Trend for sporty sunglasses led by Kim Kardashian West, Rihanna and Rita Ora Rihanna sports the visor style in New York this month.
Rihanna sports the visor style in New York this month. Photograph: Jackson Lee/GC Images
Athleisure clothing and “ugly” trainers have dominated the catwalk in recent years. Now fashion’s infatuation with sportswear is branching out into sunglasses, with sales increasing on the high street of oversized ski goggle-style eyewear, and designer labels featuring visor styles in place of last year’s hard-to-wear shades.
The global fashion search platform Lyst has reported a 37% rise in searches for sports-inspired eyewear styles, including “ski sunglasses”, since the start of the year. Mirror goggles come in three neon colours at Urban Outfitters, while Asos is stocking styles from Jeepers Peepers in tortoiseshell to “clear flash” frames reminiscent of science-lab spectacles.
At Farfetch, Gianfranco Ferre Vintage visor sunglasses come in “Bordeaux red”, and the Prada Sport Linea Rossa collection, relaunched last year, also includes ski-inspired frames.
Crucially, the style has been given a daywear update, losing the elastic strap which makes sense on the slopes but not on the high street.
“There’s a huge trend at the moment which is seeing technical brands being adopted by the fashion crowd and borrowed for collaborations in different collections,” says Thom Scherdel, menswear buyer at Browns. “Once [ski sunglasses] are styled with different outfits, they take on a new life and suddenly look quite avant garde.”
The trend for sporty frames started last year when Kim Kardashian West was seen in cycling sunglasses at the Louis Vuitton show.
Rita Ora, too, was photographed wearing a neon-framed pair with mirror lenses and, last week, the singer Rihanna caused a stir by first wearing orange-tinted ski goggle-style sunglasses, followed by a more opaque version.
Last week the former editor-in-chief of Vogue Paris, Carine Roitfeld, a long-term fan of the visor shape, demonstrated how ski sunglasses might be set apart from the athleisure trend by pairing hers with a T-shirt from the Marc Jacobs Redux Grunge collection for Heron Preston’s menswear show.
“The visor mask has been popular with our customers who like a fashion point of view and something more unique,” says Chelsea Power, buyer at matchesfashion.com.