Charting the relentless rise of the sporty sunglasses trend

PHOTOGRAPHY BY Tane Coffin for Poppy Lissiman


Not your dad’s wraparounds.

Affectionately known by Australian youths everywhere as ‘speed dealers’, the humble wraparound sunglasses have officially made their surprising debut in the fashion world. Once associated with ’90s-era skaters, rave attendees, our disgraced former Prime Minister and icon Kathleen Darleen Day-Knight, sporty sunnies have officially joined the exclusive ‘ugly trend’ family.

An ‘ugly trend’ can often be categorised by its ‘dad appeal’. Chunky sneakers, sweater vests and ill-fitting straight leg jeans have all been loved by dads at one point in history, which makes them somehow irresistible to the new generation of fashion girlies. It’s a phenomenon I don’t entirely understand but I’ve conceded to it regardless – we’ve joked that the Fashion Journal team loves to dress like Larry David.

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Now, not all speed dealer sunglasses are created equal. According to Highsnobiety, Oakley was one of the first labels to establish the speed dealer/high fashion crossover, with the brand’s rimless, reflective shades (a cyclist favourite) worn on the runways of Louis Vuitton, Heron Preston and Maison Margiela.


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After Oakley made its initial high fashion debut in 2018, the silhouette was quickly picked up by a slew of the internet’s biggest fashion trendsetters: the Hadid sisters, Kim Kardashian and Rihanna. But why do we like it so much? Well, fashion is intrinsically cyclical – which means nostalgia often plays an underlying part in our inexplicable love for trends like kitschy sweaters, ‘mom jeans’ and everything Y2K.

Like Graduation-era shutter shades and bug-like Balenciagas, sporty sunglasses are just the right amount of daggy. Wearing them tells the world, ‘I’m stylish, but I would never take fashion seriously’. They’re also sun-safe (pair with a wide-brimmed hat and colourful zinc for ultimate dad-at-the-beach steeze) and aerodynamic in design, which is super helpful if you’re trying to run really fast for whatever reason.


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A post shared by Reality Eyewear (@realityeyewear)

Differing slightly from the 2018 Oakleys, the 2022 sporty sunglasses iteration is slightly more refined (a sentence I never thought I’d say). Australian accessories designer Poppy Lissiman paid homage to the trend in her lightweight Caidyn frames, while local label Reality Eyewear popularised the sleek speedies in The Rush. Bum bag optional.

For more on the sporty sunglasses trend, head here.

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