Every spring fashion writers and retailers alike start hunting for the hottest eyewear trends likely to dominate the summer sunglasses season. In 2017, it was all about oversized frames that all but swallowed a person’s face. The whiplash effect made tiny sunglasses the dominant style in 2018. So what’s on tap for 2019? It looks like wraparounds will be the hot ticket.
According to GQ’s Rachel Tashjian, all of the biggest names in designer sunglasses have introduced new wraparounds for this spring and summer. She says that retailers are stocking up as well. They are filling their shelves with wraparounds from Prada, Oakley, Balenciaga, and others.
Olympic Eyewear, a Salt Lake City, Utah company that designs and sells more than two dozen brands of fashion sunglasses, explains that even manufacturers of budget-friendly sunglasses are pushing wraparounds in 2019. Everyone expects them to be the big thing among millennial and Gen Z buyers.
A New Kind of Wraparound
Wraparound sunglasses are not really new. They first began appearing back in the late 1980s and early 90s while being marketed primarily to athletes looking for a little extra coverage along the sides of the face. Those early wraparounds eventually morphed into the wear-over sunglasses that became a big hit with seniors and prescription lens wearers.
What makes modern wraparounds different is their design. Older iterations of the glasses relied on separate lenses attached to the arms. The size of those extra lenses determined the amount of protection the wearer would enjoy. Today’s wraparound is decidedly different.
Many of the latest styles dispense with the separate lenses in favor of a single-piece design. In some cases, the lenses are curved and mounted in frames that gently move around the sides of the face with elegance and ease. These are the kinds of wraparounds typically favored by athletes.
Another option are those sunglasses that still rely on the 90° angle between face and arm. But rather than utilizing a hinged arm that folds out of the way, arms are part of the single-piece frame construction. This sort of design is compatible with folding up your sunglasses and getting them out of the way, but they still achieve the primary function of the wraparound with a new look that many will see as cutting-edge.
Look for New Names
Olympic Eyewear says that consumers can expect a few new names this year as well. In other words, some designers are avoiding the term ‘wraparound’ out of fear that it is too old. They want their sunglasses to appeal to a younger and more modern audience, so they are redefining the terms they use.
One of the more common options is the term ‘racers’. It is applied to wraparound intended for cyclists and car racing enthusiasts. They sport just the right amount of edginess and style without going off the deep end.
Other names include ‘shields’, ‘blades’, ‘bikers’, ‘sports sunglasses’ and, believe it or not, ‘wraps’. Regardless of the name though, a wraparound is what it is. So it might behoove conscientious designers who do not want customers thinking of the past to avoid talking about the origins of wraparounds.
In closing, every summer sunglasses trend comes at a price. Be prepared to pay more for a new pair of wraparounds than you might pay for an equivalent pair of aviators or wayfarers. Remember the law of supply and demand here. If demand is high because a trend is hot, prices will go up accordingly. Equally low demand on sunglasses that are not currently in style will mean those styles are cheaper.