If you’re reading this blog, then you’re perhaps trying to work out whether your next pair of Aviator sunglasses should be authentic Ray-Bans — the original designers — or from another top eyewear designer. This blog-post will look at the history of Aviators, and it will compare a few different Aviator designs from Ray-Ban and other big designers.
The History of Aviators
It’s difficult to imagine the world of eyewear fashion without Aviator sunglasses. The top-heavy design has an unforgettable aesthetic that was first developed by Bausch & Lomb, who later founded Ray-Ban. Bausch & Lomb were asked to develop sunglasses for the US air force that protected their pilots’ eyes from the sun, especially from sunlight when they flew above the clouds. The iconic Aviator design was developed to cover more of the wearer’s eyes than any available sunglasses in 1936; it was a happy coincidence that they looked amazing and the fashion world couldn’t get enough of them!
Aviator and Aviator-style Sunglasses
The origin of Aviator sunglasses is connected to the origin of Ray-Ban, as both were developed by Bausch & Lomb, and Ray-Ban was in fact founded to be the commercial sunglasses brand for Aviators and other designer sunglasses from Bausch & Lomb. This means that only Ray-Ban can or should call their sunglasses Aviators; it is their design and their brand. However, any big fan of eyewear fashion will know that virtually every big designer has their own interpretation of the iconic Aviator design. For anyone other than Ray-Ban, however, they have to say that their sunglasses are ‘aviator-style’ instead of simply calling them Aviators. However, not all sunglasses brands remember to differentiate between authentic Ray-Ban Aviators and Aviator-style sunglasses…
As you might expect from the brand that developed the style, Ray-Ban’s Aviators are extremely high quality and look amazing. Ray-Ban is widely regarded as the top designer eyewear brand in the world, and it earned this prestige and success by putting a lot of emphasis on using high-quality materials and producing glasses and sunglasses that can take a beating. If you’re very hard on your sunglasses, then Ray-Ban is probably the best choice for you, as their Aviators are most likely to stay in one piece.
Another good reason to buy Ray-Ban Aviators is that the brand really does produce some of the most impressive and elegant Aviator designs. This is hardly surprising given the brand’s resources as the biggest eyewear designer in the world, but it’s also not surprising because Ray-Ban has had the most time to experiment with its Aviator styles. However, as Ray-Ban’s Aviators tap into the brand’s history, the designs are often more old-fashioned/vintage than other eyewear designers’ attempts.
That is not to say that Ray-Ban hasn’t produced a huge range of different Aviator designs. If you want to browse through different Ray-Ban Aviators, opt for one of the larger online sunglasses retailers, like Red Hot Sunglasses in the UK. The range of Ray-Ban Aviators at RHS is huge, giving you a nice selection to choose from.
Tom Ford Aviator-Style Sunglasses
Tom Ford Aviator-style sunglasses at RHS
Tom Ford is one of the biggest designers in the eyewear industry at the minute, and he loves experimenting with Aviator-style sunglasses. Tom Ford is an American who has spent his entire career working in the European fashion industry, serving as Creative Director for both Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent before starting up is own fashion label. Ford’s American heritage no doubt inspired him to play with the distinctly American Aviator sunglasses style — but Ford’s experience working in European fashion has given him a different aesthetic sense. So, Tom Ford’s Aviator-style sunglasses can often be viewed as the perfect mixture of American and European aesthetics.
Tom Ford’s Aviator-style sunglasses often have thinner, more elegant frames than the classic Ray-Ban style, and Ford has given himself plenty of artistic licenses to experiment with different rim shapes held together with the classic Aviator-style double bridge. If you already have a pair of classic Aviators and you’re looking for something a little different, then Tom Ford may be the brand for you. Once, again, Red Hot Sunglasses have a huge collection of Tom Ford Aviator-style sunglasses to choose from.
CAZAL Aviator-Style Sunglasses
Aviator-style sunglasses from CAZAL at RHS
CAZAL is a huge name in the eyewear industry and has been since it was founded in 80s by designer Carri Zaloni — the brand actually takes its name from the first three letters of its founder’s first name and surname. Zaloni tapped into the 80s’ sense of opulence, designing statement pieces ideal for people who did not want to blend into the crowd.
If you browse through a range of CAZAL’s sunglasses online you’ll notice a distinct hip-hop aesthetic. Despite Zaloni’s Austrian upbringing, it was America’s hip-hop scene that embraced his stunning, extravagant designs. Today, stars like Rihanna, Amber Rose, and Rick Ross are often spotted wearing CAZALs. With CAZAL’s approach to Aviator-style sunglasses, you’ll find lots of geometric lines and sharp angles on the rims, turning the traditionally smooth lines into hexagonal shapes. You’ll also find plenty of gold and silver elements and embellishments. You’ll also notice complex shapes and features in the bridges and on the arms. CAZALs take Aviator-style sunglasses so far away from their origin that you could be forgiven for calling them something else altogether. However, the top-heavy design is still distinct, despite CAZAL’s innovations.
CAZAL sunglasses are extremely high quality, but they are also more expensive than most Ray-Ban and Tom Ford Aviators. Also, one of the best things about Aviators for many people is how casual they look, and there is something very luxurious about CAZAL’s larger-than-life designs that makes them great for special occasions, but not for day-to-day wear.
That’s all we have time for. I hope this article helped a few readers learn a little more about Aviators and about Ray-Ban, Tom Ford, and CAZAL. Objectively speaking, there are no best pair Aviator sunglasses, as each brand brings something new to the design. But these three are undeniably at the top of the pile.
Read also: How to Choose the Right Fashion Accessories