Peter Farran

Design Classic Number 39: Ray-Ban Wayfarer Sunglasses

In Design Classics, Eyewear on July 7, 2013 at 8:09 pm

Rayban Wayfarer SunglassesImage by twentymindsomething

Wayfarers Win Favor Since the Fifties


Creator: Raymond Stegeman
Created: 1956
Origin: Rochester, New York, USA

Well, I’ve seen enough Rayban Wayfarers this Summer alone to merit a few lines in their honor. Rayban Wayfarers are slightly angular, dark lensed sunglasses with similarly dark, often tortoise-shell effect moulded frames. They were originally designed as a more fashionable alternative to the more functional driving and pilot models available previously. The angled, teardrop shape almost certainly takes it’s style cues from the increasingly streamlined trends in industrial of the era.

The frames of Wayfarers are injection moulded, an always prestigious material at the time, which gives rise to a more solid weighty look than the wire frames that preceded. After enjoying modest initial success in the late 1950s, Wayfarers become progressively more popular as they were worn by celebrities and appeared in movies, throughout the 80s, 90s and beyond.

Rayban Wayfarers, after being made for many years in the USA are now made by hand in Italy, in line with their prestigious and charismatic Ray-ban Wayfarer image. Whilst entrepreneurs Bausch and Lomb were behind the production of these truly iconic sunglasses optical designer Raymond Stegeman still takes credit for the bold form and use of materials and processes which has proved so successful throughout the years.


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