Ray-Ban is the most popular glasses and sunglasses brand in terms of global sales. It’s also the most searched-for eyewear brand on Google. But is there more to Ray-Ban than just a name? In this blog I’m going to suggest some alternatives, and explain why I feel you should buy them instead.
What have I got against Ray-Ban? Absolutely nothing! The original sunglasses are some of the best quality ever produced, and the main reason why the brand is so big today. What I do have a problem with is the company that now owns Ray-Ban. You might not have heard of Luxottica, but they are one of the most powerful companies in the world. They own the license for perhaps the majority of designer sunglass brands such as Chanel, Armani, D&G, Tiffany, Prada, Versace, Persol, and the list goes on. And on. And includes Ray-Ban. What that means is that the ‘cool’, ‘original’ and ‘prestigious’ brand you thought you were buying is actually just another name made in the same factory as all the others.
Once you realise that they are literally just another name that can be used to sell eyewear, you begin to understand why there’s no substance to any of it. Hopefully this is my opportunity to teach you what makes many eyewear brands out there better than Ray-Ban.
If you’re buying a pair of sunglasses, the main thing you’re interested in should be the quality of the lenses. That’s what determines how clearly and comfortably you see, and how much eye protection you get from them. There can be an enormous difference from one pair to another.
Maui Jim Mavericks vs Ray Ban Aviator
Ray-Ban offer a range of different lenses, some better than others. But none of them can compete with a lens such as you would find in a pair of Maui Jim sunglasses. Most sun lenses simply dim light… Maui Jim sunglasses enhance colors, providing greater clarity and detail using natural light.
Furthermore, whereas Ray-Ban lenses usually block UV at around 400nm, high quality sunglasses such as Maui Jim can filter light up to 440nm or more, meaning more eye protection. On top of that, they are generally more durable and block more glare.
If you had them side by side, I would bet you would much prefer the view through the Maui Jim pair than the Ray-Ban pair.
Ray-Ban frames are still typically made from traditional materials; steel and acetate. Meanwhile, other manufacturers have innovated massively in the materials they use. Here’s an example:
Ray-Ban Wayfarer vs Carrera 6000
In this example, the Ray-Ban pair is made from a conventional material called acetate. But the Carrera frame is made from Optyl, which is lighter and more durable without being any more expensive. Check out the video below to see how amazing optyl is:
This is an aspect that obviously comes down to personal preference, but I still think you can find a much more unique and altogether more interesting look than what Ray-Ban has to offer. I’m going to focus on the optical side of things. I’ll give 3 examples of current Ray-Ban models and 3 alternatives that I would suggest.
Ray Ban Clubmaster:
My Alternative: This frame from JF Rey is similar in shape to the Clubmaster, but with a slightly more rounded shape in keeping with the current fashion, and finished at the top with genuine leather.
My Alternative: This frame from Dragon Eyewear features a double layer of acetate to achieve a look that changes depending on the angle the frame is viewed from. It also features interesting detail on the front, a more comfortable key-hole bridge and a much more subtle logo embedded on the inside of the arm. They’ve made the material semi-transparent so you can see it, which I think looks really cool.
My Alternative: This Reykjavik Eyes Black Label frame is considerably lighter, stronger and more modern than the Ray-Ban equivalent. It also has no screws, making maintenance far easier. You can get it without the double-bar bridge, but this look is coming more and more in at the moment so I would definitely have it. In fact, I’ve just ordered this frame for myself!
Whether you’re looking for style, innovation or sun protection, I think you can do better than Ray-Ban. This backs up what I mentioned at the start; you’re really just paying for a name. If that’s what you want, then fine, but bear in mind that everyone wears Ray-Ban. Style should be about personal expression, not following the crowd. Want to look the same as anyone else? Stick with Ray-Ban. Want to look better, feel more comfortable, get better value than everyone else? Look elsewhere.