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Who made aviator sunglasses famous?
The first Aviator sunglasses were known as “pilot glasses” because they were originally developed by the company Bausch and Lomb for use by pilots in 1936. Their large lenses were created to keep the sun out of the pilot’s eyes when he was flying and enabled him to move his head in any angle without fear of the sun getting under the sunglasses and dazzling him. The original styles only allowed 20% of light to reach the pilot’s eyes and had hooks on the legs to attach the sunglasses onto his ears to stop them from falling off. Ray-Ban branded the Aviator design and, seeing how popular they were, starting selling them out with the military in 1937. Their popularity soared, and they have remained in the number one slot for sunglasses designs ever since.
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Ray-Ban Aviator RB3025
The birth of an iconic brand
The universal appeal of Aviator sunglasses is down to a number of features, particularly their wearability, the fact that they suit both men and women and their connection with the rich and famous.
The first iconic Aviator wearer was the charismatic General Douglas MacArthur, who was famously photographed wearing them on a beach in the Philippines while he commanded the US Army during World War II. As the photos continued to be published in the press, the craze for Aviator sunglasses increased. Their appeal continued to grow during the 60s and 70s but it was the dawning of the 80s that saw a real boom in Aviator wearing. The film Top Gun was responsible for getting the Aviators back on the big screen. Both men and women swooned at the images of Tom Cruise and his pilot comrades sporting leather flying jackets and the all-important Ray-Ban Aviators. The look made such an impression on the public that Ray-Ban saw a 40% increase in their Aviator sales after the film was released!
An enduring celebrity appeal
They soon became an essential item for any wannabe rock and film star. Aviator sunglasses have the unique attribute of suiting celebrity women as much as men, and they were worn by Sarah Jessica Parker in the Sex and the City films, Julia Roberts in Eat, Love, Pray and Carrie Ann Moss in The Matrix. Musicians such as Jon Bon Jovi and Michael Jackson and actors such as Jonny Depp and Brad Pitt have all famously sported the design, and they continue to be popular today with the younger generation of celebrities such as Lindsay Lohan, Zak Efron and Miley Cyrus.
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