Icons of Eyewear – Ray-Ban Aviator

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Ray-Ban Aviator sunglasses are as iconic as they come. From their beginnings as military hardware in the 1930s, they have become one of the most ubiquitous fashion accessories in the world, instantly recognisable and never out of place.

Contrary to popular opinion, Ray-Ban did not invent the pilot shape of sunglasses – but they certainly turned their Aviator model into a worldwide phenomenon.

In the First World War, pilots wore big, bulky goggles, which protected the eyes from icing over in freezing cold temperatures, as well as wind and dust. Those early, open-cockpit aircraft flew low, slow, short journeys – but as technology evolved, pilots began to suffer more from the intense glare of the sun at high altitude. As wind, dust and cold were not a concern in closed cockpits, goggles were out, and designers began to innovate again.

Enter American Army Air Corps Lieutenant John Macready, one-time world record holder for both altitude and flight duration, and all-round aviation pioneer. After hurting his eyes while using goggles in an attempt to break the altitude record, he contacted Bausch & Lomb, thus beginning a productive partnership which led to the development of the “Anti-Glare” model, first introduced in 1936 and later renamed the Ray-Ban Aviator.

The popularity of these sunglasses grew exponentially through and after the Second World War, in no small part thanks to their association with the American military. In fact, Bausch & Lomb was just one of several contractors making frames and lenses for the US Army Air Corps, and Ray-Ban was the “civilian” brand of the same company, which it remained until 1999.

In the meantime, Hollywood picked up on the style and ran with it. Starting with Marlon Brando’s 1951 film The Wild One, the Ray-Ban Aviator sunglasses have been a perennial favorite among film stars and celebrities, featuring most famously in Tom Cruise’s 1986 smash hit Top Gun. After almost 80 years, the Ray-Ban Aviator remains one of the most popular and iconic fashion accessories in the world. Their classic design has proved itself to be a permanent fixture from Lagos to Los Angeles, and shows no sign of relinquishing its place.

The Aviator Collection

Although the classic gold frame and dark green lenses combo may be the most iconic model, there is a wide variety of styles and designs under the Ray-Ban Aviator banner. Read on for information on the dazzling styles available today. These include the classic Large Metal Aviator, the Outdoorsman, Flash Lenses, Light Ray, and the Folding Aviator.

Aviator Full Colour (buy now for £106.00)

The so-called Ray-Ban Aviator Full Colour model boasts thicker, coloured frame rims that make them instantly recognisable. Of course, the large tear-drop shape lenses are always the main feature, but that subtle rim sets them apart. They’re available in a variety of colours, too, including red, green, brown and pink.

Aviator Flash Lenses (buy now for £119.00)

Arguably the coolest of them all, the Ray-Ban Aviator Flash Lenses models have mirrored lenses. This is one of the most dominant trends of recent seasons. For our money, the combination of gold frames and bright blue lenses is unbeatable. Whether you’re at the beach or in the middle of the urban jungle, these versatile shades will never feel out of place.

Aviator Large Metal (buy now for £102.00)

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Virtually unchanged since 1937, the Original Ray-Ban Aviator are perhaps the most iconic sunglasses of all time. Large, 62mm G-15 lenses, gold frames, and transparent temple tips: these are the true pilot’s sunglasses. From the Second World War to today, and of course, in Tom Cruise’s Top Gun. As functional as they are stylish, these glasses give your eyes great coverage, protecting you from the sun’s harmful rays.

SmartBuyGlasses has over a hundred other Ray-Ban Aviator models on their website, you’re sure to find a pair that you love!

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