The Ray Ban Wayfarer is, sans argument, the most iconic sunglass frame ever made. An abbreviated list of colosally famous people who have donned them since their introduction in 1956 includes James Dean, Bob Dylan, JFK, Martin Luther King, Jr., Madonna, Michael Jackson, Andy Warhol, Debbie Harry, the Blues Brothers, Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson and Anna Wintour.
Seminal '80s hit “I Wear My Sunglasses at Night”? You guessed it: Wayfarers.
That's 60+ years of making the coolest people on earth look ... even cooler. Given such an astonishing run of popularity, it would stand to reason that Ray Ban should never, ever mess with the formula. Dance with the girl who brung ya, as they say.
And while the Originals are very much still the staple of Ray Ban's collection, the brand just announced they'll now be supplementing them with the Wayfarer Blaze, a jaunty new edition that reimagines the classic silhouette.
Most noticeably, the Blaze ditches the traditional two-lens setup for a decidedly contemporary over-the-frame single lens. Also of note: three of the four colorways at launch sport a gradient lens (the iconic green lens over black frame remains unchanged).
While purists may scoff at this development, we like the redesign ... so long as it’s seen as a companion to the Original, and not a replacement.
The silhouette is still unmistakably Wayfarer, with the same chunky temples and insouciant flared rims. But it also breaks from tradition — and breaking from tradition, of course, is what distinguished these frames from more their more conservative contemporaries in the first place.