Ray ban wayfarer

‘Miami Vice’ increased sales of Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses


If you enjoyed watching TV in the 80s, chances are you were a Miami vice fan. Even if you weren’t, any attempt to revisit this era can’t be done without at least a brief mention of the series. Miami vice was one of the flagship shows of the ’80s. Beyond just being good TV, it also had a clearly defined aesthetic that came to help mark this era. Let’s take a closer look at how this show and its popularity actually helped propel a pair of sunglasses to success.

The cultural impact of ‘Miami Vice’

Miami vice acts as both an action crime drama and a time capsule. It was one of the most recognizable TV shows of the ’80s.

Created by acclaimed director Michael Mann before it later achieved big screen success, it introduced an iconic style to the cultural community. Don Johnson’s Crockett and Philip Michael Thomas’ Tubbs were endlessly cool. Their wardrobes have become a sign of the times: the casual yet elegant look of the two men frequently wearing blazers with t-shirts is etched in the memories of many fans of 80s television.

It didn’t hurt that the show was also extremely well written and well constructed. Mann was clearly talented, and Miami vice it was there that he developed his talents as a director that he would later apply to classic films like Heat and Collateral. Mann even adapted the series for theaters, directing a movie starring Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx.

Along with the show’s great dialogue and action sequences, it also featured some cool clothing. One accessory that helped define the show were the sunglasses worn by the two main characters: Ray-Ban Wayfarers.

What are Ray-Ban Wayfarers?

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According to Ray Ban website, the Wayfarers represent “the most recognizable style in the history of sunglasses”.

They come in three distinct styles: New, Original and Folding. They are also available in a wide variety of colors, gradient lenses, and other customizations.

Some people go for a sleek black look. Others opt for more sophisticated woodwork. Either way, they are extremely popular and the first name many people are turning to when it comes to buying glasses. In many ways, they have become like the Babe Ruth of sunglasses – synonymous and almost interchangeable with the word itself.

Of course, this has not always been the case. There was a time when Wayfarers and the Ray-Ban brand in general were so depressed it seemed hopeless. With the help of a movie and a TV show, they rose up like a phoenix.

Why Ray-Ban owes a Debt of Gratitude to ‘Miami Vice’

(lr) Don Johnson as Detective James ‘Sonny’ Crockett, Philip Michael Thomas as Detective Ricardo ‘Rico’ Tubbs | NBCU Photo Bank

From the early to mid-1980s, Ray-Ban did not have roughly the same market share as it does today. In fact, the brand itself was on the brink of death. According to Mental Floss, yet, Miami vice played a big part in their resurrection and subsequent success.

Although Ray-Bans are worn by many people now, they weren’t very popular in the early 80s. What started the reversal of this trend was a young star named Tom Cruise. Cruise wore a pair of Ray-Ban Wayfarers in the movie Risky business. This caused an increase in sales.

To add fuel to the fire, Johnson wore them on Miami Vice. In 1986, thanks in large part to the combined efforts of Cruise and Johnson, they sold 1.5 million pairs.

What’s the lesson here? If you have a brand of clothing or accessories, get someone as popular as Johnson in the 80s to wear your brand. While now considered an older statesman in the theater world, Johnson was an idol and hugely popular at the time. It was enough to don the Wayfarers to increase their sales. The sunglasses matched perfectly with the rest of her wardrobe, so it didn’t feel forced at all.


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