More than a brand, Ray-Ban is a symbol of iconoclasm, a statement of independence and creativity, and an unmistakable identity with a strong sense of style. It is designed to make bad boys look good, with an attitude of irreverence towards trends. Each design has come to be a symbol of a time, its people and ideology, a cultural artifact, evolving of its own accord.

Always ready to step up to the plate, Ray-Ban is man’s instant solution to any wardrobe emergency that demands immediate styling, with the versatility of offering up to at least two looks at a time with every design. In your dishevelled, out-of-bed state, with just T-shirt and jeans/shorts on, Ray-Ban spontaneously lends an edgy, stylish spin on what might have been a disaster. Do it like Beckham and turn every unprepared, weary moment into a stylish occasion. In the event that you worry about looking too “square” or boring in your suit and tie, Ray-Ban is here to save your day by packing a punch of personality and turning on that slightly roguish charm in slick fashion. Suddenly, you are one of the guys in Reservoir Dogs.

The leading men of Reservoir Dogs (1992) walking in style wearing Ray-Ban Wayfarer and Clubmaster in the film’s iconic slow-motion opening titles.

Irrevocably entwined with music and cinema, Ray-Ban is just as instantly recognisable as the stars who wear it. And out of each icon – Aviator, Wayfarer, Clubmaster and Round – the brand has been constantly reimagining and reinventing, holding to the principle that a true inventor never stops. With the Icons Reinvented campaign, Ray-Ban celebrates the evolution of its most iconic frames. Here are the four most important shapes that have been making history from the get-go.

America’s highly decorated General Douglas MacArthur, photographed upon his return to the Philippines – a lasting image of World War II that led to the meteoric rise of the Aviator.

THE AVIATOR

BORN OF AMBITION

The story starts with John A. Macready: a daring pilot and a legend in the making. Determined to fly higher than those before him, he approached the optics company making equipment for the US military in search of goggles that would protect pilots from light at high altitudes. The result – an innovation in aviation with lenses that would keep pilots’ vision free of glare in distinctive teardrop lenses that fit around their oxygen masks. With that, the Aviator was born.

In the 1930s, Aviators were first introduced into the military. Later made standard-issue, the frames took on the characteristics of the heroes associated with them. In 1937, Anti-Glare Sunglasses – as they were called – were released to the public and soon renamed. Ray-Ban became the first sunglasses brand in history.

Marlon Brando in The Wild One (1953). The anti-hero prodigy made the Aviator an essential accessory for non-conformists.

In the 1960s, Ray-Ban Aviator became a symbol of the “anti”. Anti-fashion. Anti-establishment. Anti-social. With a leather jacket and a 1950 6T Triumph Thunderbird, Marlon Brando’s The Wild One made them an essential accessory for the outlaw. With rock stars adopting the frames in the 1960s and 1970s, this uniform of anti-heroes became the ultimate mark of iconoclasm.

The Maverick of mavericks Tom Cruise in Top Gun (1986) returned the Aviator to its roots in the sky.

Top Gun took Ray-Ban back to its roots in 1986 when Tom Cruise’s Aviator-wearing Maverick became an icon of cinema and American nationalism. With a new champion behind its lenses, the Aviator came full circle and reclaimed its original legacy of an innovation for the daring, the radical, a hero. While staying true to its heritage, the Aviator continues to evolve and push boundaries, taking on a new form from time to time.

Robert Redford puts a dapper spin on a pair of super sleek reflective Ray-Ban Aviator.

 

Aviator 1937 – RB3025 001/31

The Icon that started it all makes a memorable come back with the release of this limited edition featuring the original design cues. The Aviator 1937 Limited Edition boasts the original drop-shaped lens designed to fully cover the range of vision, nose pads and temple tips with mother of pearl accents and legendary crystal lenses created back in the days to protect pilots’ eyes from damaging sun rays thanks to 100% UV protection.

Aviator Outdoorsman – RB3029

Designed for men with a passion for the outdoors, the light, resilient shape of the Outdoorsman returns in fine golden Arista metal with classic acetate temple tips and upper bar, while G15 green crystal or gradient sun lenses ensure only the best in protected, stylish vision.

Ke$ha rocking a pair of Ray-Ban Aviator Outdoorsman.
John Goodman sporting Ray-Ban’s Aviator Outdoorsman in the 1998 The Big Lebowski.

Aviator Leather Craft – RB3422Q

Ray-Ban Craft is a celebration of craftsmanship, an important and valuable element in the history of Ray-Ban. Inspired by the Aviator Outdoorsman Classic, Outdoorsman Craft has similar iconic features, but is crafted with genuine deer leather as well as other carefully handcrafted touches. These truly unique sunglasses feature a hand- stitched leather brow bar as well as leather temple pads that you won’t find on any other sunglass style. Available with iconic G15 green lenses, Classic brown lenses and yellow Ambermatic lenses.

Aviator Evolve – RB3025

The master of lens technology evolves high-flying style into a new world of colour – welcome to Evolve! This cult metal shape sets it focus on the dials of contemporary style with classic gold, silver or high definition black metal rims and innovative light sensitive shades that change colour in the light. Flaunting superior UV400 filters, iconic green or brown and on-trend blue and yellow lenses in varying densities are matched to iconic metal tones and modern black frames for a trend-right selection.

THE WAYFARER

BIGGER, BOLDER, BADDER

With new materials and technology emerging in the 1950s, the door was opened to a universe of new styles – and in entered the Ray-Ban Wayfarer. Plastic made elaborate frames possible – and the thick angles of the Wayfarer became an instant icon. Critic Stephen Bayley called them “a mid-century classic to rival Eames chairs and Cadillac tail fins.”

