Ray-Ban sunglasses have always been popular, and perhaps part of the reason for this is the technology behind the brand. Ray-Ban was developed back in 1937, because the US Army Air Corps wanted sunglasses to protect aviators from glare. They also had to look good because military pilots cared about those things, and the Air Corps wanted to use pictures of pilots in sunglasses as recruiting tools. The pilots loved the Ray-Ban design when they first saw it, as it used anti-glare lens which protect the eyes from UV rays while also using lightweight gold-plated metal for the frame. They simply looked cool as well.
These were the famed “Aviator” sunglasses, and you’ll see a lot of military pictures with people wearing them. Among the most iconic pics are those of General MacArthur, especially the one he wore when he landed on a beach in the Philippines in order to fulfill his promise to return. Ray-ban also launched the Wayfarer, which became popular too especially when Audrey Hepburn never seemed to take it off in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
But there is “popular”, and then there’s 1980s popular. There’s a difference, and Tom Cruise was that difference. Of all the celebrities who have worn the iconic brand, it was Tom Cruise who made Ray-Ban a mega-success to this day. Ray-Ban was worn by countless celebs, and has been shown on numerous product placements in TV shows and movies. But Tom Cruise made the Wayfarer and the Aviators uber cool.
Ray-Ban in Risky Business
Tom Cruise’s first big hit was Risky Business, where he played a character that was dear to the hearts of many teenage boys. He had a prostitute for a girlfriend, so he actually started to run a prostitute business himself. Now what kind of guy would say no to that? Even the most famous scene in which Cruise sang along to Bob Seger is still remembered today.
But the movie also caused a huge surge in sales for Wayfarers, because it was Cruise’s trademark look on the film. Even the movie poster had him grinning widely while looking over the lens of the Wayfarers. It was a defining moment for the iconic Ray-Ban design, and its popularity continues to this day.
Ray-Ban in Top Gun
The success of Risky Business, however, was nothing compared to the huge blockbuster that was Top Gun. It was a worldwide smash hit, and it catapulted Cruise to the top of the Hollywood A-list forever. It was a love story with Tom Cruise as a naval fighter pilot, and his Aviators were prominent in the movie. Soon just about every guy in the world wanted a pair of Aviators of his own. The movie was so effective as a selling tool that the US Navy fighter program received a lot more applications, and the Air Force even benefited as well.
Today, the Aviators and the Wayfarers are still the most popular sunglasses in the Ray-Ban lineup, courtesy of Tom Cruise and two 1980s movies!