OakleyPosted in Articles, Oakley
Oakley, Inc., based in Foothill Ranch, California, makes sport equipment including sunglasses, sports visors, and ski goggles, as well as watches, clothing, bags, backpacks, shoes, prescription glasses, football (American) and hockey eyewear, Golf gear and other accessories. Oakley currently holds more than 600 patents for eyewear, materials and performance gear.
Oakley was started by Jim Jannard in 1975 in his garage with an initial investment of $300. The name Oakley came from Jannard’s dog, an English Setter. 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 available at the time, using a patented material known as UNOBTANIUM(TM), a unique creation by Jannard. The material is still used to make the earsocks on Oakley glasses, and many of the nose pieces. Oakley went on to produce number plates, gloves, grips, elbow guards, chin guards, and goggles for the BMX and Motocross communities.
In 1980, Jannard released a pair of goggles called the O-Frame. With the ‘Oakley’ logo present on the strap, the brand garnered increasing recognition and prominence throughout the Sports World. In 1983 Oakley began selling ski goggles.
The first Oakley sunglasses, Factory Pilot Eyeshades, were sport-oriented, resembling goggles. These were followed by the Oakley Frogskin, a casual sunglass style.
The company went public in 1995, after Jannard gave himself a bonus of $21 million. He kept 64.8 % of Oakley Inc. which was valued at about $820 million. Thanks to his very successful business, Jannard became the second richest Orange County resident with holdings valued at $627 million.
Oakley signed a four-year agreement to manufacture eyewear designed by it and Fox Racing in September 2004.
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.
During the preparations for the ultimately successful rescue of 33 miners trapped for 10 weeks in a Chilean mine in October 2010, a journalist covering the story contacted Oakley about donating sunglasses to the rescue effort, aware that the miners would need eye protection after having spent weeks in darkness. Oakley donated 35 pairs of its Radar sports glasses, fitted with specially selected tints. The glasses normally retail for US$260 per pair.
Oakley maintains a large sports team roster that includes some of the World’s top athletes in various sports. A few notable examples include: Shaun White, Ichiro Suzuki, Dorien Walker, Lance Armstrong, Ricky Carmichael, James “Bubba” Stewart, Gretchen Bleiler, Ian Poulter, Rory McIlroy, Juan Pablo Montoya, and Dario Franchitti. Some past notable Oakley athletes include Michael Jordan, David Duval, Jon Olsson and Eric Koston. Most of Oakley’s technological designs, fashion pieces, gear, etc. were developed with extensive athlete input and testing.
Oakley also maintains US Standard Issue, which provides US military and law enforcement eye protection. Very popular amongst US combat troops, Oakley M Frame sunglasses are included as part of the US Army Authorized Protective Eyewear List (APEL), and have been assigned an NSN number for ordering through military supply channels.
Oakley product testing
Oakley sunglasses comply with and exceed the ANSI Z87.1 requirements for impact and high impact protection. All Oakley glasses must pass three tests before being produced for sale.
The impact protection is one of the main tests that Oakley eyeglasses must pass. The ANSI impact tests are the gold standard for measuring safety. Most of the Oakley models also comply with Canada’s CSA Z94.3-02 protection standards.
Oakley lenses and frames are designed to protect against impact, sun and wind. The lenses are made of a patented material, called PLUTONITE(TM), that characteristically filters out 100% of all UVA, UVB, UVC and harmful blue light up to 400 nm.
Oakley’s High Definition Optics (HDO) is a collection of patented technologies that allow the eyeglasses to pass all ANSI Z87.1 optical standards. HDO technology is claimed by the company to use three-dimensional imaging to ensure that each part of the lens in the Oakley prescription eyeglasses will adhere to a consumer’s prescription with no unintended magnification.
Oakley sunglasses routinely appear in popular movies (particularly action films), including the X-Men series, Mission: Impossible 2, Blade II, Black Hawk Down, Spider-Man, Wanted, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, The Book of Eli, G.I. Jane, Green Zone, The Taking of Pelham 123, The A-Team (new version), and is worn by the operators in Medal of Honor (2010 video game).
Rappers/Producers Lil’ Jon and T-Pain are both Oakley collectors and a spokespersons/models for the company, and have several signature Oakley eyewear models.
Poker player Phil Hellmuth is sponsored by Oakley.
Weezer mentions Oakley in their song Pork and Beans.