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?’”
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 Leight California Optical collection is available at Providence Optical. Watch our exclusive interview with Garrett in Munich.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
Contemporary Jewelry: Sleek, modern, textured, bold, eye-catching, innovative, whimsical.
Road Architecture: Strong, functional, textured, utilitarian, monochromatic, plain, sometimes ugly.
What do the two have in common? Look closely. It’s all about texture. And Jacqueline Lung found an incredibly innovative way to bring these two media together.
It all started in Lung’s freshman year at RISD (Rhode Island School of Design), when she fell in love with metalworking, particularly fine details, which add texture to smooth metallic surfaces. Lung initially worked on jewelry and tableware designs. And then something strange and wonderful happened: She discovered eyewear as the nexus of jewelry and function – an accessory that serves a necessity and also conveys the personality of the wearer. Lung explains:
I believe that … eyewear acts as a symbol of a persona … The relationship between eyewear and its wearer is symbiotic. On one hand the wearer desires the personality of the materials embodied in the eyewear, and on the other hand, the personality of the materials calls for activation by the wearer.
For her RISD Degree Project, Lung took a bold step. She decided to incorporate boring industrial materials — such as steel, concrete and even duct tape — into her eyewear designs to elevate their status and challenge eyeglass wearers to think about these materials in a new way. In her handmade line of eyewear, Industrial Spectacles, Lung brings out the hidden beauty in these materials. Says Lung:
Shiny, ugly duct tape transforms into a soft, velvety, grey textile. Concrete presents itself as delicate graphic elements, rather than as massive spacious structures in which we reside. Parts of screws that are normally hidden below the surface are displayed, remaining functional while destabilizing the expectation of how they could be used. The hidden character of these materials are given agency as they rise to the surface and become accessible in the format of eyewear.
Each frame in Lung’s new collection bears a name that reflects its featured material.
– Archytas: named after Archytas of Tarentum, an ancient Greek mathematician who is often credited as the inventor of screws
– Steinar: a Scandinavian name that combines “stone” and “warrior, referencing concrete and its origins
– Ludwig: named after Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, paying homage to his extensive use of I beams in architecture as both structural and decorative elements
– Akira: named after Akira Yoshizawa, a Japanese origami master, reflecting the foldable structure created by steel and duct tape in this piece
– Gunta: named after Gunta Stölzl, who was a Bauhaus weaving master, in reference to the duct tape weave structure.
Lung’s Archytas spectacles with mirror sun lenses are available at RISD Works store and at www.jacquelinelung.com
Dare to see yourself – and these materials – differently!
It sounds like a classic tale of the American dream and yet it’s contemporary. Jason Stanley and Marc Franchi (who are cousins, by the way) bought a tiny optical business called Frieze Frames in Ventura, California back in 2009. Their dream was to create a line of luxury eyewear not only headquartered or designed in America, but actually manufactured in the USA. Everyone told them why it wouldn’t work – the high cost of labor, the lack of people skilled in the trade, you name it. But, like true heroes, they didn’t just give up. By visiting eyewear factories in France, Italy and China, they gained expertise in the manufacturing process and indeed brought it to America, albeit on a small scale.
Then, in 2013, Stanley and Franchi’s superior American product caught the attention of the big eyewear firm Europa International, which had tried, unsuccessfully, to woo overseas partners to open up manufacturing lines in the US because American consumers were asking for eyewear made in America. The Frieze Frames’ owners’ passion and dedication was just what Europa was looking for and a partnership was born: State Optical Company. Please watch this video:
Together, the new partners enlisted the aid of experienced frame designer Blake Kuwahara, who created 12 ophthalmic and six sunglass frames for the STATE’s “Made in America” collection, which made its official debut last September. Kuwahara’s vision was brought to life in a beautiful new state-of-the art facility outside Chicago where specially trained American workers undertake at least 35 steps to produce each frame (and up to 70 steps for ultra-luxury models). Over 50% of the production is done by hand in a painstaking process that requires a full two weeks. These frames are not molded, but rather are cut from blocks of material, then the details are cut into the frame and the pieces are hand polished. The texture and balance of the frame, along with superior machined metal components, gives a luxury aesthetic and tactile experience.
These classic, sleek and yet elegant acetate frames bear a logo with special meaning. At the end of each temple, you’ll find a pyramid of 21 points that are drilled into the frame and then filled with a contrasting color epoxy. Why 21? Because Illinois, home of the new US factory, is the 21st state.
Planning a summer vacation to the Midwest? STATE Optical welcomes visitors to its Chicago-area plant. That’s right; you don’t have to be a business owner or an eye doctor. All are welcome to witness the beginning of what STATE hopes will be a new wave of products manufactured in America.
We’re proud to offer STATE Optical’s high quality, luxury eyewear line. Come see for yourself what Made in America really means.
