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Oakley’s Sees the Future and the Past

Performance sports brand Oakley opened its doors to the media to celebrate its legacy and culture. It also showed some of the new technologies it’s set to release, such as enhanced vision, digital eyewear and customization. Many of its athletes were on hand, including three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond, skier Lindsay Vonn and snowboarding legend Shawn White.

The new/old Oakley Eyeshade come in a nifty pouch and retro box.
The new/old Oakley Eyeshade come in a nifty pouch and retro box.

Oakley’s first major eyewear breakthrough, the Eyeshade, turns 30 this year. In celebration of that, the company has relaunched a special edition heritage line of their most innovative and trend-setting sunglasses: the Frogskins, Razorblades and, of course, the Eyeshade.

Oakley was founded by Jim Jannard in the mid-70s (the company was named after his dog). Jannard began with injection-moulded motocross grips and eventually moved to eyewear technology, giving birth to an entire sports category.

We were at the the Disruptive By Design launch in Los Angeles at Jinnard’s new company, RED Digital Cameras, enormous Hollywood studios. Disruptive By Design is different sort of marketing initiative: it is a rebrand without leaning on a product launch to bolster the hype. Instead, the California-based Oakley promises a bold new future, hinted at with a lavish big budget promo video produced by Montreal’s Moment Factory and narrated by Kevin Spacey.

We expect big things from Oakley in the near future. There were whisperings that they will be focusing heavily on customization and perhaps taking a run a wearable tech. CEO Colin Baden pointed out at the event’s keynote speech that his company has been exploring gear that you can wear longer than any other brand. We’re excited to see someone take on Google Glass, but with a focus on endurance sports.

Also, watch our sibling magazine Canadian Cycling’s video interview with three-time Tour de France winner and Oakley legend Greg Lamond here.