In the 1980s several styles of retro sunglasses emerged as popular trends during the decade, and sunglasses fashion started to change and take on new styles. Optyl frames could be perfectly molded to the wearer’s head and sunglasses were lighter than they’ve ever been. Plastic lenses were also lighter than mineral glass and this allowed for several more options for more comfortable retro sunglasses that were customized to the wearer. Eventually plastic lenses became far more popular than mineral lenses for their lighter weight and for being just as durable if not more durable, and during this decade many different styles of regular and retro sunglasses would be made with plastic lenses.
Clothing companies started to introduce sunglasses
One unique aspect of the 1980s was that several clothing designers like Dior and others started to introduce their own line of branded sunglasses. This added many more styles to the market and gave buyers even more options to work with than they had the 1970s. Sunglasses started to be marketed to specific niches like motorcycle riders, skiers, mountain bikers, and they started to become more specific and customized for their particular needs. There were also some new lenses that were released during the 1980s such as the Bausch & Lomb “Diamond Hard” lenses that were very difficult to scratch, as scratching was one of the main problems of many types of plastic lenses. The Diamond Hard lenses were sold under the Ray-Ban brand, and other companies started to offer similar types of scratch resistant lenses after B&L did it.
Cazal sunglasses became popular
Cazal sunglasses became popular during the 1980s and many celebrities and rappers started to wear them. They were designed by Cari Zalloni and were adopted by some of the rap pioneers who became influences to many modern hip hop and rap artists, along with other musicians. Cazal sunglasses are still known for their popularity in the rap and hip hop world, and you can still buy several retro sunglasses with the Cazal brand that were worn by some of the rap pioneers, as well as similar vintage style sunglasses from companies like Classic Specs.
Several groups started adopting their own unique styles
Cazal was just one of the brands that grew in popularity during this decade, and many other brands and styles started to emerge as different demographics and groups started to adopt particular unique and specific styles. The 1980s was the decade where individuality started to really emerge and different sub-genres started to define themselves in the popular culture, so the trends really didn’t favor any particular style of sunglasses.
However, there were traditional retro sunglasses that continued to be popular during the 1980s that had already been made popular in prior decades such as wayfarers, aviator sunglasses, and many others. New lenses became available including mirrored coatings to give the eyes extra protection in very bright conditions, better UV protection, and the market for customized retro sunglasses continued to grow during the decade.