Ray-Ban: Decades of Design at Your Fingertips

Ray-Ban: Decades of Design at Your Fingertips main image

Author: BrightEyes
Date posted: 5 August 2022

When people think of Ray-Ban, they think of the classic Aviator sunglasses, we think Top Gun and Hollywood. But where did Ray-Ban actually get their start? The team at BrightEyes decided to do a deep dive into the history of the brand and why we know that Ray-Ban sunglasses are truly quality!

Where Did They Start?

The first Ray-Ban sunglasses prototypes were created in 1929 by Colonel of the US Army Air Corps, John A. Macready. Macready wanted to help with the glare that pilots had to deal with when flying. He had noticed that pilots’ goggles tended to fog up when they reached high altitudes which also lead to decreased visibility for pilots so he started to design what were originally called “Anti-Glare” sunglasses. 

This first prototype was produced in 1936 and had plastic frames and green tinted lenses that helped with UV glare without obscuring the pilots’ vision. But in 1937 they moved to the “Ray-Ban” that “banned” the sun’s rays and had a metal frame and the more traditional colouring and style. In 1937 the Ray-Ban Aviators went commercial with the American company Bausch & Lomb which was also the first company to produce optical glass in the US.



Where Ray-Ban really found its popularity was in Hollywood with the Ray-Ban sunglasses appearing in famous films of the time. In 1955, James Dean wore them in Rebel Without a Cause making the Wayfarer style iconic to this day. They had first been released in 1952 and had a thick plastic frame which went against the metal frames used by most other sunglass brands at the time. Once they were worn by James Dean the sturdy design became seen as masculine and edgy and these “cool shades” were suddenly the way to go. They became associated with Hollywood and coolness across America and the world.

We then saw them appear in Blues Brothers with the iconic black shades and black ties combo in their 1980s film. With this cool style started, we saw Tom Cruise really bringing Ray-Ban to the forefront of people’s minds. In particular in Risky Business and Top Gun where he rocked classic Ray-Ban styles. This saw the rise of the Aviator style coming back into fashion and being associated with the aloof, cool look that was now synonymous with the brand.

Finally, we saw Ray-Ban continue to sore to even higher levels of popularity when we once again saw the iconic black shades, black tie combo in Men in Black in the ‘90s with Will Smith at the helm, showing off the iconic Wayfarer style when they became an iconic part of pop culture.


Ray-Ban Quality

By this time Ray-Ban had become synonymous with style and quality and still is to this day. A pair of Ray-Bans is seen as a long-term investment that is made to last and a timeless look that never goes out of style. Though other brands now make Aviator and Wayfarer-styled sunglasses, at BrightEyes we know you cannot go past a classic. For both quality and for sunnies that will last, Ray-Ban sunglasses will always be on our go-to list.

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