Oakley, Inc. is a company known mostly for their high end sunglasses, football visors and ski goggles. They also make watches, clothing, bags, backpacks, shoes, prescription glasses
, football and hockey eyewear and other accessories.
Oakley was started by Jim Jannard in 1975 in his garage with an initial investment of $300. Jannard began by selling what he called 'The Oakley Grip' out of the back of his car at motocross events. His motorcycle grips were unlike other grips riders had seen at the time.
Although the grips were successful, brand recognition was limited as the grips were usually concealed by the riders' hands. In 1980, Jannard released a pair of goggles called the O-Frame. With the 'Oakley' logo present on the strap, onlookers began to recognize the brand. In 1984, Oakley introduced a pair of sunglasses called the Eyeshade, which were made of plastic and featured removable lenses. They were popularized by Tour de France winner Greg LeMond and other professional cyclists. Oakley continued to introduce new models of sunglasses including the Blades, Razor Blades, Frogskins and the Mumbos which eventually evolved into the M-Frame series of glasses.
Oakley signed a four-year agreement to manufacture eyewear designed by it and Fox Racing in September 2004. These products are sold as the Fox Eyewear brand.
In 2006, Oakley acquired the Oliver Peoples group, a manufacturer of high-end fashion branded eyewear.
On June 21, 2007, Italian group Luxottica announced a plan to merge with Oakley in a cash deal worth $2.1 billion, and the deal was completed on November 15, 2007. Oakley is now in the portfolio of Milan-based Luxottica group, along with other brands such as Ray-Ban, Persol and Vogue.
As of February 2nd, 2009, the ever-popular X-Metal Juliet's and Romeo's are discontinued, as well as all lenses associated with them.
Oakley sunglasses comply with the ANSI Z87.1 requirements for impact and high impact protection.
Unobtainium is the name of Oakley's hydrophilic (water-attracting) synthetic rubber that increases grip when wet, usually applied to the contact points of the glasses (nose and sides of the head). The Unobtainium ear socks and nose pieces tend to deteriorate under regular use. However they can be replaced by virtue of replacement kits. Unobtainium of some formula was first used in Oakley's first product, the Oakley Grips.
Oakley sunglasses routinely appear in popular movies (particularly action films) including the X-men series, Mission: Impossible 2, Blade 2, Black Hawk Down, although historically out of place, Spider-Man
The X-metal/Ruby Iridium Penny (with sideblinders not available for public) worn by James Marsden's Cyclops in X-men
was a one off lens made to look extra red for the cameras. Actor James Marsden frequently complained about headaches caused by the extreme tint. Also the visor that Cyclops uses in action is a custom made by Oakley.
Rapper/Producer Lil' Jon is both an Oakley collector and a spokesperson/model for the company, and has several signature versions of Oakley eyewear
. Lil Jon's most known Oakley is the Oil Drum.
Poker Phil Hellmuth is sponsored by Oakley. He wore Oakley gear during the inaugural World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions event. It should be noted that Hellmuth, who usually wears his UltimateBet gear, chose to wear his Oakley gear mainly because the coordinators of the event did not allow advertisement for any online poker websites. In addition, Hellmuth usually chooses to wear the Oakley THUMP when playing on the tournament circuit.
Rapper/R&B Artist T-Pain has referenced the eyewear several times in his songs, one reference can be in the Unk 2 Step Remix as well as Buy U a Drank. T-Pain's most known Oakley is the Oil Rig.
Oakley signed a deal with Ducati to produce a range of Ducati themed sunglasses and to sponsor the Ducati MotoGP and Superbike teams. Riders past and present such as Casey Stoner, Sete Gibernau and Loris Capirossi have had their own Oakley signature sunglasses. Oakley also sponsor MotoGP riders such as Nicky Hayden
Oakley also supports many racing drivers in different series. Including famous and successful drivers such as Tony Stewart who has his own limited edition set, Juan Pablo Montoya, Bobby Labonte and Gary Scelzi
The box of the computer game Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six
shows a member of special forces wearing Oakley goggles. The classic Oakley script is clearly visible on the headband. The Game Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter
features Oakley's A Frame, and O Frame tactical goggles, as well as M-frame sunglasses.
Oakley is the sole company that Lance Armstrong has a life time deal with. In June 2007 Oakley created two special edition sunglasses, one the Radar, the other, the Flak Jacket, with "LIVESTRONG" laser-etched on the lens, as well as the iconic yellow color used to represent the Livestrong moniker on the earstems and Oakley logo. In 2008, this collaboration continues with the 2008-spec Straight Jacket, and features the word 'LIVESTRONG' laser-etched on the left lens while the temples and Oakley icon are yellow following the Livestrong Foundation's color.
Oakley glasses were also featured in Weezer's new song, Pork and Beans, in the lyrics "Oakley makes the shades that transform a tool". Oakley also sponsors NASCAR figures, like star-driver Tony Stewart. Stewart is often seen wearing Oakley sunglasses
around the tracks.
Like many high-priced brand-name accessories, Oakley's sunglasses are often counterfeited and sold in markets around the world that cater to tourists and Internet buyers. Counterfeit Oakleys are often referred to as "Fauxkleys" (a portmanteau of faux and Oakleys) or "Jokeley". Counterfeit Oakleys are occasionally referred to as Oakeys (pronounced: oak-E's), this is due to an inconsistency between the spelling of "Oakley", written on the bridge, on real Oakleys and fake ones.
Have you ever wondered whether your Oakley sunglasses are real or fake? Perhaps the seller didn't instill the confidence in the authenticity that you had hoped. Maybe the discount you received was a little more than reasonable. Some of the following tips may help you avoid purchasing fake Oakley sunglasses in the future:
- All Oakley sunglasses come in a box with a bag and documentation. If your purchase doesn't include any of these, then you are probably getting a pair of replica Oakley sunglasses.
- Be careful if the price is under $75. Suggested retail price is generally several times that amount, so it is unlikely your discount is legitimate. However, just because you find discount Oakley sunglasses does not mean that they are fake. You can often find Oakley sunglasses wholesale.
- If you are buying Oakley sunglasses on eBay or another online auction, you should check the seller's feedback for an negative feedback. Make sure to read the auction description fully because there may be small print that says the Oakley sunglasses are not real. This type of auction would not be against eBay's policy.
- Do not buy a pair of Oakleys if the auction does not state somewhere in the description that the Oakley sunglasses are real or genuine. If you are still unsure, then the safest bet is to always buy at Oakley sunglasses stores.
- After you have made your purchase and received your Oakley sunglasses, it is best to check their authenticity at an authorized Oakley dealer. If there isn't one nearby, then checking the documentation that comes with the glasses should be sufficient.
- Make sure your sunglasses are not plastic if the model you chose is only made with metal. If your sunglasses are made from metal, then it is unlikely that they are imitation Oakley sunglasses, but still don't assume that they are real.
- When you are in doubt, it is simply best not to buy from an unauthorized source.
If you can't afford to buy an authentic pair, then reproduction sunglasses might be what you are looking for. There are many companies that offer some affordable imitations. Usually, fake sunglasses are difficult to spot in passing. Nobody will ever know!