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Monthly Archives: June 2016

  • A Brief History of Sunglasses

    The Evolution of Sunglasses

    From humble beginnings out in the furthest reaches of the tundra, to the red carpet, sunglasses have been around well before the advent of modern civilization. Over the years they served many different purposes, from reducing glare, to helping people with syphilis. This is a brief overview of how sunglasses became what they are today.

    Origins

    The advent of what we consider “sunglasses” didn’t come about until right around the early 20th century. In prehistoric times however, the Inuit people had a tool which were predecessors to our modern day fashion piece. They are referred to as “snow googles,” and they were designed to reduce the wearers exposure to the harsh light of the sun reflecting off the snow. Usually constructed of walrus ivory, these “glasses” were primarily used by hunters on the tundra. They have the same basic shape of modern day ski goggles, except there were no glass on them, only two thin slits for which to see through. These slits helped reduce the amount of exposure one had to the glaring sunlight and enabled much more visibility.

    One example of Inuit style snow goggles One example of Inuit style snow goggles

    In the northern tundra, snow reflects off the snow and can make it very difficult for people to see effectively. This is especially concerning when prehistoric hunters were out trying to hunt dangerous woolly mammoths and other such animals, that demand the hunter have maximum visibility if they wish to be successful in their endeavor. These snow goggles are very crude, but extremely effective given the time period.

    This is most likely what Nero's emerald eyepiece. The real Emerald was lost after his reign as Emperor ended This is most likely what Nero's emerald eyepiece looked like. The real Emerald was lost after his reign as Emperor ended

    During the reign of the Roman Empire, it is said that the Emperor Nero would often watch gladiator fights through what was essentially an emerald spectacle. Whether this actually helped him view the battles, or merely for aesthetic purposes is unknown. This would be the first instance in history where “sunglasses” are associated with fame and wealth, and this association persists to modern times. In China there are reports of glasses with crystal lenses being used to conceal the facial expression of a judge who is questioning a witness. Even today, it is common place for sunglasses to be used to conceal one’s facial expression, like in a game of poker.

    Early Modern Developments

    An example of James Ayscough's tinted spectacles. An example of James Ayscough's tinted spectacles.

    The mid-18th century brought about another precursor to modern day sunglasses, and was introduced by a man named James Ayscough. Unlike others before him, he was not looking to combat glare from the sun, or snow blindness, rather he sought to improve one’s vision in very specific ways. By using blue and green tints on regular eyeglasses, he was attempting to correct vision impairments for people who could not see certain objects very well. He claimed it would render all objects more “pleasant” to observe, but in reality they most likely just further distorted the wearers vision.

    Certainly rather odd looking by todays standards, these glasses were all the rage for some of the wealthier people who had Syphilis during the 19th century Certainly rather odd looking by today's standards, these glasses were all the rage for some of the wealthier people who had Syphilis during the 19th century

    Around the turn of the 20th century, tinted glasses were starting to be purchased by people who had Syphilis. Syphilis will normally make one more susceptible to light and glare and these tinted glasses would help with varying degrees of success. The biggest downside was that they were very expensive, which meant most people couldn’t even use them anyway.

    Becoming the Norm

    Sunglasses in their modern form began to gain popularity in the 1920s and it was primarily because of movie stars. People in film at that time were known for wearing sunglasses, and it was thought to be as a means to conceal their identity from the public. The alternative theory is that the glasses were used to conceal their bloodshot eyes that were due to very bright arc lamps that were used to film back during that time. Regardless of the true reason, the association with celebrities and sunglasses still persists today.

    Early 1920's sunglasses Early 1920's sunglasses

    The popularity of sunglasses really didn’t explode until the 30’s, brought about by a man named Sam Foster. He produced very inexpensive sunglasses made from celluloid to be sold on beaches across America, although Atlantic City, NJ was one of the foremost locations for this development. By the late 30’s, millions had been sold and they became a must have fashion accessory for both men and women.

