One of the latest fashion retailers to put down roots in Dallas is eyewear entrepreneur Garrett Leight (his surname is pronounced “light”), who debuts his eponymous Garrett Leight California Optical in the Knox District next month. Why Dallas? The 33-year-old father of two is already acquainted with the city, having shown his ocular wares in a GLCO pop-up at Forty Five Ten earlier this year. He sees the city as a cultural hub where people appreciate design and well-made things—important factors for the Venice Beach-based designer.
Before he became a full-fledged brand with five freestanding GLCO stores, Leight worked for his father, Larry Leight, the patriarch of iconic eyewear brand Oliver Peoples. “I fell in love with the company,” Leight says. “I realized I wanted to create my own company—my own world—for people who liked the things that I liked.”
He did exactly that in 2009, opening the multi-brand lifestyle concept store A. Kinney Court on Venice’s eclectic Abbot Kinney Boulevard. Two years later, inspired by his customers, skateboarding, music, and an appreciation for quality and good design, Leight launched his namesake line of sunglasses and optical frames for men and women.
His retro-classic collection quickly amassed a following among the sun-and-surf set as well as celebrities like January Jones, Kendall Jenner, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Kristen Stewart. He had instant hits with the Kinney and the Hampton, best-sellers that have been in rotation since season one. “They work on the coolest hipster on the planet or the dad coaching the soccer team,” Leight says.
The Dallas shop promises a team of opticians on hand to assist with fittings and exams. There’s even a lab where customers can have lenses custom-tinted and set into a frame of their choosing, or have prescriptions filled in one hour. “I’m surrounded by talented, young professionals who love the brand and love what we’re doing,” Leight says. “The result is happiness.”
He hopes Dallasites are equally happy with the new store. The airy space was designed with a California vibe, which is articulated through museum-white walls and an undulating beamed ceiling that mimics waves. An experiential lighting installation, inspired by artist James Turrell, plays to Leight’s love of art and culture, and the perfect happenstance of his name. Like the designer’s beautifully rendered eyewear, it will be something to see.