“Mr.Leight” : new capsule collection by father-son duo Larry and Garrett Leight

Larry Leight, founder of Oliver Peoples, and son Garrett Leight pose for a portrait at his home in Santa Monica, Calif.  Larry Leight has left Oliver Peoples after 30 years to join his son Garrett's company, Garrett Leight California Optical (Photo:Patrick T. Fallon / For The Times)

Larry Leight, founder of Oliver Peoples, and son Garrett Leight pose for a portrait at his home in Santa Monica, Calif.
Larry Leight has left Oliver Peoples after 30 years to join his son Garrett’s company, Garrett Leight California Optical (Photo:Patrick T. Fallon / For The Times)

The father-son duo Larry and Garrett Leight will launch a new capsule collection.

Here is an article by Mellissa Magsaysay for Los Angeles Times on June 18′ 2016:

On a May afternoon at eyewear design guru Larry Leight’s Santa Monica home, Leight, founder of Oliver Peoples, and his son, Garrett, founder of Garrett Leight California Optical, took a break from actual work to consider how they each created successful eyewear labels that have captured the cool, in-the-know crowd of their respective generations.

“I didn’t really realize what he did for a living until I went to work for him,” says Garrett, 32. “I saw that not only did he design eyewear, but he really led that team, that environment and that company – and that’s when I was like, ‘Wow, now I really know what he does.’”

Aside from similarities such as profession, stature and surname, father and son finish each other’s thoughts and have a similar magnetism for attracting a cult-like following of loyal fans and talented employees. Together, they have joined forces to create a capsule collection of luxury eyewear called Mr. Leight.

Eyewear wasn’t always the clear choice for Garrett as a profession.

In 2006, however, the younger Leight (the family name is pronounced “light”), who was focused on tennis and studied journalism, went to work at Oliver Peoples at the suggestion of his father to gain work experience. Garrett eventually left Oliver Peoples, and went into business for himself.

“I think he was absorbing and gathering all these things that formulated his desire to do something different,” says Larry, 65. “He felt that there was a better way to do things that inspired him to see different areas of the business that he felt he could do differently or better.”

In November 2009, Garrett opened A. Kinney Court on Abbot Kinney Boulevard, a lifestyle concept store in Venice with opticians, eyewear, footwear, apparel, books and music.

Garrett soon became inspired to create his own collection and created his namesake business in 2011.

“I felt most comfortable in doing what my dad was doing,” says Garrett. “Being an entrepreneur wasn’t really a word that I understood before that time, but I think I just wanted to be a leader and wanted to build my own culture and environment. It was also being around great people that inspire you. That’s what I loved about Oliver Peoples.”

Today, Garrett Leight California Optical eyewear is available through about 800 wholesale accounts worldwide as well as four stand-alone GLCO stores. The eyewear has framed the famous faces of January Jones, Kristen Stewart, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kendall Jenner and spawned collaborations with Clare Vivier, Want Les Essentiels and Mark McNairy.

“You have to kind of pinch yourself,” says Larry about Garrett’s success. “The similar thing between us is, ‘How the hell did he come along and grab that young cult of today?’”

Harding GLCO

Harding GLCO

Hampton GLCO

Hampton GLCO

Cabrillo GLCO

Cabrillo GLCO

In 2006, Larry sold Oliver Peoples to Oakley, and the following year, Italian eyewear brand Luxottica acquired California-based Oakley. Larry retained his creative role until his departure at the end of 2015.

Larry says he spent months after leaving Oliver Peoples trying to decided what he’d do next. “I realized that even if I didn’t know Garrett, his is the company I want to work for,” he says.

Inspired by his son’s business and brand, the veteran eyewear designer and accessory brand icon was brought on earlier this year as a design consultant at GLCO and to collaborate on the Mr. Leight collection.

“Mr. Leight is a name I’ve had in my pocket for a while,” says Garrett. “And I always dreamed that maybe we’d have the opportunity to do something together and that name would obviously make sense.”

While in the design phase, the Mr. Leight collection will have frames made in Japan with a starting cost of $700, and, going forward, the eyewear will skirt traditional fashion cycles.

“It’s more limited, exclusive and still simple and beautiful,” says Larry about the concept for Mr. Leight, which is set to bow in Spring 2017. “It’s more technical, and there are more moving parts to some of the frames – but not gimmicky.”

