While sporting my sexy Ray-Ban shades I began to date myself with nostalgic thoughts to the days when you could pick up your pair of the iconic sunglasses at the local 7-Eleven for far less than their current market price. So what gives, and when did things change? Well, folks, it all comes down to the Risky Business of marketing.
Here’s a short history lesson for the cool kids who should learn a little history on their favorite, IG-friendly brand. When American test pilot, aviator, and lieutenant in the US Army Corps John Arthur Macready complained of glare from the sun while reaching higher altitudes, he commissioned a solution from John Jacob Bausch and Henry Lomb, a optician and a financier, respectively. What began as goggles morphed into the brand’s classic aviators, which soon hit the market for pilots and airmen. They expanded their designs to Wayfarers and Caravans and once celebrities like Humphrey Bogart and James Dean began to sport the designs, they flew off the shelves (pun intended). Things changed when bigger frames took a fashion hold, and the competition killed Ray-Ban. But the brand got smart, and they paid to be featured in over 60 films, which most notably includes some serious Tom Cruise classics.
Tom Cruise starred in Risky Business in 1983 and throughout the film he can be seen sporting Wayfarers. Though he did not wear them during that legendary underwear scene, that was enough to put him on the map, and the shades entered our consciousness again. And speaking of cool, who could forget Top Gun, when each and every actor wore Ray-Bans? It was the perfect product placement, and the rest is history.