Best Eyewear Brands for 2021
The now-famous Ray-Ban aviator sunglasses were first created for the U.S. Army Air Corp by Bausch & Lomb. The glasses were the first to incorporate anti-glare lenses. The Ray-Ban aviator achieved immense popularity during WWII when General Douglas MacArthur was photographed in them. Ray-Ban glasses became part of American fashion.
- In 1952, Ray-Ban created the hard plastic frame called “The Ray-Ban Wayfarer” and became the sunglasses of choice for celebrities including Bob Dylan, Andy Warhol, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Roy Orbison, John Lennon, Madonna and, of course, Tom Cruise (the “Top Gun” glasses).
- In 2007, Ray-Ban expanded the Wayfarer color options and created Wayfarer frames that combined colors such as gold on black and red on tortoise-shell.
- Ray-Ban offers hundreds of unisex frame styles as sunglasses and prescription eyeglasses as well as models specifically for men, women, and children.
Guccio Gucci founded a saddlery shop in Florence in 1906 and branded it “The House of Gucci.” 32 years later, the brand began opening retail shops located in Rome, Milan, and Florence selling handbags, luggage, and shoes. Gucci established offices in New York in 1953.
Tom Ford became head executive and creative director of Gucci in 1990 and developed new products including perfumes, cosmetics, watches, and sunglasses.
- The classic interlocking Gs icon has established itself as a symbol of wealth and sophistication.
- Gucci offers sunglasses and eyeglasses for men and women.
- Bold-framed glasses characterize the Gucci eyewear line for women, from classic aviators to cat-eyes and crystal Hollywood Forever styles.
- The Gucci eyewear line for men features glasses and sunglasses with metal and acetate frames, from classic aviators to the bold Hollywood Forever styles.
Tom Ford is originally from Texas but became a household name when he moved to Milan in 1990 to become a designer for Gucci. He became Gucci’s creative director a few years later and left in 2005 to create the Tom Ford brand. He then established a partnership with Marcolin Group to produce and distribute eyewear.
- TOM FORD eyewear is among the top three brands at luxury stores worldwide.
- TOM FORD offers sunglasses and prescription eyeglasses for men and women.
Prada was founded in 1913 in Milan by Mario and Martino Prada. The Italian luxury fashion brand is know for its clothing, handbags, shoes, and accessories. In 1999, Prada and De Rigo group formed Prada eyewear. Today, Prada eyewear offers unique, high-quality eyeglasses and sunglasses, many of which make bold fashion statements.
- Prada is known for daring, oversized frames, geometric shapes, angular silhouettes, and inventive temple and frame embellishments.
- The brand also balances its collection with sophisticated classic styles including cat-eye frames, classy rectangle silhouettes, and round frames.
- Prada offers sunglasses and prescription eyeglasses for men and women.
- Prada Linea Rossa is a sister brand with a focus on technical detailing to fuse high fashion with high performance and design excellence.
Giuseppe Ratti, owner of Berry Opticians in Turin, Italy, began making technically advanced glasses in 1917 to satisfy the demands of pilots and sports drivers. Today, timeless design and art-like quality make the Persol brand a favorite in the world of cinema.
- Persol’s unmistakable symbol is a hinge decorated with an arrow on the stem, inspired by the swords of ancient warriors.
- The Persol brand offers sunglasses and eyeglasses for men and women.
- Persol offers a series of special editions including a Steve McQueen trademark.
Gianni Versace designed his first collections in 1972, launched a brand under the name “Gianni Versace Donna” in 1978, and opened the company’s first boutique that year in Milan. Throughout the ’80s Versace won prestigious awards and became a fashion legend. He worked closely with celebrities including Elton John and helped launch the careers of many supermodels. Today, Versace is known for extravagant designs including its lavish, statement-making eyewear.
- The Versace logo is the head of Greek mythological figure Medusa.
- Versace offers sunglasses and eyeglasses for men and women.
The Burberry brand dates back to 1856 and rose to prominence when Thomas Burberry invented the waterproof gabardine fabric used in outerwear. Burberry’s trench coats became popular during World War I. The Burberry eyewear brand was born a century and a half later, in 2006.
- Burberry has a distinctive British identity and is synonymous with design, craftsmanship, and innovation.
- Their most iconic sunglasses are the aviator styles, due to the brand’s original connection to pilots.
DOLCE & GABBANA
Dolce & Gabbana was founded by Italian designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana in 1985. Early products included leotards, underwear, swimsuits, and perfumes. The company teamed with Madonna in 2010 to design a collection of sunglasses titled MDG.
- The simple Dolce & Gabbana (D&G) logo is among the most recognizable logos in the fashion world.
- Dolce & Gabbana’s frames often embrace playful, expressive, and dramatic looks.
- Dolce & Gabbana offers sunglasses and prescription eyeglasses for men and women.
New Yorker Michael Kors started designing clothes at 19 and attended the Fashion Institute of Technology. Established in 1981, Michael Kors eyewear collections capture the glamor and sophistication for which the designer is celebrated. Michael Kors eyewear collection consists of classic frames with fine construction and details.
- Aviators and oversized sunglasses are the most prominent designs of the Kors brand.
- Michael Kors offers sunglasses for men and women and prescription eyeglasses for women.
