Garrett Leight California Optical

In my teenage years, glasses made me feel like a total dork, but now with so many impressive brands & styles, I rock glasses with confidence. Let’s get real—people wear glasses just for fun (cc: hipsters) without true optical needs. Glasses & sunglasses alter our perception of the world and the world’s perception of us. They can make us look & feel smarter, cooler, bolder, braver….more mysterious. Garrett Leight California Optical is upping the ante in the eyewear industry. Looking for timeless classics with a contemporary feel? Your next pair of sunnies are waiting at Garrett Leight.

“Eyewear is the most emotional purchase you can make. It goes on your face & at the end of the day whether you think people judge you or not, the first thing they see is your face. A really bad pair of glasses can instantly affect what someone thinks of you. That doesn’t mean you don’t have an opportunity to win them over with personality, but for people who take their style seriously, it’s a really sensitive emotional purchase.” Garrett enlightened us about the process.

We met Garrett at his ultra cool office in DTLA & the creative energy of his space was truly authentic. Almost everything goes down inside these walls—brainstorming, photography, customizing shades, packaging, the works! Garrett totally inspired us with the vision behind his company. Garrett grew up in the optical world—his father, Larry Leight, founded Oliver Peoples almost 30 years ago. He didn’t have much interest in the family business until after college when Larry convinced him to work at Oliver Peoples instead of pursuing a career in journalism—Garrett’s college major. After working in the family business & also collaborating with other brands, he started Garrett Leight California Optical in ’09.

Garrett brings a new feel to an old school game, he’s from a different generation—understanding the traditions & standards, but pushing the limits & knowing how to break the rules. This guy is full of brilliant ideas, always changing & evolving what’s next. His journalism degree turned out beneficial because now Garrett publishes a bi-annual magazine called SPECTACLE, full of interviews, rad photos, & of course, eyewear.

Garrett Leight glasses come in all styles & colors—they aren’t super flashy glam, they’re simple classics (perfect for the white t-shirt, Levi blue jean wearing people). These high-quality glasses are staples—you don’t have to think about styling an outfit because they just go with everything. Made for people with a sense of style, who value quality, who are seeking more than your average online cheap shades—you exude confidence in these. People will ask where you got your glasses & you can casually mention, “Garrett Leight.” That’s what we love about the brand, this is the name of a real person, the actual guy who’s running the company. This brand is accessible, like he’s a friend. Garrett is just an honest guy with an honest company.

“My favorite thing about eyewear is that the word vision is both literal & figurative. I think without vision you kind of have nothing. Even those who don’t have literal vision, someone like Stevie Wonder has made an incredible career by having vision (figuratively speaking). I just really relate to that word; I love how it has those dual meanings. At the end of the day, we are literally a company that gives vision to people who can’t see, we give you a product and put a lens in it that will allow you to see the world—& then I think as a brand we have a specific vision that people really relate to.”

Garrett’s sunglasses boost our style vibes while protecting us from harmful rays (and strangers) so we feel less vulnerable when we’re wearing them. How intimate can you really be with someone when you’re wearing a pair of shades? It’s a shield between you & the world, setting boundaries for sure. As Nikki’s fiance once said, “Life is hard without sunglasses.” We laughed, but totally agree. We love our glasses, whether prescription or not. It’s one item we can wear year round and not worry about the changing seasons. They are the masks we wear, in a good way.

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