I still remember how I managed to get this interview with the lovely Garrett Leight. I was actually in The Eye Company in Soho chatting to Steenie which is who I have recently interviewed on behalf of SpecsNetwork and if you haven’t seen me in action yet then here it is. Garrett was at The Eye Company because his glasses are stocked there so do go and check them out if you are around the area.
For my readers who are into their eyewear or work within the eyewear industry then you will probably know Garrett is the son of Larry Leight who is the founder of Oliver Peoples. Garrett’s range is very different to Oliver Peoples and of course with such a well known dad in the optical industry Garrett definitely learnt a thing or two about making great frames.
Here is how our little chat went…
MGAM: Have you always had an interest in eyewear?
Garrett: Not really. Eyewear has always been part of my life because my father is the founder and designer of Oliver Peoples for my whole life. But I was interested in other things like sports & music. It wasn’t until after college I started to take an interest in business. And it made a lot of sense to follow in my fathers footsteps.
MGAM: What inspires you to design?
Garrett: My surroundings. The people in my life like my wife, my friends, my family. Also the city that I live in of Venice Beach. I also love to travel, so different cities and experiences around the world inspire me.
MGAM: What is the philosophy behind your designs and what makes them so different to other frames?
Garrett: The philosophy is that we are focused on building a brand that will last forever. Its not just about the frames, its also about the message and who we are. Its about value, and quality, and style.
MGAM: What makes a great pair of frames?
Garrett: It has to have a perfect combination of quality, style, & fit. When it comes from a great brand it becomes that much better because you are getting more than just a pair of glasses you are getting the lifestyle.
MGAM: Who is the typical Garrett Leight Customer?
Garrett: Anyone who is confident and knows what they want for their personal style. But for those of you who do not know what they like, many of our designs are classic timeless designs that are a great size and fit almost every face. So there is a little bit of something for everyone.
MGAM: You are based in America so how are people’s attitudes different towards glasses compared to the UK?
Garrett: UK and USA are very similar when it comes to the eyewear industry. I compare the two nations a lot. Similar style as well as a similar economy. So people are wanting to pay about the same price for the same thing in both countries.
MGAM: Do you think glasses (not sunglasses) will soon be a must fashion accessory?
Garrett: Glasses are by nature a functional piece of fashion that allows people to express their individuality and character on their face. I don’t think they will ever be a must have fashion accessory. But I think more and more people will at least want to have one pair for fun, even if they see perfectly.
MGAM: Fashion is always revolving but do you feel the eyewear industry needs to keep up?
Garrett: The eyewear industry is part of fashion. So I feel like it mostly keeps up just fine.
MGAM: What are the future trends we should look out for in eyewear?
Garrett: Probably some titanium designs coming out in the future and mixed metal frames with plastics seem to be popular right now. people are crazy about acetate frames at the moment. I’d say we specialize in very thin acetate frames.
MGAM: Finally… tell my readers why they should own a pair of Garrett Leight?
Garrett: Because its new and exciting and they will last forever. They won’t go out of style and they are a great quality. So you are buying something that will last you forever.
The photo above is me with the man himself. I personally really like the range, all the shapes are classic styles and very timeless. My favourite from the collection has got to be the clip on and clip off sunglasses lens (shown from the very first photo). Another thing I love about Garrett Leight is, he is not afraid to use manufactures from China because there is a bit of a taboo attached to the whole “made in China” thing.
For me being Chinese I do think some of the products are poorly made but there are some VERY good genuine manufactures out there but you just got to search for them and that is exactly what Garrett Leight did. He found a good manufacture who can produce to a high standard and the best of all it is more cost effective therefore the frames can be sold at a competitive price which can only benefit us as consumers. Next time you see a pair of Garrett Leight frames then please do take a very careful look at the metal arms detailing (the pattern on it) because that my friend is what China can produce.
Check out Garrett Leight here!