When I reminisce on childhood memories, there is certain imagery that continually factors into the picture, Ray-Ban sunglasses being among them. There are the musings of my relatives coming to visit us in upstate New York from the insular island of Manhattan, coming to partake in our regular country jaunts, such as tag-saling and baseball, each of their faces adorned with the now-infamous Ray-Bans, trying to blend in amongst the local contingent while still each bringing with them their local flair and self identity. It was the 1980s and Ray Bans were omnipresent, they were ubiquitous on the streets of a large metropolis as they were on the residents of a small winding back country road. Through my innocent childish eyes, my sophisticated, charismatic, and creative relatives were the epitome of chic and cool. These mysterious eye adornments just added to the charm my forming mind already revered them with. I was always precocious, rather serious for my age, preferring to spend my time with those that were older, whose knowledge of the world, I was hoping could im-permeate my brain just by association. The sunglasses just exaggerated any sense of adoration I had, the “cool-factor” was something I had to have.
The sunglasses have always provided an allure, allowing one to shield their eyes, as well as their identity. Writers, models, the illuminati always wore them, at least in my mind, to tell the world, to keep a safe distance, that the mind was lost in thoughts and to allow for the preservation of those thoughts. As if to say to permit for the quiet mind, so that one would be able to be ruminate in the imagination and ephemeral musings instead of having to face the harsh injustice and mundanities of the everyday world. Perhaps the mind was focusing on the ordinary, the everyday, but perhaps there was more to it. A sense of existentialism or the creation of the latest hit novel. Irregardless, Ray-Ban has forever cemented a place in history perhaps because of this ability to evoke a feeling, a characterization. They own a piece of the cultural equation. I do not know that another such manufacturer has come close to preserving a place in society as they have. In my mind, they will always hold a close place to my heart. These are memories I hold dear.
“I think that half of us feel fraudulent in our lives anyway. There’s that strange disconnect of not really knowing what we’re doing sometimes, or why it matters. It’s our existential crisis.”
Courtesy of Ray-Ban, Refinery 29