EVER UPWARD: Bomber jackets and aviator sunglasses never seem to go out of style on real runways or fashion ones.
President Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama both had aviator sunglasses as a wardrobe staple, and the glasses are also a key choice for actor Tom Cruise, who first sported the shades in the original “Top Gun” film in 1986.
In honor of the U.S. Air Force’s 75th anniversary, two military-inspired brands, Randolph and Alpha Industries, have rolled out the Sapphire Capsule collection:co-branded CWU bomber jacket and Military Aviator sunglasses.
Both American companies are family-owned and have long ties to service members. Alpha Industries landed a contract with the U.S. Department of Defense in 1959 to produce apparel for the enlisted, and Randolph secured one in 1978 for eyewear. Alpha Industries specialized in N-3B parkas, MA-1 flight jackets and M-65 field coats.
Bomber jackets have evolved into a casual option for civilians. Originally known as flight jackets, the zip-front style was created by the U.S. Army Aviation Clothing Board in 1917 to keep pilots warm in open-air cockpits. Meanwhile, Randolph suited up fighter pilots with HGU-4/P Aviator sunglasses. The U.S. military commissioned aviator sunglasses in 1935 from American Optical.
As of Jan. 26, online shoppers will be able to find the items from the collaboration on both companies’ websites.
The Randolph x Alpha Industries CWU 45/P bomber jacket has a removable Aviator carrier patch to stow away the sunglasses. The shades are available in Skyforce Nylon polarized and non-polarized technologies. The Atlantic blue mirror lens is a nod to the sapphire gem, which is traditionally used for 75th anniversaries. Retail prices will range from $279 to $339.