What is the history of Oakley Sunglasses?
Oakley’s website – Oakley Sunglasses
Oakley have been committed to innovation and design with the aim of achieving the creation of unique and inspired eyewear. They have pursued perfection and the company receives inspiration from every time an athlete is seen to be using Oakley sunglasses during competition.
It all started 30 years ago, when a technology company saw an opportunity to innovate with a new motocross handgrip which because famous for its unique orbicular design. This started a legacy of looking for problems and then trying to create solutions in a manner that redefines product categories. An unyielding drive to invent better solutions by defying conventions has been a feature of the discipline the company has shown. The discipline has been based on three simple fundamentals. Find an opportunity, solve it with technology, then wrap it in art.
The message of Oakley has been that they are “Dedicated to purpose beyond reason”. There has been an extremely lucrative ad campaign and the company’s products are one of the most copied in the world. In the last 30 years, Oakley’s founder Jim Jannard has reshaped conventional wisdom in his attempts to transform everyday products such as shoes and of course sunglasses into what can best be described as functional works of art. You can love them or hate them, but there is no doubt that Oakley’s “mad scientists” have been at the forefront of technology and design for this long period.
Moving from motocross grips to motocross goggles, Jannard started wondering about whether he could also invent a design for sport sunglasses. He wanted to provide a mixture of protection to athletes with a cutting edge look and optical competency. They started with the Eyeshade – which was a one-lens sunglass described as goggle feature-laden but in a sunglass package. This caused ripples in the sunglasses industry and with those ripples came wave after wave of sales.
The scrupulous and safety-conscious world of top athletes saw that Oakley sunglasses, whilst looking a bit outrageous, were still a state of the art and effective piece of equipment. Remember this was the 1980s though. Bands like Poison and Whitesnake topped the charts and sportsmen had feathered mullets, so looking outrageous or silly wasn’t such a problem.
But Jannard knew that Oakley had made it when a kid called up to ask for some different lens colours for cycling. It was Tour De France champion Greg Lemond and Jannard knew he was onto something.
Perhaps the greatest sign of Oakley’s success has been the amount of major companies that copied them and the amount of “Foakleys” (fake Oakleys) produced.