Fashion is an ingrained part of our culture. From musicians, to actors and writers, we are greatly influenced by the the creative industry and the media that we consume. Often associated with certain memories and moments, such as Audrey Hepburn donning her iconic black dress and pearls in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, fashion can be defined by particular films.
One accessory that is consistently shown in films are a pair of popular Ray-Ban sunglasses. The Wayfarer, arguably their most sought after design, has appeared in a plethora of classic films, such as The Blues Brothers and Reservoir Dogs, whilst their distinctive aviator range made an appearance in Top Gun.
Founded in 1937 by American company Bausch & Lomb, Ray-Ban started their career by producing sunglasses for the US army, before moving on to create a range for the general public. Instantly recognisable due to their familiar shape and branding, Ray-Ban’s are used consistently in films, music videos, and are worn by an abundance of celebrities and influencers alike.
Here are our top picks of the best classic films featuring the iconic sunglasses brand:
Rebel Without A Cause, 1955
Whilst only active in the acting circuit for five years, James Dean certainly made an impression with the seven films and smattering of television appearances. His most iconic film was Rebel Without A Cause by far.
In the film, Jim Stark (James Dean), is a troublemaker who has moved to a new town. Here, he strikes a friendship with disturbed classmate Plato, falls for local girl Judy and gains an enemy in the form of Buzz, the neighbourhood tough kid. When Buzz challenges Jim to a drag race, the troublemaking days of Jim’s past are about to be revived again.
Highly rated among critics and movie fans alike, this film so happens to be the film where his character, the troublemaking teen Jim Stark, wore a pair of Ray Ban’s Clubmaster sunglasses.
The Blues Brothers, 1980
The ninth highest grossing musical film of all time, The Blues Brothers, starring Dan Aykroid and John Belushi, sees them sent on a “mission from God.” After serving a three year prison sentence for robbery, Jake Blues and his brother Elwood discover that the Catholic orphanage that they grew up in is in danger of closing, unless $5,000 in property taxes is remitted to the Cook County Assessor’s Office. After attending a gospel church service led by The Reverend Cleophus James (soul legend James Brown), the Blues Brothers have a plan to raise the funds needed to keep the orphanage open-tour as a blues band. From this point on, Blues Brothers features car chases, catchy musical performances by the band and renowned performers (Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles and James Brown to name a few), as they race to make the money back for their old home.
The Blues Brothers are not only remembered for the music, but also the brothers signature black suit, tie and sunglasses style. The sunglasses in question were Ray-Ban’s iconic Wayfarers.
Risky Business, 1983
Considered a classic 80s comedy, Risky Business stars a young Tom Cruise as Joel, a privileged teenager who is left alone in the family home with a Porsche at his disposal whilst his family are away. Joel, through his scheming friends, finds himself entertaining a call-girl called Lana. After meeting Joel’s friends, Lana spots a business opportunity, and suggests bringing in some of her stunning colleagues. Initially Joel disagrees with the idea, that is until the Porsche accidentally falls into Lake Michigan, requiring a quick boost of cash to put the situation right.
Tom Cruise’s cocky teen Joel wears a pair of Ray-Ban Wayfarers throughout, which have become synonymous with the film.
Top Gun, 1986
Another Tom Cruise hit, Cruise stars as Lieutenant Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, a skilled United States Naval Aviator. As students at the United States Navy’s elite fighter weapons school compete to be best in the class, this daring young pilot is quickly moved up to the Top Gun Naval Flying School after saving his wingman’s life during an encounter with a pair of MiG fighters over the Persian Gulf. The film follows Maverick’s struggles to be the best pilot at the flying school.
In Top Gun, Tom Cruise wears a pair of Ray-Ban’s Aviator sunglasses, already made popular with the US Army back in the 1930s.
Reservoir Dogs, 1992
Regarded as one of director Quentin Tarantino’s highest rated films, Reservoir Dogs is regarded for its soundtrack, cinematography and iconic suited style.
Six criminals, who are strangers to each other are hired by a crime boss called Joe Cabot to carry out a diamond robbery. However, things do not go to plan after the police show up at the robbery, and a shootout occurs, killing two of them, a few policemen and civilians. When the remaining men assemble at the rendezvous point (a warehouse), they start to suspect that one of them is an undercover cop.
Ray-Ban’s Wayfarer sunglasses are worn by the surviving six men with the most iconic scene of the film making it onto posters and front covers worldwide, complete with this fashionable accessory.
Men In Black, 1997
Men In Black follows “J” (Will Smith), the newest recruit to the Men In Black (code name MiB) agency, a top secret organisation that protects the world from extra terrestrial beings. J teams up with “K” (Tommy Lee Jones). When a flying saucer crashes into earth, the alien surviving the crash, part of the “Bug” race in the galaxy, takes the body of a farmer and heads to New York in search for a super energy source called “The Galaxy.” Agents J and K must stop the bug before he escapes with the galaxy and threatens the universes peace.
When people think of Men In Black, they no doubt think of the black shades, black tie and black shade combo that the MiB wear. The shades in question are of course Ray-Ban’s classic black Wayfarer style.
Shop the full collection of Ray-Ban sunglasses in store or online here at Zee & Co.