Some of us use sunglasses to hide from the harsh glare of the sun. Others use them to cover the dark circles under their eyes after a late night of mindless scrolling on their phones. And of course, there are some that simply prop on stylish sunnies on their noses just for the vibe of it.
Whatever your reason may be for wearing them, sunglasses are, without a doubt, staples in our lives. But have you ever stopped to ask how these sunglasses came to be, or if there is a day to celebrate these handy and often fashionable pieces, or how many pairs of sunnies does Sir Elton John actually own? These are some of the things that run through our heads, rent-free.
So, for the sake of indulging our inner sunnies nerds (and for the fun of it), we’ve listed 10 totally random and fun facts about the sunglasses.
Fact #1: The Inuit were the first to wear sunglasses
2000 years ago, the Inuit came up with a totally genius way of shielding their eyes from the harsh glare of the sun. At some point, they might have pinpointed that they could lessen the blinding reflection of the sun on the snow by wearing protective goggles made out of wood, leather, and animal bones. They carved in small slits on these goggles, just enough for them to see through the wood and leather—practical and simple. Of course, at that time, this crude version of what we know as sunglasses today was invented out of necessity than vanity. However, their innovation has paved the way for the stylish sunnies that we know and often use today.
Fact #2: There is a National Sunglasses Day and it’s on June 27
Save the date and show your appreciation for sunglasses this June 27! This day has officially been declared as a day for recognizing the importance of protecting your eyes and wearing shades.
Fact #3: Sir Elton John owns over a thousand pairs of sunnies
Sir Elton John would not be Sir Elton John without his unapologetic fashion sense, his music and personality, and of course, his funky sunglasses. We’ve only ever seen the music legend and fashion icon without shades a handful of times, and we can hardly recognize him without a pair of these often-outlandish-but-always-noteworthy shades. One of the items on our bucket lists is to spend an afternoon perusing his exclusive collection of over 1,000 pairs of sunglasses.
Fact #4: A pair of shades is lost or broken every quarter of an hour
In the US alone, we lose or break at least one pair of sunnies every 15 minutes. If you ask us, that’s a lot of broken pieces in a day. Don’t be part of this tragic statistic and learn to take better care of your sunnies by always putting them inside its case.
Fact #5: Sunglasses are more than just a fashion piece—they’re for your eye health
Sure, they’re pretty fun to wear and can be used to complete an outfit, but let’s not forget what sunglasses are actually for: to protect your eyes. Learn from the Inuits and protect your eyes from the harsh glare of the sun by wearing sunglasses when you’re outdoors.
Fact #6: Ray Ban Aviators are not just vintage pieces—they were originally designed for military pilots
At the request of the United States Air Force, Ray Ban designed green, anti-reflective lenses sunglasses to filter out UV and infrared rays for their pilots. Of course, these functional sunnies have now become timeless pieces that we use today.
Fact #7: Polarized sunglasses were invented in 1936
Following the Air Force’s special request for aviator shades, Edwin H. Land took this a notch higher and created polarized sunglasses. He simply incorporated his patented Polaroid filters into World War II pilot sunglasses to reduce the sun’s glare further. A year later, these polarized aviator sunglasses design was made available to the public.
Fact #8: Emperor Nero wore sunglasses
Mad emperor who played the fiddle while his empire burned to the ground—ring a bell? As it turns out, Emperor Nero had more concern for his eye health than his citizens. It is said that he wore polished emeralds to protect his eyes whenever he attended gladiator fights.
Fact #9: Sunglasses trends come and go
Much like anything that has to do with fashion, sunglasses trends come and go out of style. Whether this or the next will be a year for aviator glasses or cat-eye sunnies, we’ll wait for celebrities to tell us what’s in or not. After all, we often look to them for the hottest trends, and sunnies’ style will be no different.
Fact #10: The world of sunnies is heavily monopolized by a single brand
The Italian company Luxottica owns a whopping 75% of the sunglasses produced worldwide. Under its wings are brands such as Ray Ban, Chanel, and Burberry.