Born in Venice Beach in 2010, Garrett Leight California Optical have definitely made a place for themselves in the fast-changing luxury eyewear world.
Garrett Leight’s modern and contemporary take on classic styles, added to its cool and laid-back Californian aesthetics, have turned this iconic LA-based brand into one of the most sought-after among the fashion savy, A listers and eyewear lovers.
Does the surname ‘Leight’ sound familiar? There is a reason for that. GLCO’s founder, Garrett Leight is the son of Larry Leight, founder of 32-year-old legendary eyewear brand Oliver Peoples. Eyewear has always been a big part of Garrett’s life. Due to his family’s business, he grew up surrounded by glasses and was exposed to the industry from an early age. He doesn’t think this was the main reason he decided to launch his own brand, however. “There was never any pressure to start a brand of my own,” he told The Eye Est, “It really wasn’t until I saw an opportunity to create something that I felt was missing in the industry, that I approached the idea of starting my own brand more seriously.”
And so he did. Fresh out of journalism school, Garrett started working for his father at Oliver Peoples. He discovered his passion for eyewear then, when he realised you can help shape peoples lives and how they feel about themselves by putting them in the right pair of glasses. After learning the ropes by working at his father’s company for a couple of years, he decided it was time to kick off his own business venture. In 2009, he opened his first eyewear boutique in Venice’s most iconic shopping boulevard, Abbot Kinney. Garrett’s brand was born out of his desire to create eyewear that his Venice Beach community would like to wear.
Garrett Leight has undoubtedly expanded well beyond its Venice Beach beginnings. In the last few years, it has seen the opening of GLCO stores in 5 US locations, while its collections have gained a spot in many retailers across the pond, including The Eye Establishment, of course. Despite this, California, and in particular the city of Los Angeles, will always remain part of the brand’s DNA and identity. “I’m born and raised here and Venice Beach is home,” he says. “Each season we’re influenced by different aspects of Southern California.” Garrett Leight is inspired by the people, places and stories of his natal state, and curiously, each frame is named after a Venice street.
GLCO’s opticals and sunglasses never fail to reflect Californian vibes, after all, that’s where every style is designed. Proudly made in China for its cutting edge technology, their frames are handmade and finished with the highest quality materials, sourced from Italy, Japan and China. Their attention to detail, excellent craftsmanship and skilled hand detailing are evident in every piece, but what really makes a Garrett Leight frame stand out is its fashionable and modern-yet-classic style. Garrett Leight bets for fresh, timeless, comfortable and stylish designs. From brand classics like the Hampton —one of our favourites— for those who like to play it safe, to more avant-garde and risky designs like the Jacqueline; be sure there is always a frame to suit every style, taste and way of living. It’s no wonder Hollywood stars such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Bradley Cooper, Johnny Depp or social media titans like Kendall Jenner, Hailey Bieber and Emily Ratajkowski have fallen in love with them.
Even though Garrett is the first to admit that being Larry Leight’s son benefited his eyewear business journey, he continues to prove he is much more than his father’s shadow. Garrett Leight California Optical will be celebrating their 10th anniversary next year, which is no little achievement! At The Eye Est, GLCO is a customer favourite and has become one of our biggest collections. There is no doubt they have a bright future ahead, but are there any goals yet to achieve? “My goal would be to stay authentic to who we are and why we started in the first place,” he tells us. “We have a lot of exciting projects on the horizon that we can’t wait to share.” We definitely cannot wait to find out!
Watch out for our full interview with Garrett on our next post.
Words by Valeria Martinez
Fashion Executive for The Eye Establishment