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Discover what made the future: Ray-Ban

Ray-Ban is an Italian, formerly American, brand of sunglasses that was created in the late 1930s by Bausch and Lomb and later purchased for $640m by the Luxottica Group. They were popularised by their aviator and wayfarer styled sunglasses.

Colonel John A. MaCready, a US Army Air Corps pilot, worked with Bausch and Lomb, a medical equipment company, to create sunglasses that would cut out some of the distraction caused by the white and blue hues of the sky. The goggles they were using at the time kept fogging up and in 1936 the prototype came out. Kalichrome lenses were used to reduce haze through reducing the impact of blue light which helped sharpen details while in the sky.

Pilots were the rockstars of the time which propelled aviators straight into popular culture and, ultimately, into the history books. They became so popular that even General Douglas MacArthur would be seen wearing them not long after their appearance.

Ray-Ban (Bausch and Lomb) capitalised on this rise to fame making many offshoots of the original aviators and also introducing the wayfarer line in the 1950s. Wayfarer popularity took a dip but after some smart and slightly excessive product placement, appearing in 60 movie and television programs a year between ’82 and ’87, they cemented themselves as one of the highest selling styles.

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