    Foster's sunglasses ad circa 1930's Foster's sunglasses ad circa 1930's

    It was around this time that polarized lenses also were developed and became very popular with fisherman because it helped them see through the water better. More expensive than their non-polarized counterparts, they did not sell quite as well, but were a must have for anyone who enjoyed spending time near water.

    Today and Beyond

    More popular than ever, sunglasses are now a permanent part of our society. This is especially true now that doctors are realizing the true dangers of UV rays, and that sunglasses should always be worn when exposed to bright sun. Thousands of different models are available to fit every sort of application one might find themselves in, from the beach to outer space. Numerous different grades and guidelines exist to help the consumer choice a pair that will adequately protect their eyes.

    Currently there are developments that will put LCD Smart technology embedded in sunglasses. This will allow the wearer to use their smartphone or other electronic device to stream video directly to the lenses of the sunglasses. This is a controversial topic as of right now as issues with the platform are numerous. One of which is the device further distracting the wearer from things like driving or even walking. Nevertheless, this is certainly a step or two ahead of using Inuit snow goggles!

    By Peter Cusumano

  • Top Sunglass Styles For Summer 2016

    If you’re in the market for a new pair of shades this summer, you are most likely overwhelmed by the sheer number of different options available. These are the top 3 styles that EyeCare Universe believes to be the hottest trends this summer.

    CAT-EYE

    Cara Delevingne with her Cat-Eye eyeglasses Cara Delevingne with her Cat-Eye eyeglasses
    Game of Thrones star, Sophie Turner with her Cat-Eye Sunglasses Game of Thrones star, Sophie Turner with her Cat-Eye Sunglasses

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Whether we’re talking about sunglasses or eyeglasses, the Cat-Eye style of glasses are what the under 25 crowd in Hollywood is wearing this summer.

    Kate Spade NY Genette/S 56mm 0JJZ Z9 Kate Spade NY Genette/S 56mm 0JJZ Z9
    Juicy Couture 572/S 55mm 0ETD Y6 Juicy Couture 572/S 55mm 0ETD Y6
    Marc Jacobs MJ465/S 57mm 0807 VK Marc Jacobs MJ465/S 57mm 0807 VK

     

    Mirrored Aviators

     

    Hilary Duff wearing her new Ray-Ban 3025 Aviators with the "Steel" mirror lens. Hilary Duff wearing her new Ray-Ban 3025 Aviators with the "Steel" mirror lens.
    Ray-Ban 3025 with the green mirror lens Ray-Ban 3025 with the green mirror lens
    Zac Efron Zac Efron

    Aviators are big, especially the mirrored variants from Ray-Ban. Girls and guys can enjoy the wide variety of colors and size Ray-Ban has to order. They are functional as well, offering excellent UV protection!

    Ray Ban RB3025 55mm 029/30 Ray Ban RB3025 55mm 029/30
    Ray Ban RB3025 55mm 112/19 Ray Ban RB3025 55mm 112/19

     

     

     

     

     

     

    GUCCI

    Kanye West wearing his Gucci Sunglasses Kanye West wearing his Gucci Sunglasses
    Audrina Patridge Audrina Patridge

    Gucci is big this year for both men and women. The biggest names in Hollywood seem to be sticking to the aviator frame that Gucci had revamped and modernized.

     

    Gucci 4282S 0OPZ Brown Havana 58mm HA Gucci 4282S 0OPZ Brown Havana 58mm HA
    Gucci 4282S 024S Gold White 58mm J6 Gucci 4282S 024S Gold White 58mm J6

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  • From the Airstrip to Venice Beach: A Brief History of Aviator Sunglasses

    One of the most popular styles of sunglasses, not only in America but around the world, the aviator style of glasses has a deep rooted connection with people for its classic and timeless appeal. This is a brief history of where they originated from, and how they got to where they are today.

    The famous 3025 model Ray-Bans The famous 3025 model Ray-Bans

    Origins

    The year is 1936, war is on the horizon and the army is looking to improve many different aspects of its equipment. This included things like new infantry rifles, more powerful artillery, and equipment for pilots. Aviators (the navy’s term for pilot) had been complaining about intense sun glare giving them headaches and altitude sickness while in the cockpit. Bausch & Lomb got the contract to produce these glasses under their subsidiary company Ray-Ban.

