Kurt Cobain Sunglasses

The History & Legacy of Kurt Cobain’s Iconic White Sunglasses

Over two decades after the death of Kurt Cobain, the rock and roll star and lead singer of Nirvana is still being talked about. Not just because of his contribution as one of the most influential bands of the 1990s, but due to the usual white oversized pair of cat-eye sunglasses that he was often photographed wearing. Today, you only have to do a quick search for ‘Kurt Cobain Sunglasses’ to get inundated with hundreds of different brands selling replicas of these classically women’s sunglasses. But it was on the face of a rock n roll star that these sunglasses caught the attention of the masses and defined and influenced a generation. 

Among the sea of replicas, it can be hard to find information on the exact brand of sunglasses Kurt Cobain wore. The popularity of these glasses seems to have never wavered and over the years their popularity evolved and flows in and out of the spotlight of fashion. Today, these glasses have been given a new name by a new generation – Clout Goggles. Clout Goggles refers to a style of sunglasses with oversized oval-shaped glasses worn by a subculture of people who ‘dress how they like when they like and don’t care what people think’.

One of Kurt Cobain’s last interviews: Watch Mojo

Kurt Cobain Sunglasses: The New Era of Clout Coggles

The current popularity of so-called ‘Clout Goggles’ can mainly be attributed to the ongoing popularity of mumble rappers. This distinctive style of rap is often accompanied by distinctive clothing where the Clout Goggles have been pushed to the forefront of the genre. The likes of Playboi Carti, Lil Pump, Lil Yachty are known for these unique styles of glasses and there seems to be no stopping the increasing popularity of the eyewear. Over the years, nearly identical pairs of sunglasses have been seen in a variety of fashion shows and runways. The likes of the 2016 YSL Spring Summer Runway Event saw a similar style while the earlier 2013 runway event by Dries Van Noten achieved the same with white oval frames hitting the catwalk.

In 2014 Vice managed to sit down with the man behind the photograph, Jesse Frohman, who took the famed photo in what would be Cobain’s last formal photo shoot. In 1993 Froham was hired by the London Observer’s Sunday Magzine to spend time with Cobain. In a dingy-lit hotel basement in New York, Froham originally wanted to shoot Cobain in Central Park but was quickly dismissed by his manager. With just half an hour with Cobain, it’s incredible, that he managed to get the shots he wanted never mind for them to become as famous as they did. During the interview with Vice in 2014, Frohman had this to say about his experience with Cobain and what he was like as a person at that time.

”He was really engaged, but he was partly out of it—it was a weird kind of engagement. He wasn’t coherent, but he got into his own world and the world of the photo shoot. He wasn’t checking his watch, in that way he was engaged, but he was also definitely in his own world”. (Jesse Frohman talking to Vice in 2014).

Playboi Carti Wearing Black Clout Goggles

Kurt Cobain: The Man Behind the Glasses

Kurt Cobain was an American musician, artist, and songwriter, best known as the frontman for the iconic grunge band Nirvana. Born in Aberdeen, Washington in 1967, Cobain had a difficult childhood, marked by his parent’s divorce and his struggles with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). As a teenager, Cobain immersed himself in the punk rock scene and began playing music with friends. In the late 80s, he formed Nirvana with bassist Krist Novoselic and drummer Dave Grohl. The band’s breakthrough album, “Nevermind,” was released in 1991 and propelled them to international fame.

Despite his success, Cobain struggled with drug addiction, chronic pain, and depression. He and his wife, musician Courtney Love, had a tumultuous relationship and were frequently in the public eye. Cobain was found dead in his Seattle home in 1994, at the age of 27. His death was ruled a suicide. Cobain’s impact on music and popular culture has been profound, and he is widely regarded as one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. His music and lyrics continue to inspire generations of artists and fans around the world. However, his life and legacy are also shrouded in controversy, and there are ongoing debates about his artistry, his personal struggles, and the circumstances of his death.

Original Kurt Cobain Sunglasses

Kurt Cobain Sunglasses: In Search of the Brand

Over the years the huge variety of replica sunglasses inspired by Cobain’s pair has never failed to showcase the popularity of these frames. Saint Laurent produced an exact pair for their SS16 catalog, while other brands like Raen, and Acne Studios also jumped on the bandwagon producing their only inspired series. You can even look on cheap websites like ebay, Amazon, and Alibaba where nearly identical glasses can be found for as little as $5.00, but I wouldn’t personally waste my time with these cheap knock-offs. 

The actual pair of sunglasses worn by Kurt Cobain wasn’t that difficult to identify and hunt down. After all, Cobain was a hugely successful and famous rock star and it wouldn’t make sense that people wouldn’t try to replicate his ‘no-nonance’ look. The company behind these glasses seen in the famed image of Cobain is a brand called Christan Roth. Christian Roth was founded in 1983 and it didn’t take long until the designer brand was hitting the fashion runways in 1985. Their philosophy was subverting convention creating a wide array of eyewear that can only be described as bizarre or ‘outside of convention’. It’s clear that they succeeded in creating a look that most people wouldn’t touch even if the glasses were thrown upon them and it took the likes of Cobain and other free-spired celebrities to cast the brand into the spotlight. 

The new re-release from Christian Roth: Series-4001

As to the exact model of the sunglasses themselves. These were released in May 1993 as part of the Series 6558 range of eyewear. The exact model number of the cat-eye style frames worn by Cobain was the 6556 series round-frames (originally designed for women, but Cobain gave zero f*cks. At the time, these retailed for a fairly affordable price yet were quickly discontinued to make way for newer frames soon after. In 2017, due to the popularity of the frames, Christian Roth announced they’d be reissuing the style made famous by Kurt and retailing from the price of $300. Today, these glasses are still available in some form on their official website under the name ‘Series 4001’. They are only sold in black and purple (with grey lenses) and come in at a price tag of $350.00. It’s unclear as to whether Christan Roth will ever reproduce the famed glasses in their original form. But what is clear is the lasting legacy of Kurt’s famed glasses isn’t going anywhere and will always exist as a look back at a music legend and his eventual

Kurt Cobain Sunglasses: Alternatives & Recommendations

As we mentioned earlier Cobain’s sunglasses are still popular to this day and that has led to many companies reproducing the iconic frames. If you’re looking to get your hands on a pair of these now-called ‘clout coggles’ then below are some alternatives and recommendations for you to consider.

Feisedy Clout Goggles: Probably the best bang for your buck. If you’re just looking to get the look of Cobain (and don’t really care for the quality of the frames then these white oval sunglasses by Feisedy are probably best for you. They include UV protection and are also available in a huge array of different colors – not only white. These sunglasses can be yours for as little as $11.98.

Sun Ovelties (Multi-Pack): If you’re looking for quantity then these 6 or 12-pack of Clout Googles might be perfect with a range of colors and UV Protection up to 400 (rated). Again, these don’t have anywhere near the quality of other brands but are a great option if you’re looking to use these as part of a cosplay or for a party/event. At just $12.99 for 6, that roughly works out at just $2.10 per frame.

Urban Outfitters: Urban Outfitters once produced a pair of Clout Goggles themselves but have since discontinued them. The reason I added them to this list is they were not just affordable but also really good quality for the price. They do pop up now and on ebay and other second-hand marketplaces, so if you see them, make sure to snatch them up. A recent pair sold for as little as $18.00 on Grailed.