From "The Start of Something Big," our June 2011 photo feature showing the prototypes and early versions of iconic Orange County products:
Form met function, and a must-have piece of gear for outdoor athletes was born. Jim Jannard founded Oakley after designing a motorcycle handgrip which became sticky when wet—crucial for motocross riders. He expanded his business beyond the motocross world with the Eyeshade, developed at the company’s first office in Laguna Hills. Users could swap out the eye protector and adjust the ear stems of the mostly nylon eyewear, of which Jannard once said “you could run over these things with a truck” without them breaking. “It was instinctive for me to make something unique to sell,” he once told an interviewer, “as opposed to something just like everybody else was selling.” Jannard moved Oakley—named after his dog—to Foothill Ranch in 1997 after taking the company public two years earlier. Four years ago he sold it for more than $2.1 billion.
By Scott Martelle
These vintage shades are an O.C. icon, but we want to see how you look in yours. Show us your Oakleys!