On Oakley Frogskins…

On Oakley Frogskins…


In pop culture, it was a time like no other. Ronald Reagan was in the White House, “The Terminator” was in the box office and Run-D.M.C. was in certified gold. It was also the time when Oakley created one-of-a-kind sunglasses called Frogskins. We resurrected the original tooling from the early ’80s to produce new limited editions, giving you a chance to own a piece of history.

For each original color combination of this coveted style, limited quantities will be produced. This is an opportunity to own a rare retro classic, and once supplies are gone, the window of opportunity will be closed forever.

-Oakley Website

A bit of marketing nonsense?  Yes.  But really there are no other sunglasses quite like them.  One could argue that they are the embodiment of the youthful and outlandish spirit; I certainly would.  They dress the faces of preps (ever walk down Nobadeer beach?), skaters (Sean White had his own version) and menswear legends (Luca Rubinacci at Pitti 85) alike.  The color combinations are inimitable, although some have tried.  The Frogskin influence is now so strong that the brands that once influenced Oakley are now being influenced by Oakley.  Notice how Ray-Ban has been hitting customers with its classic models in flashy patterns and a plethora of colors?  Ever heard of Knockaround or Nectar?  I guarantee neither of these things would’ve happened as such if it wasn’t for Frogskins.

It only takes one quick glance at a pair of Frogskins to notice that they are rooted in the aesthetic of the Ray-Ban Wayfarer.  But they have been filtered through the eyes of Oakley.  They are slimmer, sportier and lighter.  Additionally, a notch was added to the nose giving them their signature frame shape.  The colors are anything but classic; neons, clears, mattes, solids.  And just about anything else you can imagine.  The lenses are often of Oakley’s signature Iridium, which not only helps limit glare but also totally add to the panache of the glasses.  Color combinations are seemingly endless.  Not to mention you can take off and replace the lenses and arms of any given pair; notable foresight on the Oakley side of things.

The legend started in 1985, back when Oakley was essentially a no name brand out of California.  I wasn’t even born then.  But then again, many of the things I like came about well before my birth.  In short time they helped catapult Oakley to the forefront of the eye wear industry. In fact, I have a theory that Frogskins were the first choice for eye wear in Top Gun, not aviators.  However, there’s the whole historical accuracy thing with aviators and I doubt Scientology would look too kindly on something so bad ass.  But I guarantee you two things, Goose would’ve killed it in Frogskins (no pun intended) and Frogskins had some hand in the fall of the Soviet Union, don’t ask me how, just go with it.  Well, actually, I’ll tell you how.  Oakley came out with Old Glory Frogskins, they deserve a post to themselves though.

However, sadly, after a few years Frogskins became extinct.  The sunglasses loving world was decimated and we were all worse off because of it.  Quality style plummeted in the 90s (not that it was any good in the 80s), grunge rockers, ill-advised hip hoppers and metrosexuals seemed to have a run of the style game; we were all worse off for that…  Luckily things picked up soon into the 21st century and in 2007 Oakley decided it was in their (and our) best interest to re-introduce the legendary Frogskins to the world.  Since then collectors (including myself) have salivated over limited editions, collaborations and favored colorways.  And Oakley, to do its part has answered our calls and cries with ample resourcefulness.  I would consider it one of the highest honors to do a design collaboration on Frogskins; but for now I just get to hope and dream.  But for now thankfully Frogskins are back.  And better than ever.

For a more thorough history on Frogskins refer here and here.

 Note: FYGblog is not in any way associated with Oakley or its competitors.  This piece was written out of love.