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A Visit from Tommy O’Gara

Tommy O'gara and Dan Deutsch pose for Instagram at Dan Deutsch Optical Outlook on Sunset Plaza

As eyewear enthusiasts, we love it when our favorite designers come to visit. So you can imagine our excitement when Tommy O’Gara, “the Man behind some of the world’s best Eyewear” came all the way from Japan to talk shop with Dan Deutsch at our Sunset Plaza boutique. Tommy is the director of The Light Company, which manufactures eyewear for for the brands Native Sons, Shady Character, Sauvage and most recently Max Pittion. He was witty and charming, and extremely passionate about eyewear.

Dan could’t pass up the opportunity to take out his phone and record a video. Tommy used the occasion to introduce his brand Native Sons.

YouTube video
Dan Deutsch takes a video of the Light Co.'s Tommy O'Gara
Behind the Scenes

Hi I’m Tommy O’gara, I’m here visiting Dan Deutsch, from Japan. I’m the director of the Light Company. We have a brand called Native Sons we’re looking at today. 

Native Sons is designed by us. It’s made in our own factory in Sabae. It’s very vertical. We can go from from design to prototype in 20 days. So we do a lot of experimentation. And I’d like to show you the Engineering collection a little bit and the Craftline collection. 

The engineering collection is marked by these beauty marks. And this is a frame called the Cornell. We use only Takiron materials which are cellulose based. They’re better for the planet, better for your skin. They’re harder, deeper, richer. And we have a special system of tumbling. We created a tumbling system called Spirogara, which polishes actually the front at the same time, whereas 90 degree tumbling just takes the edges. That’s why the Takiron materials are key, because they’re much harder…The Cornell is a large, meaty Wellington. It looks fabulous. This is called Honey Tortoise… OK. So we do acetate, metals, combinations. We could shift over to say… the Matheson. 

The Matheson — it’s a timeless frame! I mean, it’s got 3D carving. This color is called gasoline. Again, the beauty marks. We have the scooped arrow hinge, and we also use the star nut. 

The star nut is to tune the hinge. It was used in the 80s and early 90s in Japan, and the Japanese designers discarded it as being sort of “not needed”.  But the truth is, the star nut hinge configuration, for opticians, is really premium. It’s really a great way to tune the hinges.  

So, we’re looking forward to introducing these to Hollywood and of course Dan. And I’m really, really happy to be here.
Tommy: If I’m out rolling, I’ll put on the Kowalski acetate frame. I have one color we call “blood”. . I really wanted, not a red, but a deep, burnt wine. So, one night I just poked my finger and it bled on the paper, and I photographed it while it was drying because, you know, blood will go from bright red to like a burnt brown. And I peeked it just before the burnt brown — really amazing color.

Dan: The things we have to do to create!

Tommy: Well, yeah, I probably wouldn’t have done that if I wasn’t looking for the color, but you’re right. It didn’t hurt much. Yeah,  I mean I’m really inspired by nature when it comes to color, you know. And starting to look toward space, actually. There’s some amazing colors and hues that they can take with the Hubble space craft now, you know. Colors you never saw before in your life, on earth! Not exactly, anyway, you know? I mean I grew up in the 70s, so, you know, we experimented with everything.

Next Up

Tommy and Dan spent the next few hours talking all things eyewear. Tommy shared his inspirations for his latest collection, the challenges he faced while designing it, and his vision for the future of eyewear. You can listen to more of the conversation here:

YouTube video

Tommy’s commitment to sustainability was evident in our conversation. He spoke about his passion for creating eyewear that was both stylish and environmentally conscious. He told us about how the material is conserved by the way they are cut, and how the off-cuts are decomposed without harmful gases.

If you want to biodegrade these — you can biodegrade them. But if you don’t want to, they are going to last longer than anything.

Meeting eyewear legend Tommy O’gara was an experience that we will always remember. We look forward to the next visit, and until then will continue to be inspired by Tommy’s dedication to creating unique, high-quality, and sustainable eyewear.