It’s 2011, hoards of middle aged women are reading 50 Shades of Grey, people everywhere are lying face down in public under the guise of ‘planking’ and somewhere in deepest darkest Los Angeles a man called Garrett Leight is about to release his first eyewear collection.
If you’ve taken the time to peruse our online wares, you may have noticed that Garrett Leight California Optical, or GLCO, takes a precedence over other names on our site. It was the first brand we added to our pages, and the one we stock the most of. And there’s a very good reason for that. You see, we’re really rather fond of Garrett Leight and, seeing as we love them so much, we thought it only right and proper that we take the time to tell you a little more about them and explain how they came to be one of the most sought after and respected eyewear brands out there today.
What do you do with your life if your Dad is the founder of a large successful optical brand? You become the founder of your own large successful optical brand of course, be rude not to really.
The optical bug didn’t initially manifest itself in the Leight family with Garrett, but rather with his father Larry, some 30 years earlier. Larry Leight is the co-founder of legendary eyewear brand Oliver Peoples, seen gracing the faces of everyone from Christian Bale in American Psycho, to Uma Thurman in Kill Bill, and some marginally less violent people in between. Garrett recounts how he got into the eyewear scene after partaking in a spot of work experience with Oliver Peoples back in the day, admitting that he didn’t really know what his Dad actually did for a living until then. Larry recently moved on from the brand after a commendable 30 years at the helm.
Garrett Leight with his father Larry Leight
Back when we interviewed Garrett in April this year, he divulged that he was sure one day he and Larry would work together. Since that premonition, Larry has joined the business and taken on the role of Design Consultant at GLCO, the collaboration Garrett alluded to has surfaced in the form of a new collection, simply called, Mr Leight.
Starting out with just four frames, Hampton, Rialto, Speedway and Brooks, GLCO name each pair after a street in Garrett's hometown of Venice Beach. A place he casually describes as somewhere to ‘rent a nice house, lay out in the sun, walk around and eat food.’
La Brea Garrett Leight store, Los Angeles
The brand, who define their eyewear as having a ‘California easy-going style’, have managed to achieve that elusive celebrity endorsement, with everyone from Leonardo DiCaprio to Kendall Jenner owning a pair, or 5.
Since opening their flagship store on fashion forward La Brea Ave in the heart of LA, they've had countless collabs, with the likes of Thierry Lasry, Amelie Pichard and even contemporary menswear designer Mark McNairy getting in on the action. Such is GLCO's love of eyewear, they even publish a regular magazine, Spectacle, dedicated to their passion for glasses and LA culture.
Spectacle Magazine allows GLCO to talk about the people and places that inspire them
Designed in California but handmade in China, Garrett Leight say they could make their eyewear anywhere in the world but choose to make them in China because of the quality craftsmanship, attention to detail and cutting edge technology that their Chinese factories use. The frames are made from source cured acetate and high quality metals from leading suppliers in Japan, Italy and China.
GLCO are producing exciting eyewear that fully embodies the California spirit, and, despite still being a relatively new brand, are already a firm favourite on the shelves of Seen.
Still want to know more? Here’s an extra little titbit about why they chose to make their frames where they do.