Ray-Ban
Company typeSubsidiary
IndustryEyewear
Founded1936; 88 years ago (1936)
in Rochester, New York,
United States
Headquarters,
Italy
Area served
Worldwide
Products
OwnerLuxottica Group
Websiteray-ban.com

Ray-Ban is a brand of luxury sunglasses and eyeglasses created in 1936 by Bausch & Lomb. The brand is best known for its Wayfarer and Aviator lines of sunglasses. In 1999, Bausch & Lomb sold the brand to Italian eyewear conglomerate Luxottica Group for a reported $640 million.[1][2]

History

In 1929, US Army Air Corps Colonel John A. Macready worked with Bausch & Lomb, a Rochester, New York–based medical equipment manufacturer, to create aviation sunglasses that would reduce the distraction for pilots caused by the intense blue and white hues of the sky.[3][4][5]

Specifically, MacCready was concerned that pilots' goggles would fog up, greatly reducing visibility at high altitude.[6] The prototype, created in 1936 and known as "Anti-Glare", had plastic frames and green lenses that could cut out the glare without obscuring vision. The name "Ray-Ban" was hence derived from the ability of these glasses to limit the ingress of either ultra-violet or infra-red rays of light.[7] Impact-resistant lenses were added in 1938.[8] The sunglasses were redesigned with a metal frame the following year and patented as the Ray-Ban Aviator.[6] According to the BBC, the glasses used "Kalichrome lenses designed to sharpen details and minimise haze by filtering out blue light, making them ideal for misty conditions."[6]

Product lines

Ray-Ban's most popular sunglasses are the Wayfarer, Erika, and Aviator models.[6][9][10] During the 1950s, Ray-Ban released the Echelon (Caravan), which had a squarer frame. In 1965, the Olympian I and II were introduced; they became popular when Peter Fonda wore them in the 1969 film Easy Rider.[11] The company has also produced special edition lines, such as The General in 1987, bearing similarity to the original aviators worn by General Douglas MacArthur during the Second World War.[8] In the 1980s the Ray-Ban Clubmaster was added to the model line.[12] The Clubmaster has a browline frame and went on to become the third best selling sunglasses style of the 1980s, behind the Wayfarer and Aviator.[13]

In 2007, Luxottica Group launched Ray-Ban Youth, a collection of prescription eyewear aimed at children ages eight through twelve. Modeled after popular adult Ray-Bans styles, these hypoallergenic titanium frames featured both neutral and bold colorways as well as sturdy flex hinges.[14]

In 2009, Luxottica released the Ray-Ban Tech collection, which included the Carbon Fibre line. This line of sunglasses were factory stress-tested and designed to be durable and lightweight, and featured polarized lenses of polycarbonate or crystal.[15]

On the brand's website, Ray-Ban also offers the option to customize and purchase individual pairs of many of their popular styles, giving buyers express choice between frames, lenses, and engraving, among other options.[16]

In 2021, Ray-Ban commercialized a model of smart glasses that they developed with Facebook Reality Labs called Ray-Ban Stories.[17][18] Building on recent trends of wearable technology, the glasses feature a built-in camera and Bluetooth earphones.[19] Like other wearable, camera-equipped tech, Ray-Ban Stories have come under scrutiny for their susceptibility to privacy issues and potential for misuse.[20]

Counterfeits

Like other luxury brands, Ray-Ban has been a notable target for retail counterfeiters. The advertisement of Ray-Bans for unrealistically low prices has been consistently linked to fraudulent websites peddling counterfeit products. Studies have shown that one of every four ads for discounted luxury products on Facebook links users to such sites.[21] Ray-Bans are often involved in international seizures of counterfeit designer goods. For one example, in 2016, law enforcement in Thailand seized an alleged import of hundreds of thousands of counterfeit sunglasses including Ray-Bans and Oakleys (also owned by Luxottica Group). Counterfeiters were said to have applied tags and stickers to the fakes to deceive consumers about their authenticity.[22]

