Fashion Design » Steampunk Fashion

Vintage Goggles - Making a Fashion Statement Out of Vintage Safety Goggles

Originally designed to protect the eyes of welder, motorists and aviator’s, goggles of all types are making a comeback as a fashion statement, particularly among the Steampunk and Goth subcultures. Vintage goggles dating from World War I and II are frequently the most sought after lenses, and they aren’t just worn covering the eyes. The fashionable look includes goggles slung around the neck or topping off hats, caps and top hats.

Designed for safety, goggles have a variety of applications -- from protecting welder’s from flying bits of particles, to protecting scientists from splashed chemicals, to protecting cyclists, skiers, motorists and aviators from the elements -- dust, wind and blinding sunlight. What makes a pair of goggles different from a standard pair of sunglasses is the protective screen around the corners of the eyes, called side curtains. On vintage goggles, the protective molding that fully surrounds the eye is often made of leather, but it can also be fashioned from wire mesh or glass, as well. Vintage goggles most frequently are fastened with cloth ties or with arms that hook down over the ears tightly so they won’t slip off. Contemporary goggles are more likely to have either arms or an elastic headband, depending on who they are made for.

There are two major goggle manufacturer whose products are highly sought after on the collectibles market. The first is the Jeantet Company, a French manufacturer of spectacle frames. In 1929, they introduced a new design onto the marketplace, called Aviator Goggles, and they were marketed to sportsmen, particularly motorcyclists, aviators and drivers. The company has been in business ever since and in 1992 they actually started up production once again on their famous aviator goggles.

The other manufacturer to be on the look out for is the American company, Willson. Still manufacturing safety goggles today, Willson has been in business since before World War I and their vintage military goggles are highly sought after by collectors. Willson produced a whole range of safety goggles, even ladies’ motorcycle goggles, and if you see a pair of those on Ebay, grab them! They’re quite rare.

Emma Martin is a big fan of vintage fashion, particularly goggles with a Steampunk aesthetic and antique pocket watches. Complete your own fashion statement with the perfect pair of Vintage Goggles