The fashion of the late 2010s has had its share of odd trends. However, right at the end of this tumultuous decade, popular fashion has managed to fit in one last strange fad: Flamboyant, colourful, and often flimsy looking, wrap around sunglasses—affectionately referred to as ‘Speed Dealer Sunnies’.
Speed dealers achieved nation-wide meme status in 2015 after Prime Minister Tony Abbott donned a pair as a half joke half favour for friendly tradie in a press conference.
This global meme status may have led to the half-ironic, half-serious comeback of the careless casual look of the speed dealer shades. Legitimate fashionistas like Bella Hadid, Rihanna, and Kendall Jenner have started hitting the streets wearing them.
Speed dealer type sunnies have since been on politicians, royals, athletes, fashion icons, and casual wearers alike. They have also made their debut to the runway, with Stella McCartney and Fenty x Puma incorporating them into their shows. Whatever you feel towards these distinct-looking sunnies, whether you think the trend is still tacky, or ironic enough for the tackiness to turn chic, they are certainly making a powerful return that no one could have expected.
Princess Anne donning some edgy Adidas speed dealers on her way to the Chelsea Flower Show is truly a sight to see, and proves the pervasive popularity of this trend. She paired these traditionally cheap-looking glasses with a very posh outfit; which brings an interesting dichotomy to her outfit, giving off that ‘effortlessly cool’ vibe.
Kim Kardashian West
While there is a heated debate over whether or not this pair of shades that Kim is wearing are considered certified speed dealer sunnies, they certainly do give off a matrix-y vibe, and certainly do have the classic cheap-looking wrap-around look that speed dealers shades are so famed for.
On an episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, a friend of Kim’s told her that her tight black dress and her small speed dealers made for a “fire” outfit. Kim then revealed that her husband Kanye West sent her an entire email about the tiny glasses trend. He told her in writing that she cannot wear big sunglasses anymore if she wants to remain hip. “It’s all about tiny little glasses”, said the email. She has been wearing them regularly ever since.
It was easy to predict that speed dealers would find their way into Nicki Minaj’s wardrobe: she has always had a soft spot for shiny accessories, edgy outfits, and callbacks to 90s and early 2000s fashion.
A bit of a throwback here, Kate Middleton wears speed dealer style sunglasses by Armani.
Whenever she’s not starting trends herself, Rihanna always keeps up with the latest fashion statements. Of course, she would never pass up on an opportunity to experiment with the now infamous speed dealer glasses. She paired them with a Ralph Lauren robe for this look.
While some of the celebrities who rock speed dealers love juxtaposing them with items of a different style (just like Princess Anne), Bella Hadid kept it cohesive with this look. The entire outfit pays homage to the early 2000s fashion: the denim jacket, the layered necklaces, the hoop earrings… all perfectly capped with a beautiful pair of speed dealer sunglasses.
The return of speed dealers to the fashion arena has been polarizing, but it’s hard to deny that these unique sunglasses to have a certain charm to them. If you’re looking for a pair of sunnies that give off a careless, confident, and casual vibe, then you might have to buy yourself a pair of speed dealers!