In 2014, the CFDA launched the Eyewear Designers of the CFDA (edCFDA), a working group within the CFDA. Created by 12 CFDA Member eyewear designers, the group’s aim is to inspire, empower, and promote awareness of eyewear design and the vitality of the optical industry through promotion, education, mentoring and collaborative initiatives.
In April 2016 new members,designers Patty Perreira (BARTON PERREIRA), Blake Kuwahara (BLAKE KUWAHARA), Christian Roth (CHRISTIAN ROTH), Daniel Silberman (ILLESTEVA), Gai Gherardi (L.A. EYEWORKS), Shane Baum (LEISURE SOCIETY), Jeff Press (MORGENTHAL FREDERICS), Robert Marc (ROBERT MARC), and Selima Salaun (SELIMA OPTIQUE), presented new eyewear designs at International Vision Expo in New York during the first ever Eyewear Showcase.
Emily Teel, a regular contributor to Edible Philly and Foobooz, the food bloger for Philadelphia Magazine, has a soft spot for all things gastronomical, she is also a devoted eyewear aficionado. She had an opportunity to interview two NYC-based designers – Selima Salaun and Robert Marc about their favorite palces to go out.
eb: When you do go out, is there a neighborhood that you like to stay in?
ss: I try to take [clients] to the new, hip places. Like, for instance, The Standard [Hotel in the Meatpacking District]. It looks like a “Barbarella” setup.
eb: For the folks who are not as lucky to be able to dine with you, where would you suggest?
ss: I adore Daniel Boulud; his food is amazing. DBGB is much cheaper than his places uptown, and if you go see a show at Lincoln Center, just across the street is Boulud Sud. I also love Mercer Kitchen, Locanda Verde, and Momofuku.
rm: … I think the West Village has so many small, chic, fabulous places to have a great dinner. It’s just a charming, wonderful part of the city with cobblestone streets, townhouses, [and] small, quaint restaurants.
eb: Are there places that you really love there?
rm: Sant Ambroeus. Great little place. And I Sodi. Both are small Italian restaurants, so I’d recommend reservations. Another great place is En, a fantastic Japanese restaurant. It is very glamorous, big, fun, and really wonderful.
eb: Any New York “must-visit” spots for you?
rm: Right now? The High Line and the new Whitney Museum of Art. Absolutely spectacular. Because the show is later this year, the weather is going to be nicer. Which is great, [because] the High Line starts at 34th Street and 12th Avenue, really right next to the Javits Center, so you can walk down the High Line all the way to the Whitney at the other end.
Providence Optical Video Clip Onega Astaltsova and Olga Mosheyeva (editor-in-chief of ОПТИЧЕСКИЙ Magazine, Moscow, Russia) presented an award in Category PRIVATE LABEL for eyewear collection at Golden Lorgnette National Award ceremony. Mosheyeva said: ” You are a paradigm for the other companies. You proof that you are able to create beautiful collections that have success in Russia and abroad. ” The winner is the company SCOLANI with brand RUSOMANIA from the city of Ekaterinburg.
Opti Munich is an annual trade show in the eyewear industry. For the first time this year, we choose to attend this show. A total of 576 exhibitors from 37 countries were present and visitors from 81 countries. This year’s exhibition highlights ranges from a new lens technology for safe driving to the glasses frames made out from pepper or chili and dill to the work of art frames made of paper.
The focus was on quality, creative spirit and incomparably family-like atmosphere. Opti triggers new trends, as the trade fair is flexible in meeting the needs of the market, and setting off new impulses.
Kinto Eyewear – Belgian indépendant Eyewear since 1978. Specialized in petite faces and known for repairable spring hinges.
Thomsen Eyewear – Danish brand, original and contemporary frames made in titanium with classical shape with a bit of color.
Barriqule – Born in 2014 in Italy from the idea of Lorenzo Del Tufo. Unisex glasses and sunglasses collections characterized by cellulose acetate fronts and temples in oak recycled from exhausted barrels. Barriqule video
Paul Hueman – Korean eyewear company specialized in the Asian Fit.
Projekt Samsem – Founded in 2015 in Berlin, the focus of PROJEKT SAMSEN is to create timeless and remarkable goods for everyday life. 3D printed glasses with innovative hinge,
PROJEKT SAMSEN combines new ideas and technologies with timeless aesthetics and values.
All these lines will be soon available at Providence Optical and also in addition new products from existing lines Garrett Leight, Etnia, Lunettes Kollektion, Woow, Dutz Eyewear and Intrigue.
Our aviator eyeglasses mirror was mentioned in the article of November-December 2015 edition of INVISION by CORRIE PELC
Eyewear-inspired elements create just the right professional atmosphere
Art can be a tricky thing. What one person loves, another may not. And it’s always very personal — you can tell a lot about someone by the art hanging in his home.
