About Ray Ban Sunglasses
Founded in 1937 by Lester Belisaro, Ray-Ban has gone on to become the most famous name in the history of sunglasses. Best known for its Wayfarer and Aviator lines, Ray-Ban has become an American institution.
The glasses pre-date the brand in this case, as Ray-Ban started out as a request from the US Army's Air Service to medical suppliers Bausch & Lomb to create sunglasses that would reduce headaches in its pilots. The Anti-Glare glasses were plastic, functional and not the most stylish affair, but they were remodelled the following year and rebranded as the Ray-Ban Aviator.
Ray-Ban based its reputation on function, rather than outright form, and its next glasses came with a sweat band to protect hunters and fisherman from their own bodily fluids as they focused on their prey.
The company released the Wayfarer in 1952 and has continued to produce new lines. It is perhaps a sign of its early dominance in the market, though, that its best known designs are the earliest ones. Ray-Ban remains popular with the older consumer, who were heavily influenced by the celebrity endorsements and product placements from the 1950s through to the 1990s.
James Dean was a fan and wore the glasses in Rebel Without a Cause, Meter Fonda donned a set in Easy Rider and they also featured in Dirty Harry and The Blues Brothers. The brand's most famous appearance by far was in Top Gun, though, where Tom Cruise and his fellow pilots all wore Ray-Bans.
Recent brand ambassadors include David Beckham, Lily Allen and Alexa Chung.