Oakley is one of the biggest sunglass companies in the world. With a history of technological innovation in the eyewear industry, they are the brand of choice for most professional and amateur sportsmen and women. Oakley sunglasses dominate the winter sports scene, extreme sports, cycling and athletics. The horizontally elongated O of their logo is a permanent fixture in active, competitive environments like the Tour de France, the Olympics (Winter and Summer) and among all adventure pursuits. But you may be surprised to know that Oakley sunglasses are also quite hip!
In the height of the fashionable Eighties, Oakley released a style of sunglasses to rival the popularity of the Ray Ban Wayfarer and Clubmaster. This directional pair of sunglasses were known as the Oakley Frogskins. The Frogskin style has a similar shape to the humble Wayfarer, but is slightly rounder and sports a far wider breadth of colour combinations and lenses. Embraced by actors and musicians in the 1980s, Oakley Frogskins became as notable as the decade itself.
Fast forward 10 years to the mid Nineties and the sale of Oakley Frogskin sunglasses was in decline. Eventually the style was discontinued, whilst Oakley concentrated their assault on the growing sports market. By the Noughties the Frogskins had become a classic style and any remaining pairs were entirely exclusive and swapping hands for hundreds of dollars. With the re-launch of their sunglasses rival the Wayfarer and the taste for all things retro a few years ago, Oakley decided it was high time their Frogskin style was spruced up and re-introduced to the gagging public! With 50 different colours and only limited runs on each model, Oakley Frogskin sunglasses have become ultra-exclusive. Loved by the likes of Kanye West, Zac Efron, Joel Madden and style sister Mary-Kate Olsen, Frogskins are the sexy, fun and very cool sunnies of choice.
Oakley has also introduced a four-legged friend into the sunglasses equation! Not content with releasing their iconic Eighties shades, it is now possible to buy Limited Edition Four-Legged Frogskins. This simply means your Oakley Frogskins will come with an extra pair of different coloured arm stems, giving the owner the opportunity to mix and match as they please!
Who said Wayfarers were the only shades to rule the retro sunglasses revival?
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There aren’t many sunglass brands that have reached iconic status, yet Ray Ban has undoubtedly achieved this well-earned title. The label has enjoyed extreme highs and lows over the past 70 years and despite the lows, Ray Ban is here to stay. Very few sunglass brands have defined generations and inspired hundreds of similar designs and imitations. Amazingly given their popularity and rich heritage of celebrity endorsement throughout the Fifties, Sixties, Eighties and Noughties, Ray Ban spent long periods of time in the wilderness until their popularity surged once again.
Ray Ban sunglasses have graced movie icons such as James Dean and Audrey Hepburn, Eighties stars John Belushi and Tom Cruise and present day hipsters like Kate Moss and Lily Allen at one time or another. Of course it’s no surprise that the classic ‘Wayfarer’ has been worn more times by celebrity fans than any other model the label have produced. Popularised by films like ‘Breakfast at Tiffanys’, ‘The Blues Brothers’ and ‘Risky Business’ the ‘Wayfarer’ has enjoyed incredible success due to its simple design and sharp look.
The slightly nerdier looking ‘Clubmaster’, worn by Twilight star Robert Pattinson and the very stylish German actress Diane Kruger, has a smaller fan base but is still a classic design and affords the wearer a distinctly hip look.
The ever popular Ray Ban ‘Aviator’ design has been hugely imitated over the years and was Ray Ban’s initial creation back in 1929. Designed with special anti-glare lenses for use by pilots in the US Air force, the ‘Aviator’ model is both practical and effortlessly cool. Perhaps the most versatile of all the Ray Ban designs the ‘Aviator’ style suits men and women of all ages and can be worn both casually or formally.
Ray Ban is not only limited to these 3 styles. The brand have produced an incredible range of sunglasses over the years and you will find many of the styles on these Shade Station pages. Without a doubt Ray Ban has earned it’s icon status and we look forward to many more years of show-stopping Ray Ban designs!
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Ray-Ban sunglasses are one of the most timelessly stylish sunglasses in the industry and never fail to look on trend. The brand is also the choice of many celebrities and fashion icons and the various styles are consistently making appearances at summer music festivals and high profile events.
So where did Ray-Ban begin? The brand certainly has a unique history and many young people who regard Ray-Ban as contemporary and bang on trend are often unaware that the company has existed since 1936. What prompted the design of the first pair of Ray-Bans was when General John MacCready permanently damaged his eyes on a high altitude balloon flight. He realised a specific type of eyewear protection was required for flights of this nature and thus in 1929, a pair of gold-coated Aviator style of sunglasses complete with anti-glare G15 lenses were created and Bausch and Lomb won the contract to work on producing a whole collection. In 1936, the first Ray Ban plastic Aviator style was launched to the public who quickly realised the high function was complimented by style appeal. Finally in 1937 a patent for the G15 lens was issued and the brand name Ray Ban was trademarked and officially launched.
The ultimate goal of these unique large curved glasses was to protect the eyes from every angle for optimal protection from the sun. In the 1940’s, Ray Ban was hired by the US Air Force to develop these glasses even further for use by air force pilots. The Aviator glasses soon became popular with the other branches of the US military as well and when General Douglas MacArthur was photographed landing on a beach in the Philippines during World War II, he was wearing a pair of Ray Bans.
It didn’t take long however for the flattering style of Ray-Ban sunglasses to come to the fashion forefront and the sunglasses steadily became the hot accessory to be seen in. In 1952, the iconic Wayfarer was launched which subsequently went on to become the world’s best selling type of sunglasses from any brand. Ray-Ban became the leading eyewear brand which has continued through to today.
