Ray-Ban is known worldwide as an innovator in sunglasses design. Perhaps their most famous offering is the “aviator” style. The curved, round lenses have helped pilots see in blinding sunlight for almost a century. They have also been one of the most stylish and provocative fashion trends since their inception. But, Ray-Ban isn’t the only manufacturer of aviator sunglasses.
In fact, many other brands offer their own modified aviator versions. Although some might think that you shouldn’t mess with the original, there’s something to be said about the innovation in a few of these aviators.
1. Dries Van Noten SDVN55
Dries Van Noten is perhaps more notable for his flashy dresses than sunglasses, but there is something undeniably chic about the SDVN55 modified aviators. They offer a decidedly unique take on the traditional aviator design by adding a metallic brow bar that contrasts with the otherwise dark color of the rims.
The shape of the frames also provides a unique flair that you’re simply not going to find with most aviator styles. Dries Van Noten certainly proves that you don’t have to be Ray-Ban to make excellent Aviators.
2. SUPER 49er Square Aviator Sunglasses
As the name might suggest, these 49er aviators come in a distinctive gold and velvety red color. They are also somewhat antithetically square. Most aviators have very round lenses, but these square aviators decided to buck the trend. They’ve also given a nod to Ray-Ban’s Clubmaster design with the golden top rim around the lenses.
These are, without question, a unique pair of sunglasses that will certainly bring on some admiring stares.
3. Oakley Plaintiff
The Oakley Plaintiff is almost as stylish as the original Ray-Ban Aviators. The thick rims and titanium hinges make for a decidedly sturdy design. You’ll be able to flex the hinges without damage for much longer than you would on traditional aviators.
The lenses themselves provide ample protection from UV rays. Indeed, Plaintiffs are a sort of throwback in that they keep everything about the original aviator design; they just make it stronger.
4. Von Zipper Decco
Von Zipper (a subsidiary of Billabong) is well-known for its sportswear, and they also dabble in the arena of sunglasses. The Von Zipper Deccos are wrap-around aviators that provide protection from the sun while you’re out probably doing extreme sports. The big lenses offer protection in just about every angle and the thick polycarbonate frame can withstand all your major slips and falls.
Of course, you don’t have to be Tony Hawk to wear these shades.
All in all, there are lots of aviator options that don’t require you to become a Ray-Ban fanatic. Although there’s certainly nothing wrong Ray-Bans (and a lot of things are right with them), you may want to buck the trend and pave your own trail. You can try out any of these four options, or look for some modified aviators on your own.
In any event, you’re bound to get plenty of protection for your precious eyeballs and some style points to boot.
Carly Day writes part-time when she is not living in the fashion world. She is a photographer and freelancer who can be seen daily on Miami Beach, keeping up with celebrities and the fashion that they wear.