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I saw a ‘money saving' news story on one of the local news channels that discussed the value (or lack thereof) in purchasing ‘name brand' or designer sunglasses.

Long story short, the extra money that you spend on a designer label, like RayBan or Oakley, simply isn't worth it.  One thing that I never knew is that many of the labels (the two I just mentioned included) are actually owned by one company, Luxottica, so the competition between brands really isn't competition at all in many cases.

To top it off, Luxottica owns many of the retail outlets that sell the designer brand of sunglasses, including the staple of many malls, Sunglass Hut.  It's also reported that when you shop at one of these stores and pay for a pair of ‘designer label' sunglasses, upwards of 60% of your purchase is pure profit for Luxottica, and a good portion of what you're paying for at a mall store is the ridiculously high overhead that goes into operating a mall store.

In other words, don't buy designer sunglasses!  They're just not worth the extra cost.  Yes, you get the fancy little label on the side, and you may even get a little case to put the glasses in that makes you feel extra special, but even so, most of what you're paying for is rent, employees, and most importantly, to line the pockets of some already rich investors.

I have never had a pair of designer sunglasses.  I guess I've always been too cheap to buy one, and now I'm glad of that!

My experience is that I will buy most of my sunglasses from one of the kiosk stores at the mall that sells ‘compare to' styles of the designer brands.  Chances are, they're identical or practically identical.  I know that I'm still paying for overhead, but the overhead at a kiosk has to be pennies on the dollar compared to a store.  The rent charge is obviously much lower, and there's only one employee at a time at most kiosks.  Most of the sunglasses I've purchased here have been in the $15-20 range, and I've been satisfied most of the time.

Personally, I find that, for me, sunglasses reach their end of life under one of the following circumstances:

  • They go out of fashion and/or I get sick of them
  • I lose them
  • I drop them and scratch the lenses

I've had a couple of pairs that have started to fall apart, where a screw might start working itself loose repeatedly, but considering that I can buy five or six pairs of the type I typically buy for the same price that one pair of ‘designer' pair cost, I am confident that I have still come out ahead.

Way ahead.