cheap ray bans sunglasses go retro vintage

wholesale ray bans

In the eye wear industry there goes a saying that when the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita surpasses $25,000, wholesale cheap ray bans become a nationwide fashion item. Korea’s GDP per capita reached $28,739 last year according to International Monetary Fund (IMF). People in the country don’t only wear cheap wholesale ray bans to protect their eyes from the bright sunlight, they enjoy a wide spectrum of designs. From the shape of the lens and frame to materials used to design the glass and now the color of the lens ― there is a wealth of choice out there.


Over the past week, The Korea Times has been observing summer fashion trends on the street, especially for men, and interviewed fashion insiders to see what has made cheap ray bans 2015’s ‘it’ item. From style to brand, different genders and age profiles preferred different eyewear. Despite distinctive designs produced by separate designers, trendy sunglasses shared a common theme throughout.

Sunglasses were really popular in Europe three years ago and started to become a factor in Korea last year. This year, the trend is definitely commonplace on the street. Find out the up-to-date eyewear trends for the upcoming summer season.

‘Mirror lens’ is this summer’s hot item

“Mirror lenses” are the main sunglasses trend for the summer. While women try many colorful lenses, men picked blue as their favorite color. Materials used for the glass is important for men too.

“Men enjoy either black acetate (a type of plastic) sunglasses with a blue mirror lens or a black frame with gold-metal temples” said Min Kang, creative director at BCD Eyewear, who has been designing and manufacturing spectacles for 13 years. “They have been enjoying diversified designs such as “Boeing” or “Clip-on,” which can attach sunglasses lens to a normal glass frame.”

The men’s fashion market usually concerned watches and clothing. As more brands produced different designs, demand for new eyewear to match style grew. The market for men’s fashion sunglasses began to increase six years ago and Kang estimates there has been 200 percent growth in sales in the sector.

The distinction between men and women’s eyewear has become vague compared to 10 years ago. More spectacles are now designed as unisex, especially among 20- and 30-somethings.

The materials used to design the glass bodies became the most important factor. Acetate became popular with Ray-Ban’s “Wayfarer,” a signature item of 1950s American cultural icon James Dean. The trend evolved to combine the material with metallic temples.

Men’s favorite color also changed from brown or smog-black lens to gold-, silver- and the most popular blue-mirror.

History

It all started with English fashion brand Paul Smith’s “retro vintage.” American eyewear Oliver Peoples produced Paul Smith glasses and its model “Paul Smith 294″ changed world trends in 2002. There was no “vintage” spectacle until 2003. The vintage style was first adopted with clothes, then with accessories. Spectacles designers sought inspiration from glasses worn in the 1950s and 60s. Round-shape eyewear or rectangular-shaped style like Wayfarer regained its old glory. But materials used to make the glass were plastic, which made it look cheap. Attaching sunglasses lens on top of it created the clip-on style that old men in America or Europe wore for practical purposes. The style has been avoided, especially among women for its strong image as an item for seniors.


Riding on the popularity of retro vintage fashion, other vintage spectacle makers such as Cutler and Gross and Oliver Goldsmith also received the spotlight on the international stage. Until then, the two eyewear brands were little known due to their strong characteristic as a local brand that would only sell products in their own brand shops.

Ray-Ban’s Wayfarer also made a comeback in 2000. The American brand changed its 15-year old “horn spectacles” to produce half gold-rimmed glasses, or “Clubmasters,” but wasn’t as much as a hit as the Wayfarer.

Models present Korean fashion eyewear brand Gentle Monster’s sunglasses during its 2015 spring/summer collection on Feb. 2, in Sinsa-dong, Seoul.
/ Korea Times photo by Kim Jae-heun

Gentle Monster

“DIDI D” by Gentle Monster Courtesy of Gentle Monster
“Wayfarer” by Ray-Ban Courtesy of Ray-Ban

In Korea, Wayfarer ruled the sunglasses trend 10 years ago then Clubmasters succeeded after that. Italian brand SUPER claimed Ray-Ban’s throne in 2013 with their original designs and quality materials for its spectacles. Now, Korea’s Gentle Monster is a new leader in the domestic market.

It did not take long for the Korean eyewear brand to rise to become an iconic fashion brand. Gentle Monster received recognition from overseas, especially in China, with its popular model “DIDI D” that hallyu (Korean Wave) star actress Jeon Ji-hyun wore in a megahit drama “My Love from the Star.”

The brand has expanded its business to open three show rooms in Seoul and attract even more consumers.

“Sales doubled to 40 billion won ($36.55 million) from 20 billion won ($18.27 million) last year,” said Shin Na-jung, an assistant manager at Gentle Monster. “Eighty percent of the customers are women, but we are starting to see many men customers too.

“Men prefer rectangular frames than round ones like the model “The Dreamer” or “Absente,” which is our best model this year,” said Shin.

The assistant manager said horn-rimmed glasses made of a single material were in high demand, but this year people are looking for mixed ones like spectacles with gold or silver temples.

Surprisingly, male customers these days visit the brand showrooms knowing what they are going to purchase. Shin said men consider many factors like facial shape and the color of the spectacles when choosing a model whereas women pick sunglasses that have been worn by celebrities.”Customers are asking for mirror lens products too, which has been popular for two years now. This year’s mirror lenses are manufactured flat and look stronger and fashionable.” Shin said.

Actor Robert Pattinson wears Ray-Ban’s “Clubmasters” sunglasses in this file photo. / Courtesy of Luxottica


Style preference among Korean, Japanese and Chinese customers differs too. Japanese customers, well-known for their originality in fashion, tend to be more conservative with designs ­ purchasing mostly black and simple sunglasses. Chinese are more open to variety of colors and designs but l gold is their favorite color and the fancier the better. Koreans are somewhere in between. Meanwhile, European customers like spectacles that have a light body frame with small lens.

Gentle Monster has the top position in the world of middle and low priced eyewear brands.

“There is no brand that offers a variety of designs for sunglasses at a price around $200 to $300. Ray-Ban designs are too safe and Linda Farrow sunglasses are too expensive. We want to find the middle point between two brands,” said Shin.

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