2012 marked the 75th anniversary of Ray-Ban, the iconic sunglasses.
To celebrate this event, Ray-Ban sunglasses launched their 'Never Hide' campaign, which uses images inspired by pivotal moments in American history, each one 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 to have eye protection that would cut out a lot of the sun's glare. The US Marines Corps quickly adopted the Ray-Ban aviator as their sunglasses of choice, and the aviator soon became a must-have fashion accessory.
Milestones in the company's history are many as Ray-Ban grew into the successful fashion brand we know today.
German immigrant John Jacob Bausch opened a small business in New York in 1853 selling optical goods with financial backing from Henry Lomb.
Bausch and Lomb began importing and manufacturing eyeglasses and optical instruments in 1863, diversifying into photographic lenses.
In 1902 Bauch's son William Bausch found a way to make lenses directly from molten glass, by-passing the grinding and polishing process and cutting costs.
The First World War triggered a huge demand from the military for optical instruments, including gunsights, periscopes and searchlights. B&L was tasked to provide any-glare lenses for US pilots and developed the famous Aviator lenses in 1938.
The company grew a worldwide reputation for luxury sunglasses worn by many celebrities, but in 1971 B&L branched out into soft contact lenses, and 10 years later they stopped making prescription lenses and frames.
By 1986 they moved into the contact lens solution market and in 1998 sold its eyewear division to the Italian-based Luxottica company.
The 'Never Hide' slogan was a throwback to the 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. Handholding among men may not have such a shock impact these days, but homosexuality was illegal in the US in the 1940s. This image certainly exemplifies the 'Never Hide' slogan and expresses the 'edgy' aspect of much of the brand's promotional material.
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 a shocked expression. 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.
All of 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.