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Ever wonder how people shielded their eyes from the sun’s glare before sunglasses were invented?  Wide-brimmed hats, of course.  Sun umbrellas.  Positioning the hand at the brow to shade the eyes.  Well, here’s an amazing fact:  it wasn’t until 1929 that Sam Foster introduced the first sunglasses, selling them on the boardwalk in good old Atlantic City!  They were riotously popular there on the beach, and within a year, most everyone owned or wanted a pair!  


The business of sunglasses has greatly evolved since that time, but the urge to buy them is just as strong.  Sunglasses have gone far beyond basic function, and now are a prime personal fashion accessory (meaning: watch those Impulse Sales!)


 Back in the 1940s, famed WWII General Douglas MacArthur constantly wore Aviator sunglasses.  Wartime photos of the dynamic general catapulted the Aviator model into supersales.

  • The Aviator, in its many versions, remains to this day the best-selling sunglasses in the country. 

While originally Aviators were strictly manly, female movie stars adopted the look, and today Aviators are not only favorites of men, but many women as well.


In recent years, top designers have prominently inserted their name, or initials, or company logo on their sunglasses, to communicate directly with the wearer’s circle of friends that he or she is wearing expensive designer sunglasses.  And expensive is the word.  Status-conscious shoppers can easily pay upwards of $100, $200, $300 or more for name designer sunglasses. 

Other shoppers want to look just as good, but shrewdly choose to do it for a fraction of the going prestige-fashion price.  And now it’s so easy!


 Take those designer logos.  Now quality wholesale glasses can be had featuring intriguing logos-initials, or sophisticated metal graphics, set at the temple. These are designer-like manufacturer motifs that pique buyer interest, but never duplicate a designer’s copyright or trademark.  These new status/value collections play on the generally accepted idea that “designer logo = expensive designer sunglasses!”

But these sunglasses are not expensive.  They just look expensive.

 Today’s well-priced sunglasses offer variations on current looks initiated by top fashion houses right now, this season, not some time later, when fashion will have moved on.  Contemporary “hot” designs can be had:  aviators, of course; unilens numbers, wraps, unisex flexibility, oversize retro (big this fall), rimless, sportsglasses, severely modern or lavishly decorated sunglasses.  Choose from a wide range of lens and frame colors, crafted of durable plastics, popular plated wire, special features and knockout looks.


 Target your individual shopper groups:  athletic youngsters often are keen on mirrored sports sunglasses, and will look for features like rubber-sleeved arms that keep the glasses securely in place while the wearer is in motion.  If your female shoppers typically dress in bright colors and sparkle, they’ll probably want to carry that over into sunglass selections.  Conservative customers often have a certain style that has proved to be best for them or, on this shopping trip, they may be open to something fresh and different.

While in the past women have traditionally been more receptive to new styles and ideas, today’s young men are just as adventurous, and have very specific tastes and needs. 

 Mimicking in-the-news celebrities’ choices creates huge, ever-changing but ever-constant demand.  (What’s George Clooney wearing these days?  Brad Pitt?  Beyonce?)  

 Everyone wants their chosen version of the “in” look, and everyone knows the right sunglasses add unmistakable hip glamour.

 But remember:  Whatever your sunglass mix, you can’t miss with the Aviator-it has always been the retail sales champion, and, amazingly, has never, ever,  been out of style.

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Monday, September 15th, 2008

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