Wayfarer sunglasses were first manufactured in 1956 by sunglass company Ray-Ban and they have been credited as the best-selling sunglasses design of all time. Since Ray-Ban's introduction of the design in the 50's, wayfarers have adopted by many sunglasses designers, companies and sunglasses wholesale manufacturers.
The wayfarer design was a popular design throughout the 1950s and 60s, which can be contributed to the materials it was made from. With the newly available plastic molding technology, Ray-Ban was one of the first companies to move away from metal-framed sunglasses. However, by the 1970s the popularity of wayfarer sunglasses began to decline and teashades, or John Lennon sunglasses, became the popular design to wear.
With the decline in sales, the wayfarer design was on the brink of extinction. It wasn't until the early 80s that the design made a comeback, thanks largely to a $50,000 a year advertising product placement deal, which placed wayfarers in more than 60 movies and television shows between 1982 and 1987. This first such successful placement was with Tom Cruise in Risky Business:
This first placement saw more than 360,000 pairs of wayfarers sold in that year alone. With placement in other movies and popular television shows, like Miami Vice, sales reached 1.5 million per year by 1986.
It wasn't long until the celebrities of the 80s, namely musicians, were sporting wayfarers of their own. Every popular 80s musician from Michael Jackason to Madonna could be seen wearing the wayfarer sunglasses. Corey Hart's, Sunglasses At Night featured the wayfarer sunglasses in his video:
After a successful period in the 80s, by the 1990's wayfarers once again lost their popularity to a new design, the wraparound, or sports sunglasses:
By the 2000's wayfarers were once again a popular design of sunglasses. With many of the "90's kids" looking to revive the 80s retro fashion, wayfarers once again saw a boost in sales and Ray-Ban even re-released the original wayfarer design. Some wayfarer wearing celebrities of modern pop culture include: Twilight vampire Edward Cullen
Katy Perry, in her music video "Teenage Dream"
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