    The design was pretty straightforward: large dark reflective lenses, a wire frame that hooks behind the ears, and a double bridge between the lenses. All of this done with pilots in mind, making sure these glasses were practical above all else, as lives were literally depended on it.  The army loved them, especially General MacArthur, whose famous photo depicted below started the initial public interest in the product.

    800px-DouglasMacArthur This photo of General Douglas MacArthur, circa WWII, is credited with being the "public debut" for the aviator frame

    Rise to Fame

    When the glasses became available to the public in 1937, they weren’t very popular with civilians. After that photo was taken however, the public certainly took interest and the glasses began to sell. In the 1960’s there was a shift away from plastic rims to metal and this helped propel the old war dogs to mainstream use. Popular throughout the 70’s, Ray-Ban was hit with a rude awakening in the early 80’s when all types of designer sunglasses took a serious hit in sales. This can be attributed to the sort of “anti-disco movement,” that was catching on all over the country. Being that the glasses were heavily embedded in disco culture, they too were receiving backlash. Think of the famous film “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” where there are numerous instances where “disco sucks” can be seen spray-painted or written down someplace.

    This 1986 film about detective Marrion "Cobra' Cobretti is known for chessy 80's lines, but nevertheless is remembered fondly by many who saw it back in the day. This 1986 film about detective Marion "Cobra" Cobretti is known for cheesy 80's lines, but nevertheless is remembered fondly by many who saw the film back in the day.

    Recognizing this trend, in 1982 Bausch & Lomb decided to spend millions of dollars in a product placement deal, which means Ray-Bans will be featured in movies and TV shows alike. While this campaign was moderately successful at first, it wasn’t until the year 1986 that Ray-Ban would truly get the boost it so desperately needed. The films Top Gun and Cobra both prominently featured these aviators, and the public responded with a 40% increase in sales by the end of the year. These two films undoubtedly saved, not only the Aviator design, but Ray-Ban itself. Unfortunately, though, the 1990’s brought about a backlash of 1980’s culture, which Ray-Ban was now associated with. This eventually led to Ray-Ban being sold to Luxottica in 1999. The next wave of popularity came about in the 2000’s when aviators began to lose that 80’s stigma associated with them and sales rose again.

    In the role that made Tom Cruise a Hollywood star, Pete "Maverick" Mitchell is a cocky, hotshot fighter pilot who is seen by his superiors as talented yet reckless. In the role that made Tom Cruise a Hollywood star, Pete "Maverick" Mitchell is a cocky, hotshot fighter pilot who is seen by his superiors as talented, yet reckless.

    Today

    It is clear that the aviator line was very dependent on popular culture, and what consumers perceived as cool. One day they were in style and everyone loved them, the next they were lame and outdated. This is the way the fashion world works, but the thing about the aviator line is that they were never truly intended to be a ‘fashion statement’. These glasses were designed for a practical application, to keep the glare of the sun out of pilots eyes so they can fly more effectively and in this writer’s opinion that underlying fact never goes out of style. This is also coming from someone who wore them regardless if they were ‘cool’ or not. If they are cool enough for General MacArthur, they are definitely cool enough for me.

     

    The very popular Jackass series of films can attributed to the revitilization of Ray-Ban aviators, as Johnny Knoxville is frequently seen wearing his pair while filming. The very popular Jackass series of films can attributed to the revitilization of Ray-Ban aviators, as Johnny Knoxville is frequently seen wearing his pair while filming.
  • Best Sunglasses in Movie History

    Sunglasses have made their mark on Hollywood by being a way for a director to show off a certain trait about a character, or in some cases define who a character is. They are a common prop in movies and usually go unnoticed, unless they are somehow involved in the plot or they catch someone’s eye. This article will focus on the best of the best, sunglasses that even the average film buff is sure to recognize. These unique standouts help make the character in question who they are and provide a way for the average person to connect with these movies.

