The recent decades have proven to be quite successful for sunglasses. The portable entity which presents itself as two lenses held together by a simple nose piece has been reworked and redesigned innumerous times to fit the fashion tastes of millions of people. Designer sunglasses are no longer utilized simply as guardians of our eyes against the sun – they have become an inextricable part of the fashion world, and have manifested into hundreds different styles.
But did you know that centuries before movie stars donned sunglasses and posed for the cameras, sunglasses began their climb into the their own celebrity in 13th century China? The original sunglasses trendsetters were Chinese judges who began wearing sunglasses – or quartz lenses, tinted by smoke- in order to cover their eye expressions, and thus their opinions. It seems that the initial purpose of sunglasses was not even to protect the eyes against the sun; it was to protect the eyes of important decision makers from unwanted spectators.
Not until the twentieth century did sunglasses begin to be utilized for UV ray protection purposes. In the 1920s, Sam Foster introduced the sunglasses to the American public. At that time the lenses were beginning to be manufactured to protect the eyes from the sun. Sam Foster began selling sunglasses in Atlantic City, NJ, and slowly but surely ensuring their popularity.
And in the 1930, Edwin H. Land, commenced another phenomenon by using his patented Polaroid filter by polarizing the lenses. At this time, sunglasses began to gain their popularity at an even faster rate. Famous movie stars and musicians ensured the sunglasses’ stardom by wearing them in public and in front of the camera.
Today, you will rarely see a person without sunglasses on a bright, sunny day. Sunglasses have become part of our wardrobe as shoes and purses, and a part of celebritydom as designer gowns and short-lived marriages. And we love our designer sunglasses because of their versatility, transportability, UV ray protection, but mainly because they make us look good.