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Garrett Leight

Garrett Leight

Having a dad who’s more famous than you can be a blessing and a curse.

Optical entrepreneur and LA cool cat Garrett Leight, whose father Larry Leight founded iconic eyewear brand Oliver Peoples in 1987, says the family business has both helped and harmed – but in some ways following in his footsteps was inevitable.

Garrett and Larry Leight

“There was definitely a while where I didn’t want to do what my dad did,” Garrett has said.  

“I was really into music and DJing, and I was in college, and I was actually a sports journalist...  I still have a genuine passion for those things, but I think it kind of just runs in the family... I get a genuinely good feeling from it.”

Garrett Leight opened his own store after working in his father’s company for two years, and a stint developing manufacturing eyewear for street-wear brands.  His own brand came later.

“I worked at Oliver Peoples in every department,” Garrett says. “I learned what I needed to do, where to distribute it, how to market it.”

Inspired by frames worn by Allen Ginsberg, Grace Kelly and Charles Bukowski, Garrett says his glasses are for people who have their own original style and don’t always like to be noticed.  Most importantly, these are not statement glasses – rather glasses that will work around a look.

Having experimented with production ad nauseum, Garrett now lives by a simple home truth.  “If you know how to make something there's only two ways: the right way or the wrong way,” says Garrett.  

Garrett Leight in Van Buren Sunglasses

For Garrett Leight the brand, this means using only the best quality titanium, acetate, pure glass and C39, and finishing every frame by hand.

The quality and attention to detail is obvious as soon as the frames slip on one’s nose, and resonates particularly with the Los Angeles set. (“Leonardo DiCaprio has been in the store four or five times to buy the same frame over and over again.”)

“The brand is nothing flashy, and everybody always remarks on the fact there are no logos,” he says. “I think most people seek out the brand themselves, which is how we envisioned it.”

While Garrett Leight is now found in the world’s best retailers, including Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys, Dover Street Market and Sorry Thanks I Love You, getting there was no easy feat – and not something Garrett’s father could help with, either.

Garrett Leight SS18

“My dad started Oliver Peoples 25 years ago so he wasn’t doing sales,” Garrett explains. “He didn’t know buyers and obviously the person that was working at Oliver Peoples wouldn’t give me that contact because they knew that I would compete with them. I had to be really resourceful. I literally opened the first 100 doors by looking at other brands that I liked and what doors they were in. Obviously saying that my father did Oliver Peoples helped them say yes, but they liked the collection, too… I just had perseverance.”

While Larry sold Oliver Peoples to Luxottica in 2006, Garrett is content where he is – for now at least.

“It’s nice knowing that you can make someone happy with a pair of glasses.” 

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An edited collection of Garret Leight frames is now available in store and online.