Spotlight on Ray-Ban sunglasses

Friday, 15 July 2016
Spotlight on Ray-Ban sunglasses

As part of our #30DaysOfShades season, Feel Good Contact Lenses have put the spotlight on Ray-Ban.

Before Aviator
If you stop for a moment to think of a sunglasses brand, there’s a fair chance Ray-Ban will spring to mind. Why is that? Well, they’re far and away the most well-known and indeed, bestselling brand of sunglasses on the market. Ray-Ban embody the idea of a heritage brand and like Carhartt, Levis and Coca Cola, evoke a comforting spirit of nostalgia. This isn’t something easily done, even with a huge advertising budget and slick marketing; brands have got to have a history. A long and eclectic history is precisely what Ray-Ban has, in spades.


The journey begins in late 19th century Rochester, New York. Like many great American stories, it starts with an immigrant: John Jacob Bausch. He was from Germany and dealt in optical goods. He partnered with Henry Lomb, the financial backer behind the new company ‘John and Henry’. No - of course they called it ‘Bausch & Lomb’, now a world-famous billion-dollar company. Bausch & Lomb traded and manufactured telescopes, binoculars, spectacles and microscopes among other optical goods. The advent of photography brought in even more trade as camera lenses and shutters started to grow in demand.

Ray-Ban and Technology

Microwaves, computers, Jeeps and Ray-Ban sunglasses. What might they share in common? They’re all products that have been developed through military conflict. Aviators were famously invented to protect US Air Force pilots from the nauseating effects of glare at high altitudes. The crossover of these ‘Ray-Ban Aviator’ sunglasses into mainstream American culture prompted the ‘Ray-Ban’ name and sunglasses brand. However, even before that, Bausch & Lomb had been developing sights for torpedoes, submarine periscopes and searchlight mirrors. 

Photographic and film technology caused a number of surprising cultural developments in the early and mid 20th century. The Hollywood movie gave birth to the film star but in order for cameras to record effectively, a lot of stark light was needed on set. Think also about the extremely bright and intense old fashioned camera flashes used by photographers. Sunglasses automatically became linked with the idea of glamour and aspiration; and conveniently offered actors a method of avoiding media scrutiny! Famous wearers of Ray-Ban in this period include Humphrey Bogart, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean and even ex-president John F. Kennedy. 

Late 20th Century Culture
After a lull in the 1970s, Ray-Ban’s stock began to rise once more with John Landis’ 1980’s cult film classic ‘The Blues Brothers’. But can you guess which classic 80s Tom Cruise film put Ray-Ban back on the agenda? If you said ‘Top Gun’, you’re wrong. If you said ‘Risky Business’, you deserve a prize! Sadly, there is no prize but you deserve one anyway. Product placements featured in the Top Gun movies and since then, it’s fair to say that Ray-Ban have stayed at the top in terms of cultural relevance.

Ray-Ban’s started out as an instrument for the working person, then in time, as they were adopted by the Hollywood set, they became a rarefied commodity for ordinary people to aspire to. However, now it seems a reversal has been made as Hollywood film stars don Ray-Ban sunglasses, perhaps to get away from the bright lights image. 

There’s a simple truth behind why Ray-Ban sunglasses have stood the test of time: they work. They work very well in fact. At a price that’s realistic, Ray-Ban sunglasses make everybody from high-ranking politicians to high street fashionistas, stand out. Click here to view our range of Ray-Ban sunglasses, you won’t find them for less, anywhere in the UK.
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