balorama. And Ray Ban was just getting started.

Continuing on through the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, and 2000’s, Ray Ban has proven to be a timeless, and iconic classic that not only adapts through the ages, but continues to thrive and flourish.

Whether it’s the James Dean look you’re going for, Top Gun, or Men In Black look, come into Frameworks Eyewear and let us make your Ray Ban dreams come true.

Sources: / Web Accessed: 24 February 2020.

2. / Web Accessed: 24 February 2020.

3. / Web Accessed: 24 February 2020.

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