Oakley, Inc.

Oakley, Inc., based in Lake Forest, California, and a subsidiary of Italian corporate giant Luxottica based in Milan, designs, develops and manufactures sports performance equipment and lifestyle pieces including sunglasses, sports visors, ski/snowboard goggles, watches, apparel, backpacks, shoes, optical frames, and other accessories. Most items are designed in house at their head office, but some countries hold exclusive designs relevant to their market. Oakley currently holds more than 600 patents for eyewear, materials, and performance gear.[2][3]

Oakley, Inc.
Founded1975 (1975)
FounderJim Jannard
Key people
Jim Jannard: Chairman[1]
Productssunglasses, clothing, eyeglasses 


Oakley was started by James Jannard in 1975 out of his garage with an initial investment of $300. The name "Oakley" came from Jim's English Setter, "Oakley Anne." Jannard began by selling what he called 'The Oakley Grip' out of the back of his car at motocross events. His motorcycle grips were unlike other grips available at the time. The material is still used to make the earsocks on Oakley glasses, and many of the nose pieces and now the bands of their watches. Oakley went on to produce number plates, gloves, grips, elbow guards, chin guards, and goggles for the BMX and motocross communities.[4] After selling Oakely Inc. to Italian Eyeware company Luxottica Group in 2007, founder James Jannard went on to found Red Digital Cinema.

In 1980, Jannard released a pair of goggles called the O-Frame. With the 'Oakley' logo present on the strap, the brand garnered increasing recognition and prominence throughout the sports industry.[5] In 1983, Oakley began selling ski goggles.[6]

The first Oakley sunglasses; Factory Pilot Eyeshades, were sport-oriented, resembling goggles and were released in 1984. These were followed in 1985 by the Oakley Frogskin, a casual sunglass style that was made in Japan.[4]

The company went public in 1995, raising $230 million.[7]

In early 1996, Oakley had a pricing dispute with Italian company Luxottica, the world's largest eyewear manufacturers and retailers. Luxottica stopped carrying Oakley's products in their stores, including Sunglass Hut, and Oakley's stock market value declined 33%.[8][9]

In 2001, Oakley bought Iacon, Inc., operator of mall-based sunglasses stores Sunglass Designs, Sporting Eyes, and Occhiali da Sole.[10]

Oakley signed a four-year agreement to manufacture eyewear designed by themselves and Fox Racing in September 2004.[11]

Starting in 2004, Jannard bought large quantities of Oakley stock: $2 million in 2004, $16 million in 2005, and $4.6 million in early 2006, bringing his personal stake in the company to 63%.[12]

In 2006, Oakley acquired the Oliver Peoples group, a manufacturer of high-end fashion branded eyewear (under the Oliver Peoples, Mosley Tribes, and Paul Smith brands) for $55.7m,[13] and Optical Shop of Aspen, a luxury eyewear retailer with fourteen stores.[14]

On June 21, 2007, Luxottica announced a plan to purchase Oakley in a cash deal worth $2.1 billion, paying a 16% premium over the extant share price.[15] The deal was completed on November 15, 2007, making Oakley part of a portfolio that includes brands such as Ray-Ban, Persol, and Vogue.[16][17]

During the preparations for the ultimately successful rescue of thirty-three miners trapped for ten weeks in a Chilean mine in October 2010, a journalist covering the story contacted Oakley about donating sunglasses to the rescue effort, aware that the miners would need eye protection after having spent weeks in darkness. Oakley donated 35 pairs of its Radar sports glasses, fitted with specially selected tints.[18]

Oakley sponsored members of the US Olympic Team in 2012.[19]

In August 2013, Oakley sold its REVO brand to Sequential Brands for $20m.[20][21][22]

In September 2015, Oakley shutdown the website of its outlet arm Oakley Vault, while continuing it's brick and mortar retail presence of the brand. [23][24]

Technical innovation

Most of Oakley's technological designs, fashion pieces, gear, etc. were developed with extensive athlete input and testing in the field – including extreme conditions. Oakley also maintains US Standard Issue, which provides U.S. military and law enforcement eye protection. Oakley M Frame sunglasses are included as part of the U.S. Army's Authorized Protective Eyewear List (APEL), and have been assigned a National Stock Number (NSN) for ordering through military supply channels.[25] The company has also built at least one 'golf hovercraft', intended as an all terrain replacement for conventional golf carts, in partnership with the professional golfer, Bubba Watson.


