Eyewear Families

Oakley's eyewear has historically comprised distinct categories: Sport Specific, Lifestyle, and then those that fit somewhere in between. During the early years, there were no official designations, as the Frogskins were the only lifestyle pair amidst the Eyeshade, Blade system, M Frames, and Zeros. But towards the mid 90s, Oakley formally labeled two separate lineups, each named for their flagship product. These would form the future of Oakley's 3D fully sculptured glasses, since most models prior to this point were created from bent and relatively flat shapes.

The sport specific pairs would be labeled as the Jackets, glasses that fit your face like apparel fits your body. The debut pair was the Eye Jacket, strengthening this naming convention, and most models in this new category would play off the namesake to some degree. The following year produced the Trenchcoat, an over-sized Eye Jacket, but there would be a brief absence of new sport releases until the Lifestyle line could catch up.

1996 was a big year for Oakley, and many products met an end. Glasses in the Blades system were discontinued, as did the classic Frogskins. But the name lived on upon changing to a fully sculptured model dubbed the New Frogskin. Since this new model would start the new Lifestyle category, the entire group was called Frogskins.

Having now formally established the two main categories for O Matter, each following year would typically produce a model for each. The same year the New Frogskin was released, the sport line received the Straight Jacket. In 1997, another 'coat' was released in the form of the Topcoat, and in the Frogskin lineup the first of the numerically named glasses was the Fives. The following year would only offer one new Lifestyle model with the Tens, but three related sports specific glasses. These were the extreme Racing Jacket, the more casual Minute, and the Moon, which was an O Matter counterpart to the X-Metal Mars. Each retained a likeness of the X-Metal temple and were styled with intake ports rather than icons. This would be the last time any model would use this styling choice however, since 1999 would bring changes to almost all of Oakley's products.

Just prior to the turn of the Millennium, several key features changed on all glasses. The first was the O Matter formula. This new consistency allowed for greater flexibility, which was needed since older O Matter models were prone to breaking if stressed. The other feature was the transition to True Metal icons, which was an additional step towards making counterfeit products harder to produce. Products at this stage were affected in one of three ways. They were either eliminated, updated to the new technology without changing much else, or they were updated and branded as a 'New' model or a 2.0. O Matter was not alone in this change, as Wires and the long standing O Frame Goggle also underwent similar transformations. The only outliers were the Racing Jacket, which only updated the O Matter formula, and the Minute, which updated O Matter and swapped out the intake port for a Metal Icon. But both retained their original names, and in most cases even their SKU numbers. The Eye and Straight Jackets however appended 'New' to their names, and updated product numbers.

Up until this point, it was easy to discern Jackets and Frogskins. Jackets typically had unobtanium earsocks, often accompanied with nose pieces, while Frogskins had pitted or channeled ear stems to help with grip. Due to this distinction, Jackets would often end up around $20-30 more than Frogskins. However in 2000, the Twenty/XX was released as a Frogskin in the lifestyle range, but had nose pieces as well as ear socks. The price was also in the range of the Jackets, and aside from the name being the Roman Numeral for 20, there was nothing other than Oakley's word that it wasn't a Jacket. It was very similar to the Minute, almost making that model more out of place in its own category than the XX, since both were more oriented for dual purpose wear. Our modern categorization would place these both in a hybrid family, but it would be a few more years before Oakley would create an official name for that.

Also in 2000, a more traditional lifestyle piece, the Four, was released along with two Jackets. Both Jackets adopted their group's name in their title. The Water Jacket was a re-purposed Racing Jacket, even using the same mold but with a larger nosepiece, vented lenses, and a strap kit. The Eye Jacket received a sequel in name only, with the Eye Jacket 2.0. It shared no similar features, and the ear stems were styled after the Time Bomb. The original Eye Jacket, however, remained in production.

In 2001 there were two additions to the Frogskins, a smaller version of the Four and an update to the Fives with the Fives 2.0. This time, the original was discontinued, and the 2.0 was a true replacement. Adding to the confusion between the two lines, the Scar was released and had no ear socks. However the style was aggressive and due to X-Metal lugs on the temples, the price point was much higher than any O Matter to date, so it was placed in the Jackets category.

