Glamorous Story of the Ray-Ban Wayfarer Sunglasses
In 1956, Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses, designed by Raymond Stegeman, have revolutionized the fashion world. By that time, most models that were available in stores had a heavy metal frame.
According to the design critic Stephen Bayley” the distinctive trapezoidal frame suggests, through a nonverbal language, instability and danger, but it is tempered by the strong arms that offer the glasses a masculine look”.
Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses enjoyed popularity until the early 70s, when they entered into obscurity.
They had a brief moment of glory in 1982, thanks to a successful campaign of product-placement in movies. It’s not only about the classic film The Blues Brothers which generated sales of just 18,000 pieces, but also about the moment when Tom Cruise appeared wearing the glasses in Risky Business film. In the year when the movie was released, there were sold more than 360,000 units. In 1986 the glasses continued appearing in movies like Miami Vice, Moonlight and The Breakfast Club, and sales reached 1.5 million. Long has been assumed that the sunglasses worn by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s were a pair of Wayfarer, but the mystery was shattered when it was announced that it was about the model designed by Oliver Goldsmith.
The Wayfarer has experienced popularity especially among musicians. Bob Dylan, Michael Jackson, Billy Joel, Debbie Harry, Madonna and U2 band members have often worn the sunglasses in their concerts and photo sessions.
Wayfarer sunglasses returned to trend in 2007, when the celebrities that loved the retro style like Chloe Sevigny and Mary-Kate Olsen began wearing them again. In 2008, the beloved vampire of the Twilight series Edward Cullen was spotted on set wearing a pair of Wayfarer sunglasses, and Katy Perry used them in her video Teenage Dream. This accessory has become a symbol of American pop culture, an influence of the former king of music Michael Jackson. The employees at Ray Ban noticed an impressive increase in the price of the vintage model available on eBay and they decided to reintroduce the Wayfarer (RB2140 model), a version that resembled pretty good with the one launched in 1956.
The folks at Ray Ban have been used new media like MySpace to communicate with the customers. Sales in 2007 were by 231% higher than in 2006 at Selfridge’s London, and in the same year, the Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses were ranked in top three best-selling-items.
Even Kate Moss is their fan. The model wore a pair of Ray-Ban Wayfarer on September 20, 2010, when she attended a ceremony in memory of designer Alexander McQueen. The actress Jessica Alba has integrated a pair of sunglasses in a travel outfit she wore when she arrived at the Venice Film Festival.