Ray-Ban became incredibly popular and being featured on the silver screen only helped to create a further buzz. Since the early 1960’s, the collection has made numerous appearances in a wide selection of the world’s most iconic films. In 1961 the Wayfarer was seen on the ultra glamorous Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Other films whereby Ray-Ban’s have been featured include Donny Brasco, Reservoir Dogs, Risky Business, Blues Brothers and who could forget Tom Cruise’s famous Ray-Ban Aviators in Top Gun!
In addition to film, Ray Ban is also synonymous with the celebrity and fashion scene. Fans of the brand include Brad Pitt, Kate Moss, Alexa Chung, Nicole Ritchie, Sinenna Miller, Natalie Portman, Demi Moor and countless other A List stars. Where there is a great band or musician, it is also likely that there will often be a great pair of Ray-Ban’s to complete their look. Ray-Ban was particular popular at the time that Rock and Roll burst onto the scene and artists such as Madonna, Bob Dylan and David Bowie were often seen rocking out wearing their Wayfarers. More recently front men such as Brandon Flowers (The Killers), Ricky Wilson (Kaiser Chiefs) and Bobby Gillespie (Primal Scream) have been spotted out and about or on tour wearing their Ray-Bans. Effortless thrown- together style is the look that many Indie or Rock bands go for and Ray-Bans definitely compliment this depicting the essence of a cool and retro inspired trend.
Music is hugely association with the Ray-Ban brand and the recent revamped Wayfarers which have retained their original style but added a splash of vibrant colour, have been a massive focal accessory at the recent iconic music festivals such as Glastonbury and V Festival and the fact that both the audience and the artists, musicians and bands were wearing them is testament that they are accessible to everyone and actually look fantastic on both men and women and also on a variety of face shapes.
In 2008, Ray-Ban launched Ray-Ban rooms whereby the brand makes appearances at the most popular music festivals and has designated spaces or ‘rooms’ on site whereby they host DJ sets and performances from cutting edge new bands as well as past icons and current favourites. Within this space they also use the opportunity to showcase their new styles. At the recent the Isle of Wight festival, presenters, actors, celebrities and bands or artists including Fearne Cotton, Nick Grimshaw, Jameela Jamil, Tim Burgess, Samantha Morton, The Prodigy, McFly, The Pixies and Razorlight were just a handful of people who made an appearance at the Ray-Ban rooms which took place in various themed locations on-site. The celebs and audience were also able to sneak a peek at the new Colorize collection. By collaborating with highly popular current events, it gets the brand seen and associated with some of the coolest and highly regarded in the entertainment industry. This initiative also allows people to interact on a dedicated online site to vote their favourite Ray-Ban style and favourite bands as well as being able to try on the new styles at the locations and find out a bit more about the brand and what it represents. Ray-Ban recognises that getting closer to the consumer helps to raise their profile and understand the wants and needs of their customers to design new styles accordingly.
What is also favourable about Ray Ban is the brand’s ability to consistently update their styles yet maintain that original retro appeal. The hot new styles recently launched include the Clubmaster which has been seen on numerous celebrities and incorporates a bold splash of colour to inject a contemporary edge. Featured in all the iconic fashion publications such as Elle Magazine, this is definitely a hot style to be seen in. High quality materials and the use of innovative technologies is incredibly high on Ray Ban’s agenda and the brand uses specific types of material to create its products which then undergo numerous amounts of testing to ensure quality and durability.
Polarised lenses are also a defining technical feature of Ray-Ban sunglasses which provide ultimate glare protection as well as incredibly sharp and precise vision. The use of carbon fibre also means that the sunglasses are lightweight, strong, durable, flexible and comfortable for all day wear. One hundred percent UV protection is also used on each pair of sunglasses.
Ultimately Ray-Ban has certainly come a long way since 1936 but despite keeping up with current trends and always placing themselves at the centre of the action, the brand has maintained its core values. Ray-Ban sunglasses today are one of the most stylish and trendy but in addition provide the best eye protection and durability which was the purpose of why they were originally designed. If you are looking for incredible style and the best function, Ray-Ban will certainly be top of the list for many more years to come.
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Anyone who keeps a beady eye on our blogs will know we’re not averse to blowing Ray Ban’s trumpet now and again. But hold the press, the Wayfarer’s younger brother has reared it’s meddling head to divide your affections. Known simply as the ‘Clubmaster’, this cool model features a 1950’s brow line bar and was Ray Ban’s homage to to the stars of the Fifties and Sixties. First released in 1986, the Clubmaster proved an instant hit as America’s burgeoning hip-hop and pop culture embraced it greedily.
Following the massively successful re-release of the Wayfarer in 2006 and it’s continuing popularity, Ray Ban got smart and produced another ace with the re-launch of their equally iconic Clubmaster model. The original came only in black and tortoiseshell, however lucky Noughties kids can choose from 7 new colours.
As fitting a much-loved star, it’s relaunch was held with grand aplomb at The Bowery Ballroom in New York in December ‘08, with more celebrities in attendance than you could shake a stick at. Taking inspiration from their Fifties and Sixties theme, Ray Ban hired a host of hip American musicians, including The Black Kids, to perform re-worked popular tunes from the vintage era. The guest list read like a promoter’s dream with everyone’s favourite Gossip Girl stars; Blake Lively, Penn Badgley, Chace Crawford and Ed Westwick working the red carpet, alongside Hollywood sweethearts Diane Kruger and Joshua Jackson and even the elusive Kevin Bacon put in a rare appearance, perhaps tempted by the retro Eighties Clubmaster and nostalgic for his ‘Footloose’ days?!!
Of course now all the stars have their mitts on these toptastic shades, Ray Ban can rest on their laurels; surely the only way is up. And as for which style to go for… we say a little indulgence never hurt anyone, go on buy a pair of each!
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