Coach started in New York City in 1941 with six artisans aiming to make beautiful, functional items from fine leather. The brand has grown into a leading American fashion brand. Under license since 2012, Coach eyewear expresses New York style and the authentic American heritage.
- Coach eyewear blends modern sophistication with a vintage style to complement a wide range of wardrobes and appeal to contemporary tastes.
- Coach offers sunglasses and eyeglasses for women.
Legendary Italian designer Giorgio Armani is known for redefining fashion by introducing leather in day-to-day outfits. He established his initial brand in 1975 and in the late 1980s, expanded his commercial horizons to include eyewear.
Armani is now known as one of the world’s most prestigious brands comprising numerous sub-brands—including Armani Exchange—in a variety of industries.
- The House of Armani is known for its simplicity and sophistication and has become a symbol of class and luxury.
- Armani offers sunglasses and eyeglasses for men and women.
Adele and Edoardo Fendi founded the brand in Rome in 1925 and quickly became famous outside Italy’s capital. The brand — under the direction of Karl Lagerfeld—is known to have transformed fur it into a fashionable, light clothing item. Lagerfeld continues to provide artistic direction along with Silvia Venturini Fendi (who represents the third generation of the family).
- In 2007, Fendi put on a fashion show atop the Great Wall of China, which was visible from the moon.
- Fendi offers sunglasses and eyeglasses for men and women.
While an editor at Mademoiselle, Kate Brosnahan Spade set out to design the fashionable and utilitarian handbag she felt didn’t exist. She combined sleek shapes and colorful palettes in a new way and, in 1993, debuted six versions of a bag called “Sam,” giving rise to an accessories revolution.
The company, now a Tapestry, Inc. brand, designs and sells stationery, personal organizers, address books, shoes, beauty products, perfume, raincoats, pajamas, clothing, and eyewear.
- Kate Spade glasses feature frames in classic and modern shapes with striking prints and bold color palettes.
- Kate Spade offers sunglasses and eyeglasses for women.
Saint Laurent is one of the most prominent fashion brands of the 20th century. Founder Yves Saint Laurent is known to have pushed boundaries and was unafraid of shocking in the name of freedom of thought. Saint Laurent designs men’s and women’s ready-to-wear clothing, handbags, shoes, leather goods, jewelry, scarves, ties, and eyewear.
- Saint Laurent offers sunglasses and eyeglasses for men and women.
Tory Burch is an American lifestyle brand launched in 2004. Known for her bohemian aesthetic, Tory Burch launched an eyewear collection in 2009. Based in New York, Tory Burch specializes in haute couture offering clothes, luxury goods, and fashion accessories.
- Bold use of color, prints, and detailing are all signatures of the Tory Burch brand.
- Tory Burch offers sunglasses and eyeglasses for women.
Carrera was founded in Austria in 1956 and now operates from Padova, Italy. The Carrea trademark belongs to Safilo Group S.p.A., which designs and produces sunglasses and eyewear.
- The Carrea brand is popular with celebrities including Paris Hilton, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, and Usher.
- Carrera offers eyeglasses and sunglasses for men, women, and children.
You know Nike for its shoes and the many products it offers athletes. Nike also offers a popular line of eyewear with a massive selection of models. Nike eyewear embraces technological innovation and state-of-the-art craftsmanship.
- Nike eyewear offers lightweight frames made in rugged plastics, strong titanium, or flexible memory metals.
- Nike offers sunglasses and eyeglasses for men, women, and children.
Maui Jim company roots trace to 1980 when fisherman Jim Richards began selling sunglasses on the beaches of Maui. Later, the company developed polarized sunglasses to protect eyes from glare and UV rays. Mauji Jim is now one of the world’s most popular sunglasses brand.
- Maui Jim glasses feature a patented polarization technology called PolarizedPlus2
- Maui Jim offers sunglasses for men and women.
Jim Jannard founded Oakley in 1975 and began by selling unique motorcycle grips. Its product portfolio expanded soon after and included goggles featuring a curved lens, known as the “O Frame.” By 1983, Oakley had begun to manufacture ski goggles and sunglasses oriented towards sports.
- Greg Lemond won the Tour de France multiple times wearing Oakley “Eyeshades” and is widely credited for making Oakley the cool sunglass manufacturer.
- Oakley offers sunglasses and eyeglasses for men and women.
COSTA DEL MAR
Costa Del Mar was founded in 1983 by Ray Ferguson in Daytona Beach. The brand became the official gear of the Stars & Stripes team in America’s Cup yacht racing contest and became popular with surfers and recreational fishermen due to its sun glare protection.
The famous fashion house founded by Christian Dior was established in Paris in 1946 and quickly earned immense acclaim for its elegance and timeless femininity. Dior is one of the brands credited for giving rise to high fashion eyewear and sunglasses and continuously pushes the boundaries in eyewear. A steady release of fantastical designs has contributed to the brand’s enduring success.
- Under the license, Tura produced the first Dior glasses and sunglasses, strictly for women, known for being decorated with jewels.
- In the ’80s, Dior eyewear leaped to new heights with its Monsieur series of elegant men’s designer sunglasses and prescription glasses. The brand’s menswear division later became Dior Homme.
- The Dior eyewear license was sold to the Italian Safilo Group in 1996. In 2021, luxury brand LVMH took over the brand, through its company Thélios.