2002 brought three more deliberate entries to the Jacket lineup, with the Eye Jacket 3.0 and Half Jacket, as well as a third named the Half Pint, a child sized pair of glasses sharing similar design cues. The Splice debuted, and despite no naming convention providing clues to its categorization, it had all the traditional features of a Jacket. The only lifestyle pair that year was the Fate, which also doubled as a pseudo-female specific pair, as some colorways were released with Script logos rather than the hollow icon. Lastly, while not part of the two categories discussed here, Oakley was experimenting with a Magnesium range of glasses, and borrowed elements from the Four for the lifestyle model creating the Mag Four; Splice for the active model creating the Mag Switch, and the Mag M Frame for the non-Jacket related active wear.

In 2003 to 2004, there began a slow decline in the use of Jacket vs. Frogskin designations. Confusion between the two had started year's prior, but eventually the website would no longer list the two, and would instead prioritize classification based on frame material. This became most evident with the release of the Halo in 2003, which used an Acetate frame material. It was primarily designed to be a female specific pair, and a corresponding O Matter release accompanied it with the O Matter Pocket. Lifestyle frames also included the basic and low priced Monster Dog, as well as the XS Fives. With the discontinuation of the Scar, two models were created in its wake. Both the Valve and Plate retained the Scar's lack of ear socks, and both were considered Jackets.

The following year made classification even worse. The release of the Dartboard coincided with the long awaited return of the Zero line, and due to the frameless design, the Dartboard would have made a proper addition. However on the website, it was briefly listed as a Frogskin, but on the box it was listed as a Jacket. It did have unobtainium inserts on the ear stems, but the nose pieces were ones used on wires. Based on one's definition, it could fit almost any non-metal category. Making matters more confusing, another model intended to compete and possibly replace the Minute was released as the Unknown. Despite possessing ear socks and being the spiritual successor to a Jacket, the Unknown was classified as a Frogskin. Considering the two closest models, the XX and Minute, it was clear that a new family between Sport and Lifestyle was needed.

2005 was the year a stake was driven into the two categories...at least as far as we thought. Square O debuted with the Gascan, and the many models that followed had similar designs. A few other lifestyle models appeared, and it was a guessing game at this point as how to categorize them. A source from within the company was able to clear up the designation of certain models like the Bottlecap, Riddle, and Montefrio during this time, stating that the Jacket and Frogskin classifications were still being used behind the scenes. It soon became clear that all Square O branded glasses were going to be lifestyle models, and those retaining the Icon would typically be sport specific or a new hybrid family that was greatly needed. Exceptions were made for derivative models like the Monster Pup and Fives 3.0 since they were directly related to existing Frogskin releases.

Despite no official family or categorical names, one could guess where certain models would be placed. Most sport models would specifically include 'Jacket' in their name as they historically had. Releases like the Flak Jacket, Straight Jacket II, Split Jacket, and Fast Jacket were obvious Sports models, and non-Square O glasses like the Fives 4.0 retained older namesakes. Other models converted to the Square O to help with consistency as in the case of the glasses that were once part of the Stretchline collection.

Finally Frogskins officially transitioned to the Lifestyle category. Jackets and models such as the XX and Unknown which should have been Jackets, split into two groups: Active and Performance. Performance models include the sport specific glasses that were part of the Jacket line, but also absorbed the M Frames. This made sense due to the fact that M Frames were their own group for a while, but with the release of the Radar, it was not appropriate to have those included. Instead groups based on function were preferred.

Later, a fourth group emerged and was labeled as the Iconic family. While Square O models were firmly in the Lifestyle category, elliptical icon models served several purposes. Some were sport, some were wires, and some were higher end products that didn't have many equals. The creation of the Iconic line helped clear up the final group of oddly placed glasses. Some such as the Spike and Hatchet were labeled as wires, despite having thick metals frames, and as Carbon Fiber was starting to be used more often, these were placed there as well.

The current officially designated categories are as follows:

Lifestyle - Anything 6 base or less with no unobtanium on the ear stems

Active - anything 6 base or higher with a full frame and unobtanium on both the ear and nose. (Most of the women frames are actually considered active, and often have small unobtainium pads on the inside of the ear stems)

Sport Performance- 8 to 8.75 base with unobtanium on the ear and nose, with interchangeable lenses.