The same is true for your business. The artwork and decor you choose for your eyecare practice or optical shop will be a direct reflection of who you are, the sort of clientele you want to attract and the type of atmosphere you are trying to create.
The six examples here all show how art can be used to make a business more memorable and reflect what the owner wants the business to be. People with artistic skills may decide to go the DIY route and create their own office decor, while others may look to the work of outsiders. Whichever way you go, aim for a look that speaks to both the uniqueness and professionalism of your businesses.
Onega Astaltsova, an artist who is also managing optician of Providence Optical in Providence, RI, says good art will help elevate your business. “As ECPs, we have a professional obligation and the art has to be professional too,” she explains. “You still need to follow the rules of business and not just your personal taste. Good art will help you look professional.”
Need some more inspiration for your space? You’ll find lots of good resources online. TheOpticalVisionSite.com and Pinterest are great resources for decorating ideas, as are Facebook groups such as Opticians on Facebook. You might also work with a local artist, gallery owner or art consultant to help you find or create the look you seek.
Providence Optical, Providence, RI
➤ With a background in art, it’s no wonder why Onega Astaltsova decided to design an eyewear wall mirror for Providence Optical. Astaltsova says she chose a metal aviator-shaped frame design for the mirror to complement the shop’s large selection of vintage frames. She created a hand drawing of the frame she wanted to depict, then transformed that into a vector computer rendering from which polycarbonate and PVC plastic parts were cut and put together. The finished product is set off by large quotations from literature that help reinforce the idea of Providence Optical as a place that celebrates all the arts.
In ultimate essence an eyewear frame is all about its composed materials, the build of said ingredients and the tech prowess of those materials in active structure. And the whole of that product/object is then in complete coordination to fit on a person’s face and function in securing a lens properly in relationship to that person’s eyes.
Etnia Barcelona is leading the way with its unique approach to eyewear, making them a worldwide driving force in the optical industry. They are an independent brand of eyewear who has created a wide range of colors, collections and designs for everyone who wants to express him- or herself beyond the cannons imposed by momentary and passing fashion and trends.They are pioneers in the study and application of color resulting in truly unique color combinations and vibrant tortoiseshells that stand apart from the rest. Their designs and overall aesthetic is heavily influenced by fashion and art, both classic and modern, thus offering a wide array of styles for today’s customer.
The eyewear brand Etnia Barcelona was an idea born from the mind of David Pellicer, a man who spent his childhood around sunglasses. He grew up playing in his grandparent’s sunglasses factory in Barcelona, Spain and he grew increasingly interested in how they were made. David Pellicer is carrying on a family legacy that goes back 3 generations, bringing with him vast knowledge of the industry and a passion for glasses.
Pioneers of Colour
CEO David Pellicer’s entire eyewear oeuvre is a work of color artistry in and of itself. The Etnia brand spends as much time inventing the colors of new frames and lenses as they do on the crafting of the frames themselves. In fact, Etnia Barcelona is one of the only eyewear manufacturers to have created some unique five hundred colors patented by them. Etnia’s unique colors and acetates are produced by master artisans Mazzucchelli in Italy, who use only the finest, 100% organic cottons to blend acetates which are then aged for twelve weeks, resulting in the highest quality material possible.
They conducts colour studies twice a year to incorporate new tones into the latest designs, and inspirational moods are generated to imbue the newest collections with life and richness. This dedication has established the company has a true pioneer in the study and application of colour.
Thinking of the Environment
They are also passionate about incorporating sustainable materials into their creations. All Etnia Barcelona glasses are produced using 100% natural acetate. Not to mention, all of their eyewear is made from natural organic compounds, which means they are recyclable and biodegradable.
Etnia means comfortable fit for all ethnicities
Launched 2003 in Barcelona, Spain, Pellicer’s goal in creating Etnia Barcelona was to bring unique colors, the height of technological innovation, a supreme level of wearing comfort, and an avant garde sense of artistry to the world. He also brings an exclusive knowledge of facial anatomy to the table, which makes his frames some of the best fitting, most comfortable glasses in the world. As Pellicer explains, “Comfort and design are the strong points of Etnia Barcelona glasses. Our exhaustive knowledge of facial features is transferred to each piece, thereby producing some of the most comfortable eyewear in the world.” The goal is to create a product that works for many face types, which came from the name “Etnia”. Every pair of Etnia Barcelona is the final assembled product of many smaller pieces of carefully crafted perfection. Likewise, Etnia’s unique hinge mechanism, which allows the glasses to fit fluidly to any face, are made and polished by the manufacturing giants, Comtec.
Etnia is establishing itself by always producing colorful and trendy models at accessible prices.