The History of the Wayfarer: A Ray-Ban Classic

history of the wayfarer ray ban sunglasses

The wayfarer frame is one of the most popular frame styles out there. It’s been emulated by every brand and label but for those who appreciate a classic, there’s no wayfarer quite like the Original Wayfarer.

Ray-Ban first released this design in 1956 and the frame was well received, becoming an iconic creation of that time. And because it was one of the first sunglasses to move away from metal and onto moulded plastic, it was a design that would be as famous and recognisable as the likes of Eames chairs, Cadillac tail fins and other innovations of the decade.

According to the Ray-Ban designers, the Wayfarer was designed to offer a “masculine look” and they quickly became a top seller. But by the end of the 60s, this design faced the threat of extinction before a $50,000 brought it back and Tom Cruise was seen wearing the Ray-Ban Wayfarer in the 1983 movie, Risky Business.


Since the 80s comeback of the wayfarer frame, these sunglasses have continued to play a major part in both men and women’s fashion. They’ve become a true staple and here at SelectSpecs, we’ve got timeless styles from the Ray-Ban collection as well as some seriously affordable budget options so you can get the look for less.

Ray-Ban Wayfarers – The Original

What began as a masculine frame design for men, soon became a unisex look that would bridge the gap between the sexes.

Ray-Ban’s recent Never Hide campaign shows how the Original Wayfarer has moved through the decades, from its beginnings in 1956 (feature image) to the present day where men and women can be seen wearing the Wayfarer at festivals, music gigs and more.

history of the wayfarer ray ban sunglasses


If you love classic design and you appreciate the vintage roots of the Original Wayfarer, here are some Ray-Ban sunglasses that will make a great addition to your collection…

The unisex Ray-Ban RB2140 frame is the first and the original. There have been improvements since it first launched back in the 50s but the core of the design is essentially the same. Never mess with a timeless classic.

history of wayfarers ray ban 1950s

Ray-Ban RB2140 Original Wayfarer

For something updated, go for the Ray-Ban RB2132 New Wayfarer, which comes in a huge selection of styles and colourways. Our collection alone features 43 different designs ranging from polarised lenses, flash lenses, gradient lenses, rubber frame or matte finish. The options are endless…

history of wayfarers

Ray-Ban RB2132 – New Wayfarer

Budget Alternatives

Don’t want to splash out on a pair of Ray-Bans just yet? If you’re looking for a cheap option of wayfarer glasses, take a look at some of the shades from our budget collection…

Our Savannah S8122 sunglasses are just £10.00 and they make a great Ray-Ban dupe. They even come with the designer-inspired metal detailing on the frame front, giving them an authentic look.

ray ban dupe

Savannah S8122

Or if you want some high-tech lenses that don’t cost as much as our high-end range, these Univo SP158 shades with polarised lenses for reducing glare are available to buy for just £18.30! And there are 3 stylish colours to choose from…

ray ban dupe wayfarer

Univo SP158


 Love the classic design of Ray-Bans but not quite in the budget? Check out our Top 5 Dupes for the Clubmaster

Share your best pose with Wayfarer frames with #SelectSpecsSelfie

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