Iconic - Anything C-5 and most Titanium, carbon fiber and aluminum.

X-Metal - Anything that follows the X-metal design language, including the proper X-Metal lineup, as well as Madman & Badman, controversial as that may be.
posted by Dann
Dann Thombs
Dec 12, 2015 10:13 PM
So this is long overdue, but I figured I'd get some input. As we know, back in the 90's there was the Jacket family and Frogskins family. Both named after their initial model, but soon took on other frames that either incorporated the family (Straight Jacket, Top Coat, Water Jacket; Fives, Tens, Fours). There was also of course the Wires and M Frames, but those were fairly distinct...for a while.

Time moves on and we start to get some ambiguities. The XX's were more jacket-like with the unobtainium, but only seem to be placed in the Frogskins family due to the name (which could have easily been changed). Then Minutes get put into the Jacket family along with Scars which were fairly far removed from any performance model.

I know around 2005 Oakley started really pushing the lifestyle aspects for glasses that weren't so sport specific. At that time the website sort of stopped using Jackets and Frogskins, but then opted to classify based on frame material. Wires were safe, but then it became O Matter vs Acetate, which was an odd designation. We also had Magnesium, O-luminum and X-Metal, which I'm okay have separate since there aren't too many and tend to have similar functions. Again though there were oddballs where the Hatchet and Spike were pushed into Wires.

Now we have a few new categories. I think the most familiar are Performance (sometimes Sport), Active, and Lifestyle. There's also Iconic which I think may be used as an extension of Lifestyle for the higher end products. Plus with the decision to axe the Square O and Classic logo, that may just take on more models that were once firmly in Lifestyle. (We're seeing a lot of Female Specific models that mimic the classic Frogskin, but all have the Icon).

So with all that said, I'm wondering what the best way to divide the database. From a hierarchical perspective, it's handy to have firm families to place the eyewear into. I do have a few logical groupings like Square O and Stretchline which are achieved either through and alt_family field or tags. Tags might be a solution as one model can have many, so in addition to frame attributes, I can assign whatever work best. Or the categories can be behind the scene to fulfill the database needs (I think there still has to be something as the image folders hinge on the family name), but the UI is based on tag selection.

Or another thought is that we assign cut off periods. 1996-2004 could be the Jacket/Frogskin era prior to Square O. Square O models from Oakley's perspective were still in the Frogskins category but they didn't advertise this. Many of the performance models still had names containing Jacket, so that made it easier, but then we'd have to guess on some of the Active models. I think the catalogs of the times would help a lot with this, but even those were prone to change as the family names of the moment would rearrange their contents.

Or yet another thought, we update to modern families and retroactively move the models around to fit the current schema, leaving the old families as a footnote in history. It may be weird having M Frame live with Half Jackets, but I know some found it weird to have to browse in M Frames to find the Radar. Then were to RazorBlades fit in. Would it make more sense to apply the tag systems so you search for half frame + shield lens.

Dec 17, 2015 4:16 PM
The modern official designations are as follows.

Lifestyle - Anything 6 base or less with no unobtanium on the ear stems

Active - anything 6 base or higher with a full frame and unobtanium on both the ear and nose. (Most of the women frames are actually considered active)

Sport Performance- 8 to 8.75 base with unobtanium on the ear and nose, with interchangeable lenses.

Iconic - Anything C-5 and most TI, carbon fiber and aluminum.

X-Metal - follows the X-metal design language currently Madman & Badman.
Dec 13, 2015 1:52 AM
My thoughts are for simplicity everything moves to the modern categories. Maybe there could be a designation on the classic frames nothing their original Family but the are still sorted by the modern families.
Steve Youngman
Dec 13, 2015 4:24 AM
Your idea of tagging may be the best solution. Since tagging is something that is controlled more here at OR rather than Oakley, this could be pretty much whatever we want without disrupting what has already been officially put out. And it may solve a few of these categorizing at the same time. I think tagging, even if done simply behind the façade of the interface, would solve the problem without having to rearrange the whole database while also keeping the database versatile enough to keep up consistency with future changes.

The tagging could be done hierarchical, with sub-tags subordinate to their parent tags. I know the database already does this to an extent. But it looks like the current tags all have the same weight. Having a hierarchy would be inclusive to form, function and features, so the database remains versatile without drastic change.

