For many, Oakley has always represented the best in sports related eyewear and purpose related fashion and have always innovated within those fields. More recently there has been a general opinion that the brand has failed to keep up with the wider fashion industry and their demands to constantly reinvent season after season. Even though Oakley’s formula is loved by many a more brand-centric millennial or Gen Z individual may have felt the brand is no longer hyped.
Oakley who were once famous for being at the forefront of youth culture may have been relying too heavily on their successes through the 80’s and 90’s. Their signature sports Aesthetic may have confined them to one area of the market and with that there’s a feeling that their core fan-base has grown older, had kids, and ditched the skateboards in favour of reliable German cars. This reliance has dramatically changed as Oakley’s have set out on a mission to re-engage with not just a younger audience but a more brand conscientious audience. Exactly how does a brand re-image itself and stay relevant in an industry which is constantly reinventing the wheel? In an industry where irony, self-reflection and re-appropriation are common themes, is there enough space for brand like Oakley to be relevant outside the sport related formula?
To start; Oakley seem very self aware and rather than change the formula completely have opted for a really interesting approach to penetrate new markets. Its all about collaboration and although most of Oakley’s collab efforts may have gone under the radar, there are strong signs of that quintessential Oakley innovation and creativity. Its exciting to see designers re-imagining Oakley classics and even completely re-appropriating Oakley’s aesthetic to meet their own message.
Check out some of these examples!