The Evolution of Eyewear: When Sunglasses Became a Fashion Accessory

sunglasses became a fashion accessory

Sunglasses for modern people have become commonplace and familiar. We can no longer imagine an everyday outfit without a pair of sunglasses that complement the image and emphasize the individuality of a person. But this was not always the case, although it is known that the first sunglasses were invented almost in prehistoric times. The appearance of sunglasses was dictated by necessity – first goggles helped the inhabitants of the far north to protect their eyes from the blinding whiteness of the snow. Those homemade models of sunnies completely covered the eyes, leaving only a narrow slit for viewing.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, the development of the automotive industry served as an impetus for the appearance of fashion for sunglasses. First aviation, and then various water sports, created a demand and a need for special protective glasses that would save the eyes from the too-bright sun, dust, and wind. Racers, pilots, machinists – they were the first to make sunglasses a coveted cool accessory that matched the spirit of the times. Everyone wanted to move fast and fly as high as possible, and wearing goggles to protect against glare and wind became a necessity.

The glasses of the 1920s did not differ in particular variability: they were round models, mostly in a dark celluloid frame. The Aviator model was the first variation of sunglasses that was different from the classic forms. However, Aviator sunglasses went on sale after 1938, until that time they were available only to pilots. The famous teardrop model was designed specifically for US Air Force pilots. Aviation and everything related to the romance of flying was incredibly popular in those days and Aviator sunglasses instantly became in demand both among men and women.

This masculine form of sunglasses was popular with women until the 1950s when elegant, glamorous and feminine Cat-eye models and Oversized oval versions came into fashion. At the same time, the famous brand Ray-Ban launched the Wayfarer-style eyewear, which, thanks to its simple, clean lines and comfort, has become a classic. In the sixties, sunglasses have become a status accessory, an attribute of the elite, and an item that personified glamor and active leisure in the sun, like playing golf, tennis, or lying in a sun lounger by the pool. Hollywood stars in the movies and in everyday life have popularized sunglasses as a fashionable and indispensable item of style.

Today, connoisseurs of quality and style opt for vintage sunglasses and frames from the collection of Oliver Peoples – a Hollywood-based eyewear brand, whose design combines elements of cinema, fashion, art, and music and reminds us of that golden era. Modern sunglasses, including the classic Aviator, Wayfarer, Cat-eye, Browliner or Panto frames, are undoubtedly first and foremost a fashion accessory that emphasizes the individuality of its owner. The world’s leading fashion manufacturers sell licenses for the production of glasses with their logos. Hundreds of designers around the world are working on creating fashionable models, delivering new ideas and trends to the frame market every season. Fashion changes and the evolution of eyewear goes on.

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