I think it would be useful to retain the family designations, regardless of what they were. Even though they weren't always consistent as you pointed out, at least they were something that could be proven on a box, catalogue or the website. Whatever was a Jacket will always be a Jacket and likewise with a Frogskin. I agree with you that Oakley has put far less emphasis on the family designations as time went on, and some of those in each family are inconsistent with the perceived definitions.

I have always equated the family name to a "class" of eyewear, as in what the intended purpose of the model was supposed to be. The parent tags could be the overarching classes of the eyewear and based on function or purpose. If the intent of the model was supposed to be performance specific, we could call this class Sport, Performace, or whatever. Then all Jackets and Sport models (and any future editions) would fall in here. Another tag could be "casual" which would include all Frogskins, Lifestyles and anything else non-sport specific. For "Active" models, wires or frames that are unclear or on the fence, it could be a judgement call whether they are meant for casual wear or not. All models would still retain their family designations while still being able to be categorized as well by their class. This way the Hatchet can still be a Wire, but also isolated to be shown as a sport frame as well.

Subordinate tags could be for features that do not affect performance. This could be Square O, Ellipse, Jet Intake, Stretchline, etc. While this might carry more weight with some members, I think these are more partial to the time period they were used rather than to the overall form and function of the frame. These sub tags could then be referenceable for filtering in searches, even if these features jump family designations.

As far as the family designations go, we already think that Jacket = Sport, Frog = Lifestyle, etc. If the database code would allow, I think you could link Jacket with Sport, M-Frame with Sport, and Frog with Lifestyle so that any searching for Jacket will also bring up Sport even when modern models are no longer designated as such. Same with the Frogs which have a unique handicap. Most Lifestyle models are really considered lifestyle at this point because Frogs are actually specific to one model. Linking Frog with Lifestyle would then always include the classic Frogs in a Lifestyle search and vice versa so there would be consistency historically without having to relabel everything. Members doing searches for one or the other would see the correlations between Jackets, M-Frames, Frogskins, and their modern counterparts without having to relabel individual items something they are not.

For Blades and Eyeshades, which are obviously sport specific but carry no family name of their own, we could refer to them as "Classic Sport" or something so they are still included overall but not to such an extent that they would also be included specifically with Jacket or M-Frame.

The one liberty I would take would be with X-Metal. They are far too different in almost every other way that even if their designs carry a "sport" shape and function, they should probably just stay in their own category.

Iconic would be the easiest tag. Anything released before the "Iconic" designation showed up, we just DECIDE what would be iconic on a model by model basis. The OTT and Medusa are obvious because their shadow casts alone are enough to distinguish them. Elite would also be included because, Elite. Or we could just omit this one altogether. But at least historically, Iconic is real easy.

My thoughts lean toward versatility and consistency. Keep the Oakley-given designations and work around them logically.
Dann Thombs
Dec 16, 2015 8:48 PM
Ah, I ask a question, get good feedback, and then I blank out for a few days.

Some good things to think about. Thanks Defender for the official word on the modern families. I'm sure a lot show up in the tech sheets, but it's good to know that we can deduce most of them now.

I looked at the current page, and it currently has the official families as defined in the family field for a given table, plus the two logical families: Square O and Stetchline, which can certainly move to tags. I believe I have Stretchline as a Collection, but that's at the colorway level not model, so I may just do away with that altogether. I already have been tagging Square O in tag format outside the alt_family, so I just need to work with the existing data.

Tags currently breakdown the styling of the glasses, and I may group them based on what they cover (Lens type, frame coverage, hinge, material). Maybe turn a few into graphical representations just to liven it up.

I'm still liking the historical cutoffs, but maybe some retroactive linking like Steve mentioned. Checking off Jacket will being up all models from the Eye Jacket to the Plate, firmly linking them to the 1996-2004 era as officially designated. Once Square O hit in 2005, then all models could be pushed into the Performance/Active/Iconic/Lifestyle groups, and searching on those, would also include the Frogskins (Classic and New Frog to the Fours)

Or actually an easier thing would be to move all models into the modern families, but use that alt_family field which already exists to label the Jackets, Frogskins of those eras, and the vintage performance for the Eyeshade/Blade System/M Frames/Zeros (I forgot about Zeros, maybe we leave those alone).

