In the world of eyewear, one name has consistently stood out for over eight decades: Ray-Ban. Synonymous with timeless style and unparalleled quality, Ray-Ban has become a household name. But how did this iconic brand come to be? Let's take a journey through the history of Bausch & Lomb Ray-Ban and discover the enduring appeal that has kept them in vogue for generations.
The Birth of Ray-Ban
The story of Ray-Ban begins in 1936 when Bausch & Lomb, a renowned American optics company (which was founded in 1853), designed and patented the first pair of aviator sunglasses. These sunglasses, known as the "Ray-Ban Aviator," were initially developed to address the needs of military pilots (hence featuring in top gun) facing the intense glare of the sun at high altitudes. With their teardrop-shaped lenses and sleek metal frames, these sunglasses not only provided superior protection but also exuded an undeniable coolness factor.
During World War II, Ray-Ban Aviators became standard issue for U.S. military pilots, solidifying their reputation as an essential piece of eyewear for those seeking both functionality and style. The iconic green G-15 lenses not only reduced glare but also maintained natural color perception, making them ideal for aviation, as well as photography.
Post-war, Ray-Ban sunglasses made their way into the mainstream, thanks in large part to Hollywood. Film stars like James Dean and Audrey Hepburn sported them on and off the screen, instantly elevating their status as a symbol of glamour. The 1950s saw the birth of the Ray-Ban Wayfarer, a distinct departure from the aviator style. With its bold plastic frames and distinctive trapezoidal shape, the Wayfarer became a cultural phenomenon, epitomising the spirit of youthful nonconformity. The Wayfarer has been created in many limited edition collections, including the early 90s Olympic collection which we are lucky enough to have.
Resurgence and Modernisation
By the 1970s and 1980s, Ray-Ban was a household name and a must-have fashion accessory. However, the brand experienced a decline in the late 20th century, partly due to increased competition and changing fashion trends. In 1982 they sold only 18'000 pairs of sunglasses. Figures did increase with the the likes of Miami Vice and Top Gun hitting the big screen in the late 80s, but it was in 1999 that the Italian eyewear conglomerate Luxottica acquired Bausch & Lomb's eyewear division and embarked on a mission to revive the Ray-Ban brand.
Luxottica control around 80% off all major eyewear brands, so it is no surprise to know that many of their branded products are all created in the same factories. It can also be said that the quality of the frames and lenses is not as good as when manufactured by Bausch & Lomb. The iconic Wayfarer was the first frame to be "modernised" by the brand, changing various features including the material to which it was made. With that said they have stuck with the classic designs which built the brand, and bring in new models to keep things fresh.
What makes Bausch & Lomb RayBan Timeless?
- Iconic Design: Ray-Ban's iconic designs, including the Aviator (personal favourite), Wayfarer, and Clubmaster, have transcended generations and trends. Their timeless appeal suits various face shapes and personal styles.
Quality Craftsmanship: Bausch & Lomb's commitment to quality materials and precision craftsmanship is evident. The original Ray-Ban's were designed to stand the test of time. When you invest in a pair of Bausch & Lomb Ray-Bans, you know you're getting the best quality Ray-Ban frames around.
Pop Culture Influence: Bausch & Lomb Ray-Ban frames have been endorsed by countless celebrities and influential figures across the decades. From presidents to supermodels, musicians and actors alike. They have been seen in Hollywood on the big screen in some of our favourite films, such as Breakfast at Tiffany's, Taxi Driver and Top Gun.
The history of Bausch & Lomb Ray-Ban is a testament to the enduring appeal of this iconic eyewear brand. From its humble origins as functional aviator sunglasses to becoming a global fashion statement with Luxottica.
Whether you're looking for a touch of Hollywood glamour, a symbol of rebellion, or simply a well-crafted pair of vintage Ray-Ban sunglasses, the original Bausch & Lomb models continue to offer a timeless choice that remains highly sought after to this day. So, the next time you put on a pair of B & L Ray-Ban's, remember that you're not just wearing sunglasses; you're embracing a rich history of style and innovation.