There are now many different brands of designer sunglasses which have either evolved in their own right, such as Ray Ban or Oakley, or have been created as an accessory to the fashion house brands, such as Gucci and Versace etc. This article examines the backgrounds to these different designer brands, tracing back to their roots and finding out how they were first created and grew into the well-known high street fashion brands that we all desire to wear. Learn about Oakley, Rayban, Dolce and Gabbana, Diesel, Gucci, Hugo Boss, Prada, Tommy Hilfiger, and Versace.
1. Oakley Sunglasses
Oakley is mostly known for their quality sunglasses and ski goggles, and was founded by Jim Jannard in California, USA in 1975, where he developed motorbike hand grips, and then sold them at motocross events. He called them "The Oakley Grip" , and were very different to any other grips riders had been using. In the 1980's he moved on to goggles and sunglasses, and is now a world leader in innovative design, creating new and exciting products.
UV and impact protection
Plutonite is used for all Oakley lenses. It is made of polycarbonate, making the lenses lightweight, offering superior comfort, clarity and protection against ultraviolet radiation and impact resistance. In fact, this impact resistant material blocks out 100% of all UVA, UVB and UVC radiation. The protection is formulated into the lens material, as opposed to a thin surface film that can become scratched, leaving dilated pupils exposed to ultraviolet leaks. Shielding has nothing to do with the darkness or color of the lens, so even clear non-tinted Oakley lenses will still provide full UV protection.
The wrapped around, raked-back design of Oakley eyewear provides further protection by blocking UV from the periphery. The lens materials and frame geometries of Oakley sunglasses provide unsurpassed protection against high-velocity and high-mass impact.
Iridium lens coatings
This is a uniform filtering layer that optimizes contrast and minimizes glare, created by super-heated metallic oxides being fused to the lens at a molecular level, permanently bonding to the lens. Tuned to transmit from 9 to 92% of available light, the coatings are specifically formulated for optimal balance between reflection, transmission and absorption.
Every single pair of Oakley polarized sunglasses achieves 99.9% efficiency in blocking polarized light waves. Harsh glare is caused by light waves bouncing off flat surfaces and water, and can be up to 10 times as bright as ambient light. With Oakley polarized lenses you'll definitely keep the sun from impeding your vision.
Oakley's polarization technology surpasses industry standards for clarity, performance and durability. Common techniques of incorporating polarization films into lenses by lamination (using adhesive to sandwich the film between lens layers) and drop forming (sandwiching then heating and pressing over contoured forms) can cause haziness and optical distortion. Oakley uses an injection-molding process to infuse the lens material around the filter. This liquid fusion creates bonding at a molecular level, allowing the filter to achieve the highest possible level of performance.
Hydrophobic (repels water)
The hydrophobic lenses repel water, oil perspiration and dust. Liquids simply bead off the lens surface without streaking, and any liquids that do not slide off the lens by gravity can be more easily wiped away than with other makes of sunglasses, making cleaning your lenses a breeze.
Oleophobic (repels oils)
The oleophobic characteristics end the frustration experienced with oils, fingerprints and other smudges on conventional eyewear. These marks on your Oakley sunglasses will easily wipe away without residue, eliminating leftover haze and reducing the effort required to clean the lenses.
The anti-static properties mean that dust, dirt and other particles are not drawn to the lens via static electricity. Dirt and dust degrade optical clarity, prompt more frequent cleaning and increase the likelihood of scratching.
Oakley sunglasses are engineered to maintain a comfortable, secure fit. The company's patented "Three-Point Fit" ensures that each frame makes contact only at the bridge of the nose and behind the temples. This retains optics in perfect alignment and eliminates the discomfort of ordinary frames that hook the ears and mount with unbalanced pressure points. Some earstems are sheathed in "unobtainium" , an Oakley innovation that actually increases grip with perspiration.
This is the name of Oakley's hydrophilic (water-attracting) synthetic rubber that increases grip when wet, usually applied to the contact points of the sunglasses (nose and sides of the head). A very similar material was used in Oakley's first product, the "Oakley grips", used on motorcycle hand grips (mentioned earlier).
