Many sunglasses styles of the 1990s were continuations of lines begun in the 1980s with only the most subtle and nuanced variations incorporated. However, the 1990s also saw the rise of very light and flexible sunglasses frames which could take plenty of abuse and still bounce back into shape. Active sports enthusiasts liked how light they were, and companies such as Maui Jim were both an innovator of the style while also investing in high optical lens quality. Sports sunglasses in the 1990s also proliferated in "wrap" sunglasses design. The wrap design, most closely associated with Oakley, provides for a curved, wrap around frame that contours to the face and thus provides more complete eye protection on the sides. Both frame and lens were more dramatically curved than any previous design, and both required further design and manufacturing innovation such as the "X Metal" used in Oakley Juliet sunglasses. Oakley X Metal is a very lightweight titanium alloy that is combined with flex couplers to create virtually unbreakable "3D sculptured" metal frames.
Oakleys became popular with sports stars, not just due to the frame design and materials but also the futuristic styles they used in Oakley wrap sunglasses frames. However, Oakley designs could be pretty extreme in the earlier years and perhaps most popular with younger, more active consumers. Companies such as Revo and Armani also introduced wrap designs, but these were typically somewhat more traditional and thus appealed to a wider audience. Wraparound sunglasses can cover much the same surface area of the face as covered by protective goggles, and wrap sunglass lenses can have either one continuous and curved lens inclusive of the nose bridge or they can have 2 separate lenses in a more traditional design but still semicircle in shape. During the 1990s, many celebrities became synonymous with the sunglasses they wore such as Michael Jackson and his mirrored Ray-Ban aviators and his Cazal 623 sunglasses in the Bad music video and Arnold Schwarzenegger wearing Persol 58230 Ratti sunglasses in the 1991 movie Terminator 2.
In the late 1990s, Hip-hop fashion developed into a style more distinct from other sporty styles, characterized by baggy jeans, hooded sweatshirts, football jerseys, puffy jackets, and large gold chains. Sunglasses comprised an important part of the Hip-Hop fashion statement as performers adopted high fashion designer sunglasses as part of their everyday look. Many celebrities from this dynamic segment of the music industry during the 1990s were attracted to flashy yet stylish German sunglass makers Cazal and Alpina. Beyonce wore Cazal 907 sunglasses, Run DMC was seen in Cazal 607 sunglasses, MC Hammer wore Cazal 951 and 858 sunglasses, and both Jay-Z and Kanye West were often seen in Alpina M1 sunglasses. During the decade of the 90s, women also embraced flashy, oversized sunglasses like the rappers wore as celebrities like Pamela Anderson were seldom seen without her Cazal 951 sunglasses.
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