We find ourselves sitting face to face with L.A. based eyewear designer, Garrett Leight, as he narrates the origin of his namesake and the ingenuity that has solidified his place in the international eyewear market. Leight, a modern day visionary of much more than opticals, has built a brand that as just as much about the world he wants to see as it is about what we see in the world.
So, did you ever imagine that at this moment- you’d be the eponymous designer behind your own optical brand?No. I’m not one to look to far into the future as to what I personally am going to be. I’ve always been more interested in where the world is headed and how things are changing. I’ve definitely never said to myself, “I’m going to be an eyewear designer one day.”
Where were you born? How did this influence the way you see the world?I was born at St. Johns in the city of Orange and then moved to Los Angeles at the age of 2. I guess if answering the question completely literally, the exact origin of my birth has an effect on who I am according to astrology and all that, which I believe in, but don’t follow that closely. If I choose to answer this question figuratively, I would say Los Angeles is everything to me. I am completely in love with this city and my life experiences have made me who I am today, most of those life experiences have taken place here in L.A.
How did the GLCO vision begin? I opened my store, A. Kinney Court in Venice, Ca. before I had GLCO and basically it just felt like there was something missing in the eyewear market. I was really unhappy with my options. We carried a variety of brands in the beginning, but never more than 4 or 5. Exactly what I was looking for was not out there, so I decided to create it.
Do you remember the first thing you created growing up?Probably a bit of a loaded question because my mom saved everything, and I’ve seen things that I’ve created but I don’t know if I actually remember creating them. I do vividly remember being crazy about lemonade stands, I wanted to have one every weekend. I also wanted to a haunted house for Halloween every year. I loved creating little businesses, that’s for sure.
How did you decide upon the name, Garrett Leight California Optical?A name is everything and I’m not into making things up. Garrett Leight made the most sense because it’s my name and Leight ties well into optical and sunglasses. California is such a huge part of my life and the brand DNA. It’s what I know best, so preaching this brand message comes completely organically. Optical was actually the word I struggled most with. I wondered if it was a bit of a nerdy word and if there was something better out there. It was actually just a placeholder, but what happened was, we created the GLCO logo and it was so perfect that it just had to stay.
Interview by: Lakenya Kelly Photos: Lauren Ward
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