Engineering breakthroughs in structural materials allow Oakley to produce lightweight, high performance eyewear frames that maintain superior comfort and protection. The polymers used in "O Matter" frames (a nylon composite) are formulated for high durability, as well as controlled flexibility for improved safety during impact. To produce the ultra-strong, ultra-lightweight chassis of Oakley wire frames, five metallic compounds (including titanium) are fused into a single C-5 alloy. Both frame materials maintain resistance to ultraviolet radiation, humidity, thermal shock and chemical exposure.
Oakley "X Metal" is a titanium alloy, and is the only 3-D sculpted, hypoallergenic, all-metal frame on earth. Its phenomenal strength-to-weight ratio maximizes comfort and durability. To maintain precise optical geometries, production pieces are analized under real-time X-ray scanning and undergo five-axis machining in computerized systems that maintain 0.0005 "tolerance.
2. Ray-Ban Sunglasses
Ray-Ban was founded in 1937 as a manufacturer of quality sunglasses. Ray-Ban introduced the two most imitated sunglasses in the world, the "Aviator" (issued free to the United States air force pilots) and the "Wayfarer" .
It all started in 1920 when lieutenant John MacCready returned from a balloon flight, complaining that the bright sun had permanently damaged his eyes. He asked Bausch & Lomb to develop a pair of sunglasses that would not only provide the necessary protection, but also look good. A few years later, in 1937, Bausch & Lomb produced the "Anti-Glare", consisting of a lightweight gold-plated metal frame and green-tinted mineral glass lenses, which filtered out the ultraviolet rays. Pilots in the United States air force were issued these "Aviator" sunglasses free of charge. The aviator style soon became famous when, during World War 2, General Douglas MacArthur landed on the beaches in the Philippines. Photographers recorded the moment, and their pictures showed him wearing these aviator sunglasses – which then soon became popular all over America.
Ray-Bans have been used in various Hollywood films, starting with "Breakfast at Tiffany's" in 1961, starring Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly. The "Blues Brothers", starring Dan Akroyd and John Belushi showed them famously wearing their "Wayfarer" style Ray-Bans. We mustn't forget, of course, Tom Cruise in the 1983 film "Risky Business". In 2006, the Honda Formula One Racing team members all wore the Ray-Ban 4075 model during the racing season.
Ray-Ban is now owned by the Luxottica group, and their headquarters are in Italy. Ray-Ban sunglasses continue to be very popular with a large range of exciting styles.
3. Dolce and Gabbana Sunglasses
Dolce and Gabanna is a high-end fashion house, founded by Italian designers Domenico Dolce from Palermo, Sicily, and Stefano Gabanna from Milan, Italy. Dolce and Gabanna are very popular among the Hollywood stars, designing clothes for Kylie Minogue, Madonna and many others. Although the two men separated in 2005, the business remains unchanged and both Dolce and Gabanna continue to design together. They endeavor to create the best designs, rather than being concerned with starting trends, and just glancing through their collection you can see for yourself that the designs are absolutely stunning.
4. Diesel Sunglasses
The Diesel brand has been around since 1978, manufacturing jeans and casual clothing, along with accessories, including Diesel sunglasses. Diesel products can be purchased from around 10,000 shops and boutiques all over the world.
The Diesel company was founded by Renzo Rosso in 1978. He and his design team always wanted to lead their own path in fashion, being slightly different from the norm, and so Diesel has become a fashion leader, rather than a fashion follower. Their manufacturing methods and quality control guarantees an outstanding quality product, with an individual style that is refreshingly different from the usual trends. So, if you want to have that certain look of individuality and style, then Diesel sunglasses are well worth considering.
5. Gucci Sunglasses
Gucci is perhaps one of the worlds most prestigious and famous fashion brands. It was founded by Guccio Gucci in Florence, Italy in 1921. Gucci is the biggest selling Italian brand in the world and has about 425 stores around the world. They also hold the world record for the most expensive pair of jeans ever made – an amazing US $ 3,134, in Milan in 1998!
