Wayfarer, a person who travels on foot. Ray-Ban introduced Wayfarer in 1952, surrounded by the landscape of womb chairs and Cadillac tail fins.

Classic Ray-Ban Wayfarer

Raymond Stegeman, an eyewear, designer for Ray-Ban, created the Wayfarer. The glasses’ distinctive trapezoidal frame spoke a non-verbal language that hinted at unstable dangerousness, but one nicely tempered by the sturdy arms which, according to the advertising, gave the frames a ‘masculine look.

Wayfarer marked the transition a period of eyewear, with thin metal frames and an era of plastic eyewear. It used new plastic molding technology. Not only James Dean, John F. Kennedy, and Muhammad Ali picked up this iconic shades, everyone wanted a wayfarer for their summertime wardrobe.

Tom Cruise with Wayfarer in Risky Business movie Poster


Ray-Ban signed a $50,000 a year contract to place Ray-Bans in 60 movies and TV-shows, featuring Tom Cruise in Risky Business. This placement saw more than 360,000 pairs of wayfarers sold in that year alone.

Wayfarer has maintained a constant presence. Sure, it’ll fade away for a few years now, but Wayfarer always comes back as strong as ever. While the original design is absolutely timeless, Ray-Ban has recently begun to offer a few updated models for the modern man, including a slimmed down “New Wayfarer” design, round and square versions, as well as a folding option.

Ray-Ban new wayfarer design

But don’t worry, the original Wayfarer is always available, so you can continually keep it classic.

The original Wayfarer is now also available in a leather frame, made in calf leather. Which feels premium.

For next post I am going to write about the John Lennon sunglasses.


12 thoughts on “Wayfarer

  1. Interesting read. I had learned that Ray-Ban was the company to create polarized lens. These were then highly popular as functional eyewear for pilots. Looking forward to reading more

  2. Ray-Ban Wayfarers are an iconic accessory in so many movies. It never occurred to me that it was all product placement. Very interesting fact! Look forward to reading more interesting stories on eyewear.

  3. I didn’t know they were called Wayfarers, I always just call them Ray Bans. Also didn’t realize they spent so much money to have actors wear their glasses in films. Jeez!

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