Top Gun: Maverick and Year 2000 nostalgia are now fueling the sunglasses industry

The popularity of Top Gun: Maverick goes beyond box office receipts. The film, which has grossed over $1 billion, is also helping to boost UK sales of Tom Cruise aviator sunglasses. It is a repeat of the storyline that followed the 1986 release of the original Superior gunwhich boosted sales of the original Ray-Ban.

A spokesperson for David Clulow, one of the UK’s biggest sunglass retailers, says the classic RB3025 Aviator—Top Gun is one of its best-selling sunglasses this summer, at £184 ($218), with Ray-Ban Wayfarer smart glasses at £329.

Smaller sunglass brands are also seeing increased demand from fashion-focused Gen Z customers who want Kim Kardashian-inspired “Y2K” looks reminiscent of turn-of-the-century fashion.

The most popular designs in the UK are round shaped frames which suit any gender, face shape or style.

At David Clulow, Oliver Peoples’ £287 round ‘Gregory Peck’ made the best-seller list, as did the £147 ‘Hawkeye’, a new design with rounded edges.

At MONC on London’s Chiltern Street, founder Freddie Elborne says the shop’s best-seller is the “Kallio”, a unisex round frame that seems to suit almost everyone.

Similarly, John Pritchard, founder of Brighton-based Pala Sunglasses, estimates that 65% of his company’s sales come from round-framed models. Pala’s best-selling pair is the “Lich”, a round tortoiseshell. “It’s our perennial bestseller,” he says.

Ackeem Ngwenya, CEO of Berlin-based Reframd, which makes 3D-printed designs to suit various face shapes, says London and the UK are the company’s third-largest market, where its rounder styles such as ” Umoya” and “Yao” are the most popular. Both sell for £208.

Betty Bachz, founder and creative director of independent eyewear brand MOY Atelier, a more edgy brand, is also seeing a surge in popularity for rounder shapes. Its bestseller is the ‘Osiris’, a £195 medium-to-small oval shape with a twist, ‘revamped for the modern consumer in London’.

She believes her popularity is driven by the Y2K-inspired looks worn by Kardashian and Bella Hadid.

“Everything in fashion now is very stylish Y2K. That’s also the case with eyewear,” says Bachz. People want “Matrix-y, cyberpunk and sporty looks. Generation Z all wear Balenciaga and Oakley cycling glasses. It’s all about Brad Pitt and Gwyneth Paltrow circa 1990.”

The searing heat also spurred interest in sunglasses. Last week the UK Met Office issued a warning against wearing ‘cheap’ sunglasses without proper UV protection. Elborne says “the heatwave has made a difference” to MONC sales, with people heading to his shop to buy a pair when the sun is out or just before heading overseas.

Yet fashion continues to dictate sunglasses sales. The year 2000 revival could affect when people buy sunglasses and when they wear them. Bachz says her customers are “increasingly wearing sunglasses in the fall and winter, and even indoors.” Pritchard at Pala says his clients are motivated differently. “As a brand, we chase the sun around the world. In the UK we are generating a lot of interest ahead of March Break. »

“Then when summer is over and October rolls around, I start spending time in Australia: Christmas with sunglasses.”

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