  1. "Oakley Profile". Investor.oakley.com. Retrieved April 19, 2012.
  2. "Oakley Company Profile". Retrieved July 31, 2016.
  3. "Oakley, Inc". www.sec.gov. Retrieved 2017-05-26.
  4. Caldwell, Michael (11 July 2014). The Unknown Billionaires: The life stories of 50 self-made men and women. eBookPartnership.com. pp. 84–89. ISBN 978-0-9784620-8-6.
  5. "Oakley History". Oakley.com. Retrieved April 19, 2012.
  6. "Oakley Inc". Retrieved June 9, 2010.
  7. Leibowitz, Ed. "LA Times: A Trip to Planet Oakley". LA Times. Retrieved November 4, 2012.
  8. "Sticker shock: Why are glasses so expensive?". 60 Minutes. CBS News. October 7, 2012. Retrieved October 19, 2012.
  9. "History of Oakley, Inc. – FundingUniverse". Fundinguniverse.com. Retrieved 2013-08-13.
  10. "Oakley to buy Iacon a sunglasses retail chain". Deseret News. 2001-09-24. Retrieved 2013-08-13.
  11. "Fox Racing Signs Sunglasses Deal With Oakley." Bicycle Retailer. September 7, 2004 April, 2012
  12. Summers, Graham (June 27, 2007). "Why the Oakley Buyout Was No Surprise". S&A Digest.
  13. "Oakley Acquires Oliver Peoples - a Leading Fashion Eyewear Brand NYSE:OO". Globenewswire.com. Retrieved 2013-08-13.
  14. "Oakley buys US luxury chain Optical Shop of Aspen". Optician Online. 2006-03-15. Archived from the original on 2014-04-29. Retrieved 2013-08-13.
  15. "Luxottica's Shade-less Deal With Oakley". Forbes. Retrieved 2013-08-13.
  16. "Luxottica acquires rival Oakley in US$2.1 billion deal; creates global eyewear superforce". TheMoodieReport.com. Archived from the original on 2013-11-12. Retrieved 2013-08-13.
  17. Schweikart, Larry; Pierson Doti, Lynne (2009). American Entrepreneur: The Fascinating Stories of the People Who Defined Business in the United States. AMACOM Div American Mgmt Assn. pp. 15–16. ISBN 978-0-8144-1412-5.
  18. "Sports Sunglasses Can Aid Chilean Miners' Transition". Fox News Channel. Associated Press. October 13, 2010. Retrieved October 14, 2010.
  19. "Oakley and Olympic Gold Medalist Kerri Walsh Reveal "BEYOND REASON" Installation". Marketing Weekly News   via HighBeam Research (subscription required) . July 7, 2012. Archived from the original on September 21, 2014.
  20. Kari Hamanaka. "Oakley Sells REVO Brand for $20M | Orange County Business Journal". Ocbj.com. Retrieved 2013-08-13.
  21. Young, Vicki M. (5 August 2013). "Sequential Buys Revo Brand From Oakley Inc". WWD. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  22. "Sequential Brands Group Announces Acquisition of the REVO Brand". sequentialbrandsgroup.com. Sequential Brands Group. Retrieved 28 May 2015.
  23. "Oakley Vault online to close..." Oakley Forum. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  24. "Oakley Vault closed for good?". Oakley Forum. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  25. Transforming the defense industrial base a roadmap. DIANE Publishing. 2003. pp. 27–30. ISBN 978-1-4289-8277-2.
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