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With an iconic style, aviator sunglasses never seem to wane in popularity. It's a must-have item in the world of sunglasses. It’s doubtful that you have never seen or worn some aviator glasses yourself. Featuring a wide and thin metal frame, the design is easily recognizable with a double bridge adapted to the curve of the nose and a teardrop shape lens.
Designed to guarantee maximum protection from sunlight by covering the eyes and using very dark or reflective lenses. Initially created for more practical uses during the second world war in the United States Army Air Corps, now aviators are one of the most fashionable sunglasses styles across the globe.
There is a reason pilots used the aviator style: they were efficient at blocking out sunlight at high altitudes. Aviator sunglasses were invented to remedy the harsh glare of the sun when soaring high above the clouds. In 1936 when Bausch and Lomb created the first Ray-Ban sunglasses for military aviators, the companies opticians and physicists created a specialized tint capable of absorbing yellow light.
This, combined with the broad field of view, made the original aviator sunglasses perfect for aerial and military usage. But this also made them a superior choice of eyewear for lounging on the beach or performing activities in the sweltering summer heat.
The style may have only caught on due to its celebrity status. Still, its practical usages were undoubtedly a considerable part of what caught the public’s attention, leading to widespread use.
Worn by pilots and military officials while traveling abroad, the style soon became associated with the US military, and so the style began to gather some attention. The style was then popularized in World War II by General Douglas MacArthur, in 1944, who was captured in an iconic photograph wearing his aviator sunglasses.
Then a few years later, in 1947, Ray-Ban company officially developed them as a fashion accessory for the public using advertising campaigns related especially to patriotism and national pride. In some of their campaigns, they even used the pilot Amelia Earhart to approach the female audience with this patriotic dynamic.
This patriotic fervor was successful, and aviator sunglasses became emblematic of the American dream. From there on came the rise of American cinema, and the aviator sunglasses were worn by most of Hollywood to block out the harsh rays of the Californian sun.
You may have seen aviators worn in movies such as top-gun and cobra by Tom Cruise and Silvester Stallone. They have also been popular among big-name celebrities such as Paul McCartney, Brad Pitt, Freddy Mercury, Steve McQueen, David Bowie, Elvis, and Diana Ross.
Worn in movies, models, and big-name celebrities, the popularity of the style continued to sore. The successful marketing scheme and celebrity exposure ensured that the style was ingrained into the heart of American culture and media, thus opening up opportunities for global usage.
Despite officially being a Ray-Ban product, many variations of the aviator style frame were created by a multitude of different companies. New versions of the style emerged with reflective lenses, different colors, frames, crystals, and sizes. So now, aviators were no longer a singular product but instead an entire genre of sunglasses design.
In 1999, the Ray-Ban brand was sold to Italian company Luxótica, which has remained as the official manufacturer of this model. The original design remains iconic, the style could be described as vintage, but that might imply that they once went out of style. No, I think it would be better to describe them a timeless.
Historical in origin but still kicking, the aviator frame remains to be a timeless style that refuses to die out. Accessible, practical, yet also luxurious, the aviator frame continues to be one of the most popular styles of frames. Suitable for any age or gender, the aviator-style sunglasses have a universal feel to them, making them accessible yet stylish and constantly on-trend. They can be worn by anyone and everyone, from the rich to the poor, and will always be in style. This universal nature and timeless feel are what keeps people coming back for more.
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