Cartier Buffs Sunglasses: A look back

The History of Detroit and their obsession with Buffs Sunglasses

Tragedy is never far if you’re the owner of a pair of Cartier Sunglasses in Detroit. In the summer of 2010 news broke of another violent death stemming from the coveted Cartier sunglasses. Darryle Miller, was a 20-year-old former Northwestern High School basketball star who lost his life after refusing to part with his $2,000+ Cartier Sunglasses. What could cause someone to kill for what seems like so little?

Miller’s mother tearfully shared her anguish at the senseless loss of her son, who worked hard for all he had. Shockingly, this is not an isolated incident in Detroit, as police reports indicate that between 15 to 20 murders in that very year alone have been linked to these luxury glasses. In this article, we delve deeper into the crime, history, and prevalence of Cartier sunglasses in Detroit, seeking to uncover the roots of this disturbing trend and exploring the social and cultural implications of the Cartier phenomenon in the city.

Cartier Buffs Sunglasses: A History of fashion, hip-hop, and hatred 

Cartier glasses have been a cultural and fashion staple in Detroit for over three decades first gaining popularity in the 1990s in the hip-hop music scene. While the retail price for the most popular frames has skyrocketed to nearly $3,000, they continue to represent a status symbol for many in the city. Often referred to as ‘Cariter Buffs’ (which refers to the Cariter’s use of ornate Buffalo horn as a material), they represent the symbol of luxury and status within the city of Detroit and the wider community.

As to the origin of their prevalence in Detroit – it’s unclear. Cartier Buff’s popularity can first be traced back to the hip-hop scene, which to this day, remains one of the biggest music scenes within the city. Popular Rappers from Detroit such as Big Sean, Tee Grizzley, and Royce da 5’9 have all been seen wearing the esteemed brand and can be seen as influential to the Buffs sunglasses prominence.

Unfortunately, this luxury item has also become closely associated with criminal activity within the city with many murders being attributed to the specs commonly referred to as Cartier, Cardis, ‘Ye’s, or Sticks. The most fashionable and most sort-after designs have evolved over the years, with the “All White Buffies” currently reigning supreme at the top of Detroit’s Cartier eyewear hierarchy.

Rapper Danny Brown: A song for a Detroit Problem

In 2011 Rapper Danny Brown addressed the issue directly in his Hip-hop song simply titled ‘Cartier’. The song addresses the issues regarding Cartier sunglasses and addresses his experience with them. As I read them, the song seems to be more about the idea behind those who steal the glasses and a warning to them. Such lyrics as ‘Catch you slipping with them all white Buffies’ and ‘Lose your life over Cartier glasses’ showcases this. At the end of the song, an audio clip between Brown and someone asks the question: ‘’What going on with Detroit and Catiers bro?’’ Danny then answers with the following (with parts retracted due to profanity. 

‘’[Redacted] get killed over those [Redacted]. At the end of the day, you got to be a real official [Redacted] to walk around with Cariters on and have no problems. Like you just a regular [Redacted] you pop up on the scene with Cartiers on your go you’re gonna have a problem. Somebody might kill them over them’’.