Olympic Eyewear Highlights Wayfarer Sunglasses’ History

Apr 02, 2014 Olympic Eyewear

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The History of Wayfarer Sunglasses

Manufactured since 1956, the popular Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses are an all time classic. Wayfarers were originally introduced with metal frames and enjoyed great popularity through the 1950s and into the 1960s. Fading in the 1970s, these sunglasses regained the spotlight once again in the mid-2000s.

Considered by many to be one of the best selling sunglasses brands in history, this iconic design defined sunglasses styles throughout the 20th century.

Originally designed by Raymond Stegeman in 1952, Ray-Ban’s parent company was Bausch and Lomb. Stegeman introduced a design that revolutionized the sunglasses industry, perfectly balancing Cadillac tail fin styles with Eames chairs. The unique trapezoidal frame balanced both feminine and masculine designs.

Wayfarers had periods of popularity in the 1980s, beginning in 1982, when they were featured in the cult classic movie “The Blues Brothers.” Ray-Ban also signed a contract with Unique Product Placement to feature Ray-Bans in television shows and movies. These placement efforts continued into 2007. After “Risky Business” was released in 1983, Ray-Ban experienced a massive sales boost and sold 360,000 pairs. When 1986 rolled around, Ray-Bans had been featured in “Moonlighting,” “The Breakfast Club” and “Miami Vice,” with sales reaching a staggering 1.5 million.

Wayfarer sales declined in the 1990s. This caused the company to redesign their sunglasses in 2001. They redesigned styles to reflect more contemporary trends, making them less angular and smaller, using injected plastic to make frames substantially lighter. This new design made it easier for people to perch Wayfarers’ atop their heads.

In the mid-2000s, Wayfarers experienced a boost in popularity when celebrities such as Mary-Kate Olsen and Chloe Sevigny began wearing vintage-style frames. Wayfarers then made an appearance in the movie, “Twilight” as well as gracing the face of Katy Perry in her music video, “Teenager Dream.”

By 2007, vintage Wayfarers were top-selling items on eBay, commanding hefty prices. Designers then reintroduced the innovative Wayfarer design, which was identical to the original, except it replaced the 1950s metal temple studs with the universal Ray-Ban logo. Today’s styles include Original Wayfarer, Wayfarer Folding styles and New Wayfarer designs.

Among the best selling styles at Olympic Eyewear, Wayfarer sunglasses are a popular choice among young adults, 20 somethings and Generation Xs.

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