Conceived 80 yrs ago, neon-tinted sunglasses still adding bling to life

PUNE: They were invented over 80 years ago, served pilots during great wars and today, have evolved to include the latest in fashion and colours. Sunglasses now come in quirky colours, shapes and sizes. Utility, it seems, has accomodated changing trends. Even the hottest colours of the season — neons — find a reflection in the sunglasses market.
"The thing about neon-tinted sunglasses is that they can actually brighten your look, even if you are wearing plain and dull colours. There are days when I am not in a mood to dress up for work. All I do is pair my blue jeans with a white shirt, and put on my green-tinted sunglasses. It actually does wonders," said Minal Chowdhury, a 26-year-old marketing professional.

"These sunglasses are a hit with the youth, especially in the age group of 15 to 30 years," said Dharmesh Dulera, the proprietor of Shivaji's Optic Zone in Koregaon Park.

These sunglasses come in some of the quirkiest shapes — oversized aviators, frames with visors, circular, hexagonal and catseye frames.

Interestingly, there is also a wide price-band one can choose from. The branded ones may cost a pretty penny, but those on a tight budget can pick up unbranded neon shades — almost identical to the branded cousins — from smaller stalls and street vendors. So, while a pair of Oakley may cost over Rs10,000, similar glasses can be picked up from a street vendor for a cool Rs200.
Rakesh Jha, an FC Road, street vendor, stocks these sunglasses priced between Rs150 and Rs 300. However, he has an interesting explanation for their popularity. "These glasses have a better cooling effect as they reflect more light than usual glasses," said Jha.
Meanwhile, Duleral said sales soared over the past seven months. Besides, international companies, many home brands too are making these glasses. "The Indian brands are cashing in on the trend set by youth icons like Varun Dhawan, Alia Bhatt and Salman Khan by endorsing these products," he said.
Having said that, bright shades also walk the thin line between trendy and tacky. "Though these colours are trendy, there is always a chance that you may look 'loud'. Neon-tinted sunglasses usually look good when teamed up with subtle colours," said Trisha Zaveri, a Koregaon Park resident.

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