In 1938 Gucci expanded, and opened a boutique in Rome. Guccio Gucci himself designed many of the company's most notable products, such as the bamboo-handled handbag in 1947, which is still manufactured today. Four of his sons helped in running the company and leading it forwards, and after their father's death in 1953, Aldo Gucci was instrumental in opening the company's first boutiques in London, Paris and New York.
Like many companies, the Gucci company has had its ups and downs over the years through family quarrels and poor business decisions, but despite this, Gucci remains one of the premier luxury goods brands in the world. Have a look at a few Gucci sunglasses and you will soon see that the designs embody that sense of luxury and extravagance. So, if you want to get noticed, there's nothing quite like a pair of "Gucci's" to give you that sense of feeling special and sophisticated. You'll always be glad you invested in a pair of Gucci sunglasses!
6. Hugo Boss Sunglasses
Hugo Boss is a well known fashion brand extending worldwide, with a chain of shops in over 100 countries and an annual turnover of half a billion dollars.
Hugo Boss founded his clothing company in Germany, in 1923 near Stuttgart, where he is still based today. Despite bankruptcy in 1930, due to the difficult economic climate in Germany at that time, he set up a new business in 1931, and supplied the uniforms of the SS guards. Hugo Boss died in 1948, but his business carried on, and began making suits. In the late 50's, 60's and 70's fashion began to really take off, and Hugo Boss suits soon became known for their fashionable quality.
Like many other fashion names, the company has diversified into fragrances and also, of course, the stunning Hugo Boss sunglasses. When others around you notice you're wearing Hugo Boss sunglasses, they won't fail to be impressed.
7. Prada Sunglasses
Prada was created in 1913 by Mario Prada in Milan, Italy. He designed handbags, shoes, suitcases etc, and the brand now signifies luxury and style. Miuccia Prada, Mario's granddaughter, took over the company in 1978, and moved the Prada label forwards, designing a new look handbag – simple and sleek – and now Prada stands for elegant clean lines with luxurious fabrics and materials.
Accessories, such as Prada sunglasses, are also extremely high quality, again showing those elegant clean lines with attention to detail that give Prada sunglasses their subtle style and classy image. The Prada brand is renowned worldwide, and the distinct Prada triangular logo is instantly recognizable. As soon as you put on a pair of Prada sunglasses you soon realize you own something special.
8. Tommy Hilfiger Sunglasses
Tommy Hilfiger comes from a large family in New York state, America. While still at school, he started his career making jeans, in 1969. With no formal training, he started designing clothes that were different from the usual styles. He moved to New York city in 1979 to further his fashion career, and brought out his first collection in 1985. He has since won numerous awards, not only for designing clothes and accessories, but also for his work in helping young American teenagers, encouraging them to improve in their education, and promoting their physical well-being (through playing sports, etc).
Tommy Hilfiger sunglasses have a special style all of their own, with a distinguished trendy look that is refreshingly different – sure to get you noticed as someone with taste and an eye for style. In a word – stunning!
9. Versace Sunglasses
Gianni Versace was born in Reggio di Calabria, Italy. His mother was a dressmaker, so Gianni began to learn about clothing at an early age, helping his mother find precious stones and gold braid which could be embroidered onto the dresses. He studied architecture, and then moved to Milan when he was 25 to work in fashion design. He the 1970's he started to become noticed through his fashionable knitwear, and he was asked to design some leather and suede collections. A few years later, he presented his first signature collection for ladies wear in Milan, closely followed by a menswear collection. Over the next years, his reputation soon grew to become one of the great icons of the fashion industry.
Unfortunately in 1997, as he was coming home from his usual morning walk along Ocean Drive where he lived in Miami, Florida, Gianni Versace was shot and killed outside his ocean-front house. He was murdered by a man called Andrew Cunanan, who committed suicide shortly afterwards using the same handgun that had been used on Versace. Gianni Versace was buried in Lake Como, Italy.
Versace remains one of the most talented and colorful designers of the 20th century, and the Versace brand is one of the worlds leading international fashion houses. The collection of Versace sunglasses shows his flare for design with elegant, sophisticated styles, carried on by Gianni's sister, Donatella Versace, the new head of design of the Versace fashion house.