Arriving in the midst of a booming film industry, the dark, moody frames proved to have huge appeal for movie directors. Popularised by The Blues Brothers, the Wayfarer became known for having the ability to bestow instant cool on its wearer, as seen on James Dean in Rebel Without A Cause and Tom Cruise in Risky Business.

Comedy actors Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi popularised the Wayfarer in The Blues Brothers (1980).

In the 80s, the music scene exploded – the Wayfarer was seen on Johnny Marr of The Smiths and The Ramones gave the frames a punk undertone they would never lose. But the Wayfarer’s appeal reached beyond genres: from Wham!’s quintessentially-pop Club Tropicana video, to a style staple for Madonna. Worn by the most iconic musicians over the decades, the Ray-Ban Wayfarer is synonymous with the world of music.

Johnny Marr of The Smiths gave the Wayfarer its enduring punk undertone.

In the 2000s, Ray-Ban Wayfarer had a complete reinvention. The moody black frames were transformed by color. Reflecting the fashion for mixing and matching, the rebellious Wayfarer gained a playful streak. In its latest iteration, the Wayfarer comes in extra nifty with a fold in the bridge that allows it to be folded up neatly and slip into any pocket effortlessly.

Wayfarer – RB2140

Ray-Ban Original Wayfarer Classics are the eyewear of personal preference for many of music’s most enduring stars. As an iconic style of sunglasses, the Original Wayfarer Classics always makes a statement. Choose a classic pair of black or Havana-framed Wayfarer sunglasses from a variety of lens treatments including crystal green, crystal grey gradient, G-15 polarized and many more.

Wayfarer Folding – RB4105

Ray-Ban Wayfarer Folding Classic RB4105 sunglasses provide a practical, portable yet stylish look. Modelled from the Original Wayfarer Classic, the iconic Wayfarer has been constructed into a compact, folding style letting you be practicably fabulous. Wayfarer Folding Classic can easily be folded and tucked away for ultimate portability, whilst remaining durable. With Wayfarer Folding Classic you don’t have to sacrifice fashion for convenience. Simply wear, fold, unfold and wear again.

THE CLUBMASTER

POWER BROW

With the launch of Ray-Ban Clubmaster, the 1950s came back in full swing. Inspired by the masculine ‘browline’ styles popular at the time, the winged frame with sharp angles, curved lenses and sleek black and gold hardware became an instant retro-classic, and a prominent feature in the 1980s club scene. With pop and rock bands embracing dandy style, everyone who was anyone embraced the refined, retro frames, which happens to produce a very distinct preppy, studious vibe. A crash of two eras, two cultures. A timeless design.

The Clubmaster enjoyed just as close a relationship with cinema as with music. Worn by Denzel Washington in Malcolm X, and paired with a black suit on Tim Roth in Reservoir Dogs, the Ray-Ban Clubmaster became a movie icon. With a little help from Tarantino, they became badass – an instant way to evoke vintage retro cool.

Burt Lancaster exuding some serious brow power in the 1957 Sweet Smell of Success.

Fashion always comes back around. In the 2000s, the Clubmaster was relaunched as the masculine brow trend came back in vogue, thanks to Mad Men. The relaunch highlighted the relationship between Ray-Ban and music, with eight musical acts leading the Ray-Ban Remaster project.

Bruce Willis in Moonlighting largely contributed to the revival of the browline style.

Taking the iconic vintage style forward, to a time of skyscrapers and the urban club scene of the 2000s, the Clubmaster adopted a more contemporary, sleek and lightweight construction, namely the Clubmaster Aluminum. Remade in aluminum, the eyewear hailing from the 1950s makes its way into the future.

Clubmaster – RB3016

The distinctive design of the Clubmaster Classic was favoured by cultural intellectuals who changed the face of tomorrow. With its proud vintage allure, it now comes in black or Havana with crystal green lenses.

Clubmaster Aluminium – RB3507

The futuristic retro design flaunts an aluminium frame for lighter weight, pleasant texture and perfect fit. The front features a flat design that defines the original shapes and details. In addition to the classic black, the silver version is available with matching crystal lenses. Also available with polarized lenses.

THE ROUND

ETERNAL STYLE

Worn by hippies at legendary music festivals in the 1960s – not to mention, thanks to owners like Benjamin Franklin and Janis Joplin – round glasses have become associated with counter-culture, pioneering vision and artistry, exuding the spirit of free thinkers and poets. The Ray-Ban Round evokes the nonconformist attitudes of the 1960s. As a resurgence of 1920s fashion merged with the futuristic trends of the 1960s, round glasses took their place as part of the psychedelic style – as seen in The Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Propelled by the ever-evolving music scene, round glasses were reinvented once again in the late 1980s. During the acid house movement in 1987, clubbers blended sportswear at the time with 1960s psychedelic fashion and, subsequently, made round sunglasses a staple of club style. That spirit was captured in Ray-Ban Round, originally released in 1989 as part of the Classic Metals collection. With distinct round crystal lenses and a thin metal frame, Round reinvented a classic in a distinctive style of its own and continues to draw on the shape’s significance of endless inspiration.

Ray-Ban Round – RB3447
Justin Bieber electrified the media sporting a gold metal Ray-Ban Round with striking blue polarised mirror lenses.

In the next evolution of Round, the Hexagonal, the circular shape is updated with sharp angles for a contemporary take. The Hexagonal flattens the curved lenses of the Round, giving the folksy style a bold, edgy twist. Whether you choose yours in pale lilac, bright blue or classic black, or opt for the classic G15 green and B15 lens, the psychedelic spirit of the 1960s lives on.

Ray-Ban Hexagonal – RB3548N

Watch the Iconic Styles, Reinvented campaign below and take a short trip down memory lane with Ray-Ban.

written by.
KC Yap
Editor, Augustman Malaysia

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