2012 marked the 75th anniversary of Ray-Ban, the iconic sunglasses.
To celebrate this event, Ray-Ban sunglasses launched their 'Never Hide' campaign, using images inspired by pivotal moments in American history, each including a different model in the Ray-Ban range; a very clever way to do this, in my opinion. We begin in 1937, the birth year of Ray-Ban sunglasses. The classic aviator was born out of a need for eye protection for pilots to cut out the sun's glare at high altitudes. The US Marines Corps quickly adopted the Ray-Ban aviator as their sunglasses of choice, and aviators rapidly became a must-have fashion accessory.
Milestones in the company's history are many as Ray-Ban grew into the successful fashion brand it is today. German immigrant John Jacob Bausch opened a small business in New York in 1853 selling optical goods with financial help from Henry Lomb. Bausch & Lomb began importing and manufacturing eyeglasses and optical instruments in 1863, later diversifying into photographic lenses. In 1902 Bauch's son William discovered a way to make lenses directly from molten glass by-passing the grinding and polishing process and cutting costs of production. The First World War triggered a massive demand from the military for optical instruments, including gunsights, periscopes and searchlights. B&L was tasked to provide anti-glare lenses for US pilots and developed the famous Aviator lenses in 1938. Aviator sunglasses became popular with the public and sales soared. As the sunglasses of choice for many celebrities, the company grew a worldwide reputation for eyewear. In 1971 B&L branched out into the soft contact lenses market. By 1986 they expanded into the contact lens solution market and sold the eyewear division two years later to the Italian-based company Luxottica. The 'Never Hide' slogan was a throwback to those Marine Corps pilots who risked their lives during the Second World War. The Ray-Ban campaign image reflects this with a line of Marines, one of which is sporting a pair of Aviators.
Ray-Ban has often courted controversy in its bid to get the brand noticed. In 1942 the company launched its Clubmaster model as a pair of regular glasses rather than sunglasses. An advertising campaign to promote the Ray-Ban range used the image of two men walking down the street holding hands. This image exemplifies the 'Never Hide' slogan and expresses the 'edgy' aspect of the brand's promotional material. Handholding among men may not have a shocking impact these days, but homosexuality was illegal in the US in the 1940s.
The 1950s saw the explosion of rock and roll and rock and roll dancing. The image this time shows a young couple of rock and roll dancers whilst other older couples look on with shocked expressions. The young dancers are wearing the 50s-inspired Meteor, a new range of Ray-Ban sunglasses.
Through the sixties, campaign images can be seen of the swinging, rebellious youth; the seventies bring us the New York student 'war protests'; the eighties brought us punk; the nineties, hip-hop. These decades have a certain style, each reflected perfectly in Ray-Ban's models. Being such an iconic brand, your pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses is not something to be thrown away should the worst happen to them. Companies realise this, and many now offer Ray-Ban sunglasses repair. Using state-of-the-art technology, these firms can often repair your Ray-Ban sunglasses to such a high standard you wouldn't even know they had been broken.