Our Trans-Atlantic neighbors are celebrating the 4th of July this weekend and to honour their Independence Day we’ve put together a handy guide on the greatest All-American classic frames and US brands around!
America, we salute you!
Ray Ban are possibly the most popular and instantly recognizable eyewear brand on the planet. Hailed as one of the Coolest Brands in 2013 and celebrating over 75 years of success; Ray Ban still stand today as one of the most innovative, stylish and effortlessly fashionable brands around. Established in 1937, their first triumph was the Aviator; designed for Pilots in the United States Army Air Corps. They trademarked the name and mass produced these timeless shades on a huge scale.
Though the Aviators fell in and out of favour over the years, Ray Ban followed up their efforts with the now iconic Wayfarers and Clubmaster designs which took hold in the 1950s and ’60s. Endorsed by almost every celebrity, Ray Ban became synonymous will the idea of ‘cool’ and a cultural signifier of the rebellious fashion-forward that evolved with each generation. Featured in films, worn by pop stars and sported by celebrities today on social media, Ray Ban are a force to be contended with. With an ever increasing range of colours, styles and designs Ray Ban are one of America’s finest exports across the globe.
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The Mirror Lens
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The Caravan frames
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Jackie O Frames
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Ray Ban Kids
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From an initial range of men’s ties back in 1967, Ralph Lauren has grown in to one of the most recognisable, well-loved and critically acclaimed fashion brands in the world. Today, Ralph Lauren fuses classic, preppy style with a sports casual look that has become almost synonymous with the brand. Reaching impossible heights of popularity in the 1990s and eventually making a comeback in the late 2000s, Ralph Lauren define timeless classic American style with their signature colours of red, white and blue.
When motocross enthusiast Jim Jannard started making goggles for motocross riders from his garage, little did he know that his tiny operation would spawn one of the most successful eyewear brands in the world. But thanks to Jannard’s patented use of new techniques and materials he achieved this feat in just 35 years. Defining performance eyewear at its best, Oakley have developed state-of-the-art eyeewear technology including innovative lenses, lightweight frames, ski and snow goggles.
Of course they have also led the pack when it comes to glasses for golfing, cycling, running and surfing; not to mention a fashionable lifestyle range such as the Frogskin frame which became popular in the 1980s, the Shaun White Holbrook design or the super-cool Garage Rock collection. Crafted for those with an extreme, active lifestyle, Oakley lead the way in American sporting innovation that is sought after in every corner of the globe.
New York born founder Thomas Jacob Hilfiger famously ditched Calvin Klein in favour of building his fashion empire of Tommy Hilfiger back in 1982. Not just known for Tommy Jeans or their range of scents that took off to inexplicable heights in the Nineties, Tommy Hilfiger came up with a classic and traditional feel for their eyewear collection that honoured the US brands’ idea of ‘fashion’. Featuring the signature colours of red, white and blue; their collection incorporates preppy yet sports-friendly styles and a pared down silhouettes that haven’t aged a day since the ’80s. Tommy Hilfiger power full steam ahead into SS14 with their youthful, vibrant shades ideal for a summer in the Hamptons.
New York born and bred, Michael Kors is one of America’s shining stars within the fashion industry. Launching his first fashion collection thirty years ago, Kors initially specialised in womenswear which featured in many major department stores such as Macys and Bloomingdales. Previously working for French luxury brand Celine, Kors left to pursue his own brand as wanted to reinvent American fashion for the contemporary style lover. Bold shapes, vibrant colours and unique detail certainly define the Michael Kors brand and when it comes to cultivating the most beautiful fashion accessories on the market, Michael Kors are ahead of the game.
Shwood are a brand which are entirely unique due to their use of raw hardwood to create their sunglasses. Hand-crafted in their hometown of Portland, Oregon Shwood have moved from manipulating rich oaks, ash and maple into on trend but timeless frames to utilizing titanium and recovered materials from shipwrecks and used up baseball bats in order to create their innovative eyewear collection. Shwood truly take things back to nature and evoke images of the great American outdoors.
Now a multinational corporation who sponsors high profile sporting events, teams and atheletes, Nike had humble beginnings at the University of Portland in 1964 under the moniker Blue Ribbon Sports. Track athlete Philip Knight and his coach Bill Bowerman originally operated the company as a distributor of Japanese trainers. The first pair of Nike trainers ever made were worn by Knight and he went on to win two Gold Medals at the 1960s Olympics. Hard to believe that over five decades later, Nike are the most sought after sneakers in the world – not to mention their consistent range of men and womens sportswear, equipment, athletic training footwear and of course, sunglasses. Nike put dynamic shapes, innovative technology, premium quality materials, on-trend design and vibrant colours at the forefront of their manifesto creating and cultivating a look that is completely unique to Nike. Their eyewear range is no exception.
Calvin Klein sunglasses blend technological sophistication, fine craftsmanship and comfort with chic contemporary styling. Designed with fun loving, vibrant, fashion conscious individuals in mind they define wholesome American style with a high fashion edge. In 1968, Bronx born Klein and good friend Barry Schwartz joined forces to set up the fashion label that would become Calvin Klein. Beginning with a small coat shop in New York City’s York Hotel, ut didn’t take long for Klein to establish himself thanks to a chance encounter with a coat buyer from iconic lifestyle department store Bonwit Teller. Blown away by the selection of trench coats the Calvin Klein shop had on offer, the buyer placed an order for $50,000. The rest, as they say, is history…
Building his career from working at world-famous fashion houses such as Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, Tom Ford made the decision to cultivate his own brand with a unique, extravagant style that takes inspiration from New York’s Studio 54. Ford is king when it comes to accessories and his instantly recognisable frames have been spotted on celebrities far and wide. Constantly reinventing, constantly improve and constantly becoming a chameleon towards current trends and classic styles Tom Ford is the name on every fashion lovers’ lips when it comes to luxury eyewear.