Jasodhara is Deputy Editor-Desk. She has a keen interest in global affairs, which led her to study international relations in the UK, and complete a fellowship on India-China relations from the University of Oxford. And she always loves a good story, whether in fiction or in journalism.
Genevieve Labrecque, Ray-Ban’s global head of marketing. Image: Courtesy Ray-Ban
Founded in 1936 in the US, Ray-Ban started out by making Aviator sunglasses for the country’s armed forces pilots. The specialised lenses were made to cut of the sun’s glare, and to prevent fogging. Since then, Ray-Ban has, over the decades, become one of the most recognised brands of sunglasses the world over, gaining an iconic status. Genevieve Labrecque, the brand’s global head of marketing, talks to Forbes India about how the brand continues to be trendy, while remaining iconic. Edited excerpts:
Q. What have been the defining features of Ray-Ban glasses since their inception? It all began with our anti-glare lens created for the Aviator in the 1930s, often popularised by pilots. We defined our styles leaning on our lens and the functionality of our sunglasses. However, by the 1950s, fashion became more relevant and eyewear became a fashion accessory. Since that moment we’ve taken the practicality and the aesthetic of eyewear into the world’s most classic styles.
Q. How does an iconic brand like Ray-Ban maintain a balance between legacy design elements and innovation? Over the last few years, we’ve created lines geared toward re-invention, where we explored the use of different types of materials, such as titanium and 18-karat gold. Most recently, we released our ‘Mega’ line, which maintains the essence of our icons Wayfarer and Clubmaster, but re-envisions the style with a trendier, bolder acetate. Even through the innovation of our smart glasses, Ray-Ban Stories, we never lose our history, and we continue to build upon our legacy with a balance. Soon you will see our latest innovation, the Ray-Ban Reverse collection.Image: Courtesy Ray-Ban
Q. How has Ray-Ban continued to find appeal among multiple generations across decades? We continue our appeal by leaning into our iconicity, but also create offerings that appeal to younger audiences like the Gen Z. As a consumer, Gen Z customers are vocal, they are bold, colourful, and care about certain causes like the environment. In some of our latest collections we use materials like bio-acetate and bio-nylon that help reduced our environmental impact, along with introducing lighter-coloured, jewel tones.Also read: In fashion, 'quiet luxury' speaks volumes to those in the know
Q. What is the position it maintains vis-à-vis luxury brands? Ray-Ban is for everyone who can embody authenticity and being courageous within themselves. Self-expression is at the forefront of our brand identity, and we use that to ground us in our position.
Q. How has Ray-Ban’s messaging through advertisements evolved over the decades, and different media? We try to evolve with our consumers. In our ‘Genuine Since’ campaign, we created a platform to tell stories about the moment that has defined the most authentic version of yourself. The ‘Since’ is that moment where you felt you could be the truest version of yourself, without compromises. The campaign explores courageous stories, where characters lead from the heart instead of standing still from fear.Image: Courtesy Ray-BanAlso read: How fashion accessories are finding a new role in the age of social media
Q. Which have been Ray-Ban’s largest markets, and where does India feature? Our top market starts in the US, where we as a brand started. However, we are one of the most recognised brands in the world and continue to thrive globally. In India, our presence and interest continue to grow because eyewear is a top accessory over things like watches.