In his new role, Larry lends his decades of design experience to Garrett and his team, and he defers to Garrett’s strength for sales and marketing for building a strong brand.

Sunglasses by Father Larry Leight, founder of Oliver Peoples, and son Garrett Leight (Patrick T. Fallon / For The Times)
Using their design and production prowess, the Leights’ team also has their sights set on making Mr. Leight a design house with the idea of collaborating with select like-minded brands to consult with and create eyewear for those brands.

“For sure we have that same entrepreneurial spirit,” the father says of the son. “We’re taking this exciting journey [with Mr. Leight], and it’s different, fresh and desirable.”

An exciting collaborative journey that, because it bears the name they both share, has the potential to pay a humorous dividend next time someone addresses Garrett as “Mr. Leight.” He could respond that he’s Garrett – Mr. Leight is his dad, and their brand.

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times

Garrett and Larry Leight


Garrett Leight California Optical collection is available at Providence Optical. Watch our exclusive interview with Garrett in Munich.

C-Zone collection close up: wood lamination on metal

Wood-on-steel frames, first introduced by Lucas de Staël, made their debut in the world of luxury eyewear some time ago, but more recently – two-and-a-half years ago to be exact – Dutch company C-ZONE decided to make the same look available to those with a more modest budget.

The new line was such a hit that C-Zone has since expanded its range of eyeglass models with wood lamination inlays.  In fact, the company is set to release a new model with a curved wooden lamination at the Vision Expo West in September.

C-Zone owner Rob Maas in action

C-Zone owner Rob Maas in action

Given the success of these mid-priced eyeglass frames ($227 at Providence Optical), we decided to publish an interview with C-Zone owner and designer Rob Maas to tell us about the concept behind this popular trend.

Why wood-on-metal frames?

“C-ZONE is a collection of metal frames. We use it as our base material, but we always combined it with other materials like acetate and silicone. A few years ago, we saw that there was a growing interest in glasses made out of wood.

But we also heard about 2 negative aspects of wooden frames. First of all, they are rather expensive. Not everybody can afford it. But also, it was not possible to adjust a wooden frame to a face.

We came with a concept that is more affordable and still has that feel of a wooden frame: wood lamination inlay on a metal frame. From its introduction, it’s been hugely popular.”

But what is wood lamination exactly?

“I guess that everybody’s familiar with wood lamination as a material on the floor in one’s home. This is sort of the same. It is chopped off wood, pressed and plasticized. The wood has become a plastic sheet of dead wood so to speak. This also enables the optician to bend the metal/wood combination to adjust it to the face of a patient. And people do not have to worry; you can put the frames in the ultra-sonic cleaners.

We work with three types of wood: oak (brown sheet), birch (grey sheet) and mahogany (reddish sheet).

Metal and wood…doesn’t that make a frame rather heavy?

“Not in our case. For the metal part, we use a bit of thinner stainless steel than we normally use. Normally, this thickness is too weak to be a regular pair of glasses, but in combination with the wood lamination, the frame become strong enough. But in fact, it is so light-weight the material is often mistaken for titanium.”


Model G 2190 in birch/mahogany on steel by C-ZONE

So, the concept is still popular after 2.5 years?

“Absolutely. But we do develop. Like for model G2190 we came up with 2 types of wood lamination in one frame. And at Vision Expo West, we will come up with frame H2202. For the first time, we are now able to curve the wood lamination on the front end. This gives a total different look.”

The C-ZONE collection is famous for its colors, but in that sense wood is not very C-ZONE like, is it?

“But we still have the metal part to spice up the frame. We combine the wood with contrasting colours like a lipstick red, a midnight blue or a shiny silver. Exactly, these became the bestsellers. But for the more traditional customers, we also offer them in a chocolate brown and stylish black. You can’t go wrong with this one. That’s why I still enjoy wearing my G2190 in color 10.”


Model G 2190 in oak/mahogany on steel by C-ZONE

If you think wood-on-metal is genius, how about denim-on-steel?  C-Zone has a whole separate line of eyewear based on this concept.  Both collections are ready for you to explore here at Providence Optical.

Model H2199 with red denim on steel