Brera by Etnia Barcelona. A short history of aviator frames and why I chose the Transitions Graphite Green color.
Previously I wrote about my new favorite aviator sunglass called Brera by Etnia Barcelona. You can read that post here. Brera is part of Etnia Barcelona’s Vintage Collection which is largely inspired by designs from the 1970’s. There is something of a renaissance happening right now with thin wire rimmed optical frames, and I thought it fitting to take a short dive into aviator history.
(U.S. Army Air Corp. D-1 sunglasses made by American Optical in 1935. Via The Eyewear Blog)
It is commonly written about online that RayBan invented the aviator sunglass for World War II pilots in 1936, but this is simply not true. Advertisements for aviator shaped sunglasses date as far back as 1896. Per TheEyewearBlog.com, which is edited by eyewear historian Moss Lipow, The Warren Eye Guard is the ancestor to modern aviators and was marketed to engineers, bicyclists, motorists, and a whole host of other professionals and hobbyists in the late 1800’s. The truth is that the first company contracted to make sunglasses for the U.S. Airforce was American Optical when they began supplying their model D-1 in 1935, which bore a striking resemblance to the Warren Eye Guard. As The Eyewear Blog notes, at that time Ray Ban had not yet come into existence, but I digress.
We have established that aviator frames have been with us for well over 120 years, and we have seen aviator optical frames rise and fall in popularity over that time. We are seeing them rise now and I am looking forward to exploring new twists and turns in design and color with all my favorite indie eyewear collections. Etnia Barcelona, known for their creative color combinations, has created the Brera model in a range of colors including classic gold, a turquoise and silver combo, and my favorite the blue brown combo.
Since aviators make such a good sunglass shape, I thought to myself as I selected my new frame, what a perfect frame for a Transitions lens! I then began thinking about which color of Transitions lens I would like for this frame. That is when I decided to go with Transitions Graphite Green. Remember that first aviator made for the U.S. Airforce by American Optical, the model D-1? It was made with green lenses. So, I decided to pay tribute to the iconic eyewear design and fit my glasses with a Transitions lens I can see perfectly with at night or indoors, and then have an awesome vintage green lens tint when I am outside in the bright sun. This way I am protected from harmful UV and blue light all while expressing a classic style that I love.
(pictured: Etnia Barcelona model Brera with Transitions Lenses)