Words: Ellen Kenny
Your dad’s uber-practical wraparound sunglasses have made their way to all your favourite festivals and raves.
This summer, celebrities, rave-aficionados and indie kids alike have all started wearing wraparound sunglasses. You know, the sunglasses that dads, cyclists and Matrix characters can’t get enough of.
Wraparounds first emerged as rave-fashion in the 1990s before becoming the more practical sporting choice. They’ve been growing in popularity for the last two years, and now searches for “sports sunglasses” are at a growing peak in Ireland.
Combined with the enduring popularity of Y2K trends, festival-goers now look like they have a date with Paris Hilton at 18:00 and the Tour de France at 20:00.
This bug-eyed look may seem like an odd fashion statement, but wraparound sunglasses have some real practical and aesthetic benefits for all styles.
Listen, we all know that the world is pretty much ending. Or at the very least, it definitely feels like it’s going to end. Between pandemics, climate change and whatever is going on in the Dáil today, survival is more of an aspiration than a bare minimum.
But of course, the biggest hurdle we face is the return of festivals. We all missed the thrill of live music, of dancing in a field with strangers, of overpriced drinks. But we didn’t miss everything about those big summer weekends.
Personally, I did not lay awake at night missing the sensation of someone’s drink spilling on my face after they held it too high in the air. Or the feeling of looking at myself in the mirror, my eyes telling a dark, harrowing tale of the night before, before heading out for another day of chaos.
Wraparound sunglasses are the apparent solution to these problems. Cyclists (and the guy from the Matrix) have already been using sports sunglasses for practical reasons: protecting their eyes from dirt, dust, bugs and sunlight.
Now, sports sunglasses are protecting brave soldiers on the battlefields of live gigs. The wide fit across can protect your eyes from flying alcohol and strobe lights, so you don’t need to slow down the craic.
The glasses also completely block out your eyes. So you don’t need to worry about the bags under your eyes developing bags of their own, no one will see them. Protect people from the zombie lurking underneath those sunglasses.
After two years of summer lockdowns, these glasses can help you endure whatever a night out throws at you. With wraparound sunglasses, you can survive the apocalypse and the sesh.
Many people are now attracted to the aesthetic of sports sunglasses as well as the practicality. Wraparound sunglasses are revered for their ugliness. And they are so ugly. Wearing wraparound sunglasses is like wearing a pair of uggs to your wedding.
But that’s exactly the appeal of sports sunglasses now. Maximalist fashion is on the rise, and irony is always an excellent fashion choice. Topping your chicest club fit with a pair of glorified goggles? I’m obsessed.
And despite being very clunky and distinct, wraparounds can actually be quite versatile. Depending on what you wear with them, you can look like you’re trying to get into Berghain in Berlin or trying to be the cool uncle who takes the kids out fishing for the day.
Of course, all the biggest brands have co-opted the wraparounds and turned them into luxury goods. So if you’re a billionaire who wants to look like a biker, head to Balenciaga for their 249 dollar wraparounds. Or Dior for the bargain price of 630 dollars.
No matter the brand, just make sure you’re apocalypse-ready for the next big festival.
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