Seeing is Believing
Today’s consumers who require visual correction tend to change their glasses every 3-5 years (Euromonitor International, 2010).
31% of Americans using vision correction do so due to age-related reasons (Euromonitor International, 2010). The demand for vision-correction eyewear is expected to grow as 78 million Americans will be 65 and older by 2011 (Euromonitor International).
Outside of United States, the population of people in Asia over 65 is expected to increase by 179% between 2010 to 2040 (SCRIP Business Insights, 2011). This presents a huge market potential for the eyewear sector industry, which is now tailoring more conservative looks for frames and lighter lenses to meet the needs of the aging population (Euromonitor International, 2010).
Societal Impacts of Wearing Eyeglasses
In an experiment, undergraduate students rated people who wore glasses as more fearful, timid, mild, soft, dependent, artistic, sensitive, gentle and kind (Walline, Sinnott, Johnson, Ticak, Jones and Jones, 2008; Terry, 1989). Other studies also found glasses-wearers to be more intelligent, industrious, honest (Walline et al., 2008; Thorton, 1943, 1944), and dependable (Walline et al., 2008; Thornton, 1943).
In a study of children between 6 and 10 years old, children rated peers who wore glasses as being smarter (Walline et al., 2008). The study also suggested children may have picked up this inference from media portrayals of ‘intelligent nerds’ who wear glasses (Walline, et al.).
History has cruelly affirmed the association between eye-glasses to intelligence that during the Khmer Rouge, where civilians who wore eye-glasses were seen as intellects and thus, targeted as they were seen as threats to the regime (Chigas and Mosyakov, 2010).
Eyewear in Fashion
In its evolution over history, has also manifested itself into an image-enhancing adornment, which is particularly true for today’s men, whom, unlike their female peers, do not have many accessories to style themselves aside from glasses. This has created a string of loyal supporters of eyewear cult brands such as Ray-Ban and Police.
Ray-Ban was commissioned by Lt MacReady of US Army Air Corps in 1930 to make lenses that would protect pilots’ eyes from glare at high altitude (Handley, 2011). These ‘Ray-Ban Pilot Glasses’ were issued free to pilots though the public could purchase them (Handley).
The most popular Ray-Ban frame is the Wayfarer, designed by Ray Stegman in 1952 (Handley, 2011). The Wayfarer was worn by Marilyn Monroe in the late 1950s, and by Don Johnson in the 1980s in Miami Vice, lending some to claim that it is the best selling style in history (Handley). Ray-Ban was the official sun-glass sponsor in the Barcelona Olympics (Handley).
Police sunglasses and ophthalmic frames are one of the best known male eyewear collections. Police was launched in 1983 as an in-house brand of Italian frame manufacturer De Rigo (Handley, 2011). Police was created as a masculine eyewear brand as the designer, Bruno Palmegiani, wanted to target a youthful and urban spirit with a desire to create Police ‘addicts’ from Europe to America.
Police is renowned for the advertising campaigns featuring top celebrities. Though all were male, Police targeted both sexes as such they were seen as sex symbols for women and role models for men (Handley, 2011).
Today, Police choose to celebrate customers in their ads, hunting customers who stand out as fashion lovers through their unique and individual lifestyles and featuring them on its advertisements (Handley, 2011).