Aviator sunglasses take off
Aviator shades, also known as “pilot’s glasses” in the early days of their appearance on the market, were actually created for pilots in 1936. Their lighter, sleeker, and more elegant design was developed for military use to replace the less than fashionable flight goggles.
Out of the military and into pop culture
After World War II, aviator sunglasses became some of the first eyewear designs to gain mainstream popularity. Associated early on with adventure and heroism, they were marketed as sporting equipment with “real scientific glare protection”. Soon, celebrities like Elvis Presley – who embodied a mixture of pop culture appeal and military glamour – adopted the style, quickly propelling the aviator to new heights.
The aviator frame, adorned
With the 1970s came more playful versions of the aviator, with colourful frames, gradient lenses, and rhinestoned temples. From feminist icon Gloria Steinem to free-spirited singer Stevie Nicks and rocker Debbie Harry, it seems that every fashion season brought us a new vein of the shades formerly known as “pilot’s glasses.”
With its origins firmly planted in practicality, eye protection, and supreme coolness, the aviator frame is a design worth praising, reinventing, and proudly wearing.