Monday, June 9, 2008

Way Fashionable, Wayfarer

They are back and they are the new hottest thing in fashion. If seen without a pair, you will support the consequences!

After it was introduced in 1952, it took almost a decade for Ray-Ban Wayfarer to achieve fashion icon status after Audrey Hepburn’s “breakfasted” outside the windows at Tiffany’s in 1961 in a Givenchy dress, pearls and a pair of classic Wayfarers. Dan Aykroyd & John Belushi rocked Wayfarers as The Blues Brothers (1980), as did Madonna, Deborah Harry of Blondie, Elvis Costello, members of U2 and, of course, Tom Cruise in 1983’s Risky Business.

The 70 year old label is now re-branding, taking advantage of their longtime links to hip music & movies. When we began to look at how we wanted to strategically position the brand, we came to an easy and natural conclusion that in the history of our product we have a gold mine Marcello Favagrossa, Ray-Ban's brand director recently told WWD. So now what we are trying to do is dig out the gold nuggets. But the challenge behind promoting a history of a brand is how do you convey the message that it's always modern? Then we began addressing the brand's longtime association with rock 'n' roll, and we realized it would be a perfect thing to focus on. We wanted to stress the American DNA of the brand, but also let it be a bit rough around the edges.

Interestingly, when WWD compiled its WWD 100, Ray-Ban was the fifth most recognized accessory (after Liz Claiborne, Nine West, Gucci and Coach). The iconography of the brand is closely linked with the movie industry, as well as the music industry. And that created a magic that has moved with the brand. But when we acquired it, the business results were not as healthy as the image and reputation, explains Fabio D'Angeloantonio, group marketing director of Luxottica which acquired the Ray-Ban from Bausch & Lomb in 1999.

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