By Tom Jones Monday 6th Oct, 2014

Oliver Peoples has to have one of the most unusual establishing stories I’ve ever heard.  Usually a brand, particularly in Britain, was established in the year dot by a man who, often, would name it after himself. Usually, the company would then produce a range created, or at least designed, entirely by themselves   Not so with Oliver Peoples. In 1986 the brand’s co-founder, Larry Leight went along to an auction house. He saw and immediately fell in love with a lot of thousands of American-made vintage glasses-including some fantastic clip on sunglasses. The glasses were unworn, in mint condition and, most incredibly, were in the original packaging! Later in the year, Leight began to sell the collection on Hollywood’s Sunset Boulevard under the name of Oliver Peoples – a name Leight found on a receipt inside the lot.

Oliver Peoples has actually had a serious influence on fashion. Launched in the mid-80’s, O.P. sped up the timely demise of the futuristic sunglass designs of the period. For that alone, we will forever be in their debt. It re-launched the whole genre of vintage style glasses and came just as large glasses such as the Rayban Wayfarer were being popularised – particularly by appearances in films such as They Live in the late 1980s, then subsequently American Psycho, to name but a few. At their time of launch, Oliver Peoples were explosive enough to almost single-handedly destroy the modernist sunglasses craze when launched and they continue to be immensely popular amongst the great at good – a simple google images search proves that, with the list of celebrities being far too long to list here.


Oliver Peoples sunglasses aren’t now just based on the original designs of the sunglasses bought in the lot. New styles have kept the O.P. fresh, but they all keep the vintage feel of the originals, which is what this brand is about. They provide a great alternative to Raybans, which it seems everyone is wearing. What also sets O.P glasses apart is the rich colour and depth of the acetate. Rims like those found on the Wayfarer are plain, simple black – however, on O.P. rims, the availability of different patterns prevents this from happening to O.P glasses- it also increases the heritage feel of them. The rich colour of the acetate, however, doesn’t stop them having a translucent quality that seems to absorb the light. This is fantastic, as the glasses become lighter in sun-rich summer, when you are more likely to wear lighter coloured clothes, but of course it darkens in dark light, for instance winter-when you’d wear dark clothing.

OP3O.P. glasses will, if looked after, last longer than any other glasses. The O.P. brand isn’t just about fashion – it isn’t just about style. It’s about great quality, it seems. The glasses I used here were too small for my rather wide face – however they were absolutely able to bend, ever so slightly, to my face. The ability to bend in glasses is absolutely key, since heads can be of different widths –lightweight aluminium used in construction gives the frames flexibility which allows you to be a little rougher with the frames. It means you don’t need to be extra careful with them, which is a nice feeling-you should be able to take off your glasses without worrying about them being damaged, after all! However, despite them bending to accommodate my face, there was absolutely no hint of them breaking. There is something to note that is symbolic of the quality that is put into O.P. glasses. Even the hinges are well made-they aren’t glued on, but secured through pins onto the frame itself. This takes some serious extra time and effort, as well as training, but it makes a much finer and more robust rim – this is what the difference is between the usual, high-street glasses you can buy from Specsavers and the serious quality-focussed O.P specs.

Check out Oliver Peoples High Summer Frames:

So, on to the summary. O.P specs are placed right at the top of the market – and rightly so! There is so much to rave about the glasses. The depth of colour in the frames, the fantastic build quality – and there is so much I haven’t mentioned, for instance the corewire, or the range of luxury lenses available. But the whole adds up to so much more than the sum of the parts. When you handle O.P. Optics products, you can feel not only the quality but the heritage that goes with the brand – and it feels fantastic! So, to put it in a single sentence; O.P is a blend of what made glasses great – and still does.