Throwback Thursday: Inuit Snow Goggles

Jumping on the "throwback" wagon, we'll be posting something completely random from the past every Thursday (or thereabouts!) from the world of eyewear.




To kick things off, here's a little tidbit about Inuit snow goggles:

"The most ancient and widespread method for avoiding snow blindness was the use of snow goggles, a device known in northern Europe, northern Asia and northern North America...Snow goggles reduced harmful light and actually improved visibility. "
- Canadian Museum of Civilization Corperation

 

Inuit snow goggles were traditionally made for hundreds of years using caribou antler, with a strap of caribou sinew. More modern versions are sometimes made with wood. Soot was sometimes rubbed on the inside to help with glare. Inuits wore them to hunt as they helped with both the light from the sky and glare from the fallen snow.



Inspired by the unusual style of the Inuit goggles, Oliver Goldsmith created his own pair in 1968 he called - appropriately - "Slits". Not designed to be functional but rather sensational, the slits on Goldsmith's sunglasses are considerably shorter than the Inuits', which reduces the wearer's field of vision greatly.

Known for his humorous and avant-garde designs, Goldsmith's "Slits" sunglasses turn something that was carved out of necessity using recycled materials into the ultimate luxury. They were an alternative to functional sunglasses, and received a lot of press at the time of their release.

Oliver Goldsmith "Slits" 1968

This outrageous style developed and lingered in different forms in the sixties, popping up again in the nineties with thin plastic rave sunglasses. As we all know, fashion comes full circle so it won't be surprising to see this cropping up again sometime in the future.

1960s editorial shot by John French

Thierry Mugler campaign shot by Helmut Newton, 1990s