This would sort of keep the status quo, but
-would added the families that newer collectors are familiar with
-remove a lot of the modern models that were shoehorned into the older system
-keep the image folder names more consistent
-clear up a few models like the Minute and XX which were practically shoehorned even back then
-keep the use of tags in this case out of it, since it's better for database performance to look up fields only in one table rather than linking and filtering.
Dann Thombs
Dec 16, 2015 9:08 PM
So for current Jackets, I propose:

Bottle Rocket/Cap Active, remove Jacket
Chainlink Active, remove Jacket
Commit AV/SQ Active, remove Jacket
Jawbone/breaker Performance, remove Jacket
RPM Edge/Squared Active, remove Jacket

Ice Pick Iconic, remove Jacket

Tombstone Reap/Spoil Performance, remove Jacket

Dartboard/L Active, keep Jacket
Eye Jacket etc... Active, keep Jacket
Half Pint Active, keep Jacket
Minute/2 Active, keep Jacket
Moon Active, keep Jacket
Plate Active, keep Jacket
Quarter Jacket Active, keep Jacket
Scar Active, keep Jacket
Splice Active, keep Jacket
Split Jacket Active, keep Jacket
Straight Jacket etc... Active, keep Jacket
Topcoat Active, keep Jacket
Trenchcoat Active, keep Jacket
Triggerman Active, remove Jacket
Valve/New Active, keep Jacket

Fast Jacket etc... Performance, keep Jacket
Flak/Half Jacket etc... Performance, keep Jacket
Racing Jacket/Pro/Water Performance, keep Jacket
Water Jacket Performance, keep Jacket
Wind Jacket Performance, keep Jacket

This removes Jacket from all models after 2004...unless it's a Split Jacket, Quarter Jacket, etc... or is a successor to a previous Jacket like the Flak 2.0

New/Pro M Frame, M2, and all Radar versions would be added to Performance.
Dann Thombs
Dec 16, 2015 9:19 PM
Frogs will follow suit. I'm sure a few obvious pre-2005 ones will show up like the XX, Unknown, and then after there's Canteen, and Scalpel which would be Active.
Dann Thombs
Dec 17, 2015 2:07 PM
Defenderoftheo does this count as unobtainium on the stems, hence why most Women's pairs are considered active.
Dec 17, 2015 4:09 PM
Or actually an easier thing would be to move all models into the modern families, but use that alt_family field which already exists to label the Jackets, Frogskins of those eras, and the vintage performance for the Eyeshade/Blade System/M Frames/Zeros (I forgot about Zeros, maybe we leave those alone).

This is what I was thinking.
Dec 17, 2015 4:15 PM
Defenderoftheo does this count as unobtainium on the stems, hence why most Women's pairs are considered active.
- Dann

Yes, that's exactly it. They actualy put the unobtainium back there just so they could call them active.
Dec 17, 2015 4:14 PM
Ice Pick was considered Active I think not Iconic but I could be wrong. Iconic is generally reserved for the wires/Carbfiber frames like Conductor 8 & 6 as well as Carbonblade , Tincan Tinfoil ect.

RPM & Commit are considered Performance because the have interchangeable lenses.
Dann Thombs
Dec 17, 2015 4:18 PM
Endure as well I assume.

The Ice Pick was a frame that time forgot, so I couldn't remember if it was O Matter or C5.
Dec 18, 2015 3:58 AM
Endure as well I assume.

The Ice Pick was a frame that time forgot, so I couldn't remember if it was O Matter or C5. - Dann

Yes same. And yes, it's a frame that never should have been made it was basically a MJ knockoff.
american image
science wrapped in art dealer
May 19, 2016 4:49 PM
ouch, you hurt me now Defender, i loved the ICE PICK , and sold tons of them, being a full polarized model, with low weight
Dann Thombs
Jun 2, 2016 4:04 PM
Okay, I've finished rearranging the glasses into their modern familes per my rough outline above. The filters on the model page seemed to have automatically adjusted, so no real issues there. The Jacket and Frogskins have been moved into the alt-family field, and currently can't be selected. That will play a role later on. Stretchline and Square O have been removed and will either be a tag for icon type at the model level, and collection type at the colorway level.

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