Just before summer Ray-Ban, arguably the most recognizable brand in eyewear, unveiled its latest technological advancement, a first-of-its-kind a range of eyewear called Ray-Ban Reverse, which shifts from traditional convex to concave lenses without sacrificing on optical precision.
“We wanted to take a moment to technically redefine our sun category and inspire more of an emotional connection to lens design,“ said Federico Buffa, research and design and product style licensing director. “This allows us to pioneer a new lens trend that can redefine style, while maintaining our true iconicity,” he said.
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Proprietary technology, plus the ideation to execution phase took around 12 months, and worked via running an algorithm “that allows freeform plano lens without any visual distortion and with the highest visual acuity (High Definition),” Buffa said, adding that in that time frame “we learned we had to approach the creation of the lens in the opposite direction of how we normally make a lens.”
The creation required a patented 3D modeling system “with higher precision calculation. We have a cutting-edge engineering process that molded the lens to achieve a perfect balance between the front and rear surfaces, specifically to not skew vision,” Buffa explained.
The new lens rollout is the next big statement for a brand that has cemented its icon status in pop culture, while continuing to find ways to evolve its legacy. Most recently, Ray-Ban partnered with Meta to introduce first-generation of smartglasses with dual built-in cameras, speakers and three array microphones within the design of the frame, allowing people to capture their favorite moments, share them to social media and listen to their favorite podcast or music.
The Ray-Ban Reverse range includes four of the brand’s bestsellers: Aviator, Wayfarer, Caravan and Boyfriend. The mirrored lenses available on the Reverse collection are particularly intriguing, with the viewer’s — opposite the wearer, looking at the lenses — reflection appearing inverted, thanks to the concave lens, flipping what consumers have come to expect from a mirrored lens. Finished with a high-performance anti-glare treatment, the pantoscopic lens is primed to reduce up to 70 percent of the reflections at wavelengths to which the eye is most sensitive.
According to the brand, the frames are crafted with consideration for the planet, with a palette of alternative materials. “We are taking environmental impact and implication very seriously,” Buffa said. ”In this collection we highlight our bio-acetate frames, which contains 67 percent bio-based carbon content and bio-nylon lenses with a 41 percent bio-based carbon content. Also, the packaging, card and cleansing cloth are created with 100 percent recycled materials.”
EssilorLuxottica, the parent company of Ray-Ban, is rolling out the new technology with range of events and initiatives. It kicked off with the boyfriend frame showing up at on this year’s 2023 Met Gala’s “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty” red carpet on Labrinth, a British singer, rapper, songwriter and record producer signed to Simon Cowell’s music label. Labrinth has worked with numerous artists as a songwriter and producer, including Beyoncé, Ye and The Weeknd, and produced all the music for the hit show, Euphoria.
“Kicking off at the Met Gala allowed us to anchor our position within the high fashion territory. Some of the most iconic faces in fashion wear Ray-Ban and it felt like a synergy between the design and leveraging our iconicity,” said Francesco Liut, chief marketing officer, EssilorLuxottica. “For this collection, the clean aesthetic and precision of the lens matched how we wanted to position Ray-Ban Reverse: strong, powerful and impactful.”
The red carpet rollout for the new range hasn’t stopped there, with the frames popping up at both the Cannes Film Festival and in Florence at Pitti Uomo. A new campaign staring face of the Ray-Ban Reverse features supermodel Vittoria Ceretti, further cementing the collection’s high-fashion positioning.
While all these assets play well on social media channels, Liut points out that part of the story is also educating the consumer on the new technology by “creating content dedicated to a journey on the making of the lenses to help educate, and we will be focusing on building our TikTok audience.”
The rollout culminated with an event in New York on June 21, with Ray-Ban Sun-Day, a one-of-a-kind brand-owned music event that celebrated the latest Ray-Ban collections — with a special focus on Ray-Ban Reverse — during the longest day of the year on a rooftop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The party included performances from top artists Channel Tres, Baby Tate, The Knocks and Mazurbate, with all artists wearing Reverse styles during their performances.
For customers in Ray-Ban retail shops, the theme is discovery, with clients finding various elements that highlight the design of the lenses. “Some key components include mirrored towers featuring our hero product (Aviator), concave display cases and a clean design within our front windows and doors,” Liut said of the retail display.
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