Luxottica has taken measures to thwart the trade of counterfeit products, such as converting the India Ray-Ban website from a reference site to a functional e-commerce platform, and pursuing legal action against online retailers that market fake Ray-Ban products.[23] In 2016, Luxottica introduced a "Minimum Advertised Price (MAP)" policy for Ray-Ban in contracts with their wholesale customers. While the policy does not name a specific minimum price point, it forbids the advertisement of Ray-Ban products at extreme discounts, as well as any advertising that could otherwise devalue the products.[24]

Gallery

References

  1. ^ "Company News: Bausch & Lomb Selling Sunglass Business to Luxottica". NY Times. April 29, 1999. Retrieved September 5, 2010.
  2. ^ Johannes, Laura (April 29, 1999). "Bausch to Sell Sunglasses Business To Rival Luxottica for $640 Million". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved March 9, 2023.
  3. ^ Pagan Kennedy (August 3, 2012). "Who Made Those Aviator Sunglasses?". New York Times. Archived from the original on August 21, 2012. Retrieved May 1, 2017. And so Macready began working with Bausch & Lomb to design goggles especially suited to protect against the dazzle in the stratosphere. "My dad gave Bausch & Lomb the original shape, tint and fit" of aviator lenses, Wallace said.
  4. ^ "The best ever ray-bans". Archived from the original on November 22, 2015. Retrieved June 17, 2013.
  5. ^ "You can thank the US military for the world's most famous sunglasses". Business Insider. Retrieved May 24, 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d Foreman, Katya. "The enduring appeal of aviator sunglasses".
  7. ^ "What is the name origin of the Ray-Ban brand?". High Names. March 22, 2013. Retrieved July 27, 2021.
  8. ^ a b "Fashion Notes". The Washington Post. May 24, 1987. Archived from the original on October 18, 2016.
  9. ^ Williamson, Charlote; Davis (September 1, 2007). 101 Things to Buy Before You Die. New Holland Publishers. ISBN 9781845378851 – via Google Books.
  10. ^ Shilling, Donovan A. (January 1, 2011). A Photographic History of Bausch + Lomb. Pancoast Publishing. ISBN 9780983849605 – via Google Books.
  11. ^ "Mad Men Don Draper Meets Peter Fonda in Easy Rider (1969)". November 14, 2014.[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ RAY-BAN: THE HISTORY OF THE TOP-SELLING EYEWEAR BRAND WORLDWIDE
  13. ^ Fassel, Preston. "Hindsight is 20/20: The Browline". The Optician's Handbook. Retrieved June 10, 2013.
  14. ^ CMSBulkImportService. "Luxottica: Ray-Ban Youth". www.2020mag.com. Retrieved February 14, 2023.
  15. ^ Nicola, Gloria (September 2009). "Luxottica: Ray-Ban Tech Collection". 20/20 Magazine. p. 104. Retrieved February 20, 2023.
  16. ^ Carroll, Deirdre (June 16, 2014). "Making It One of a Kind". Vision Monday. pp. 10–11. Retrieved March 8, 2023.
  17. ^ "Ray-Ban and Facebook roll out smart sunglasses that can film everything you look at". September 9, 2021.
  18. ^ "RAY-BAN STORIES".
  19. ^ Lee, Adriana (September 10, 2021). "Facebook Reveals Smartglasses: Ray-Ban Stories". Women's Wear Daily. pp. 26–27. Retrieved February 20, 2023.
  20. ^ "In Totally Shocking News, Facebook's Smart Glasses Are The Subject Of A Privacy Investigation". Gizmodo Australia. September 13, 2021. Retrieved March 9, 2023.
  21. ^ Bloomberg, Daniele Lepido (November 15, 2014). "Many web ads lead to firms selling fake designer goods". The Hamilton Spectator. Retrieved February 20, 2023.
  22. ^ "Thai police seize almost 900,000 counterfeit sunglasses". The Canadian Press. March 3, 2016. Retrieved February 20, 2023.
  23. ^ "Ray-Ban converts India website into ecommerce platform to curb fakes". FRPT Retail Industry Snapshot. May 17, 2016. pp. 8–9. Retrieved February 20, 2023.
  24. ^ "New Efforts to Protect Ray-Ban, Include New Minimum Advertised Price Policy". Vision Monday. April 11, 2016. p. 16. Retrieved February 20, 2023.