    1. They Live (1988): Nada’s Knockoff Ray Ban’s

    This movie is so 80’s it hurts: Tough guy Nada (played by Roddy Piper) discovers a pair of cheap looking glasses that allow him to discover aliens that are living among us. Looking past this relatively cheesy plot, this movie remains a cult classic even to this day. The movie itself speaks to a segment of people, who feel a lack of freedom and a sense that they are being controlled by some type of “Big Brother.” If the book 1984 and Rambo: First Blood Part 2 had a baby it would be this movie.

    The entire film hinges on the glasses, because without them, Nada wouldn’t be able to distinguish friend from foe. The glasses themselves were purposely meant to look cheap, with their plastic rim and so on, so as to look like nothing special when Nada was wearing them in the film. Despite all this, the glasses were indeed the star of the show, and besides how could a movie that revolves around a specific pair of glasses not make the list?

    picbest sunglasses movie pics

     

    1. Top Gun (1986): Pete “Maverick” Mitchell’s Ray Ban 3025 Large Aviators

    In the summer of 1986 the coolest occupation one could have was U.S. Navy fighter pilot. This film, about hot shot fighter pilot, call sign “Maverick,” was a huge blockbuster success and helped propel Tom Cruise to A-list Hollywood. The movie was released in the heat of the Cold War and gave many young men a revived sense of patriotism and prompted many to enlist in the Navy soon afterwards.

    There were many, however, that were more interested in getting the aviators that Cruise was sporting throughout the movie. Aviators were widely used by pilots since WWII, but hadn’t really caught on with the general public. This film changed all that and according to Time Magazine, sales for the Ray Ban 3025 Large Aviators shot up 40% in the weeks following the movie’s release. To this day the glasses evoke images of fighters taking off into the sunsets, beach volleyball, and a general 80’s vibe.

    tg tpg2

    1. Cobra (1986): Lt. Marion ‘Cobra’ Cobretti’s Ray Ban RB 3030 Outdoorsman

    This 1986 police action movie starring Sylvester Stallone, is known for over the top action, explosions, and cheesy one liners.  The plot follows along the lines of: Bad boy cop has to play by his own rules if he wants to catch the bad guy. Despite this storyline sounding a bit played out today, the movie remains as fun and entertaining as ever.

    Cobra’s style was very 1950’s, as he generally dressed the part and drove a ’50 mercury coupe throughout the majority of the film. He also rocked a custom pair of snake grips on his .45 auto, and not to mention his killer aviators. Indoors, Outdoors, nighttime: nothing stopped the Lt. from sporting his beloved shades everywhere he went. The very dark intimidating look was exactly what Cobra needed on the mean streets of L.A. Much like Top Gun the movie boosted sales on the then stagnant line of Ray Ban’s, due to people looking to capture at least a little bit of the Cobra style.

    cb cb1

    1. Terminator (1984): Terminator/ T-800 Model 101’s Gargoyle Sunglasses

    One of the most popular movies of all time, about a cyborg (Arnold Schwarzenegger) sent from the future to kill the mother of the leader of the human resistance against the machines. The film spawned many sequels and is referenced and quoted constantly. The idea of ‘machines’ taking over the human race is something that keeps people up at night, especially after this movie’s release.

    In the film, after the Terminator is shot in the eye, thereby exposing some of its machinery and wiring. It then uses the Gargoyle sunglasses to cover up the exposed metal and circuitry, which gives him a much more intimidating and cold blooded look. Day or night the glasses never leave his face, as he carries on his mission to change the future. Movie goers who wanted to capture some of this intimidating look tried to get their hands on sunglasses that had that same ‘Terminator’ look.

    t2t1

    1. Risky Business (1983): Joel Goodsen’s Ray-Ban 2140 Wayfarers

    This 1983 coming of age film was Tom Cruise’s first big hit. Joel was a kid who did everything his parents told him until he became friendly with a female escort and got involved in some (you guessed it) risky business. The classic scene of cruise sliding down the hall wearing nothing but his underwear, button-down shirt, and Wayfarers, has spawned many “Risky Business” themed college parties where participates dress the part and go out wearing what Joel was in the movie.

    Pictured right on the poster for the film is the iconic photo of a young Tom Cruise looking over the pair of Wayfarers, which are the glasses he wore throughout the film. This movie re-kindled the public’s interest in this style of glasses, that were very popular in the 50’s, and firmly established the wayfarers as THE sunglasses to have in the 80’s.

    rb2rb

    1. Scarface (1983): Tony Montana’s Vintage Carrera Aviators

    The early 80’s gangster movie about the story of one man’s rise to power and eventual fall, has captivated generations of movie goers. The story represents a sort of alternate American dream, in which one obtains power through violence and illegal activities. Despite the character of Montana being a ‘bad guy,’ Pacino plays him in such a way that forces the audience to feel for him despite all his faults.

    For people that enjoy a nice pair of sunglasses, Tony Montana’s stick out as unusual and rather symbolic of his character. These vintage Carrera’s are unique to Tony, as Tony is unique to America. They are a rather different design with a unique shading as well, which helps to make Tony stand out even more.

    sf1 sf2

    1. X-Men (2000): Cyclops’ Red Shaded X Metal Juliet Oakley’s

    Before the Superhero craze became what it is today, there was X-Men at the start of it all. People with extraordinary powers are considered ‘mutants’ and generally distrusted by the rest of the population and we see how Wolverine and the other X- Men find out where they fit in. The film went on to have many more sequels and spin offs, most recently X-Men Apocalypse.

    Scott Summers (aka. Cyclopes) has the ability to shoot lasers out of his eyes that can cut through his foes and whatever else he wanted, the problem is the lasers constantly fire if his eyes are open. Enter: Oakley’s customized X Metal Juliet sunglasses. The lenses had to be red shaded, as no other shade would work to hold back cyclopes laser beam, other than that they were pretty much off the shelf. These ‘superhero shades’ were a hit with anyone that wishes they were part of Charles Xavier’s famous school.

    x2x1

    1. The Big Lebowski (1998): Walter Sobchak’s Yellow Tinted Ray-Ban’s

    Originally considered a failure in the box office, The Big Lebowski went on to achieve the status of one of the defining cult classics of the 1990’s. “The Dude” is your typical slacker who gets in trouble with a case of mistaken identity and enlists the help of some of his bowling alley buddies to help him out.

    John Goodman’s character in the movie is a no-nonsense, semi-unstable Vietnam veteran, who is anxious to get involved when The Dude needs his help. In the movie he sports a pair of yellow tinted aviators that are kind of an odd ball type of shades, perfect for the oddball character Goodman plays. These glasses are different than your run of the mill aviators, but to the many die-hard fans of the movie, they are an absolute must have.

    bl bl1

    1. The Hangover (2009): Alan/ Baby Carlos’s Demi Tortoise Nylon BluBlockers

    This 2009 comedy was an instant success, depicting the struggles of three groomsmen getting too drunk and lose their, soon to be married, friend Doug in Las Vegas. The story resonates with everyone who secretly craves to head down to Vegas and have a night they will never remember. The movie had two sequels, although funny, weren’t able to capture the magic of the first film.

    Early on in the movie Alan (Zach Galifianakis) comes upon a baby in his hotel, which he immediately takes in as his own. With the baby rocking a pair of his cheap Tortoise sunglasses, the image of Alan carrying the baby around in a harness is absolutely priceless, with many fans even going out and purchasing sweatshirts that depict this. The glasses themselves are relatively cheap and rather odd looking, which might be the reason the director choose Alan to wear them.

    ho ho1

    1. Dirty Harry (1971): Detective Harry Callahan’s Ray-Ban 4089 Baloramas

    Dirty Harry (Clint Eastwood) set the stage for every cop movie made after its release. The then newish concept of a detective using any means necessary to crack the case, is something that is often imitated, but never duplicated. This film was so well received it went on to have 4 sequels made after it, with Eastwood staring in every one.

    With the exception of his famous .44 Magnum Smith and Wesson, his sunglasses were one of his more popular accessories. The Balorama style was perfect for Clint’s character as it is a very tough, no BS type sunglass and that fits him very well. The style remains popular today, as does the man himself.

    dh dh2

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