Julia Gogosha of Gogosha Optique
Stop any tastemaker on the street in LA and ask them about their glasses, and chances are, they’ll tell you they got them from Gogosha. Founded by Michigan-native and LA-transplant Julia Gogosha, the store has long been hailed as one of the premiere eyewear boutiques in the country, introducing exclusive, forward-thinking, independent eyewear brands to a West Coast audience.
After opening her flagship store in Silverlake in 2005, Gogosha set up shop on West 3rd Street in 2011. cheap iphone 7 case online The two stores now count everyone from John Mayer to Kristen Stewart as clients, while Gogosha herself has become an in-demand eyewear stylist for editorial and movie projects. (Fun fact: glasses from Gogosha were featured in the recent Jennifer Lopez movie, The Boy Next Door!)
We caught up with Julia Gogosha to find out about her early beginnings, the three new brands you need to know, and the secrets behind building a buzz-worthy boutique.
Q:: Tell us how you got started in the eyewear industry…
I’m originally from Michigan. When I was 18, I began apprenticing for a local eye doctor. I fell in love with every facet of the business and I was like a sponge; I wanted to learn as much as I could. Within six months, I was going to New York with my boss on buying trips to meet designers. When I moved to LA, I became an ambassador for many of these designers. In 2005, I decided to open up my own eyewear boutique, to introduce these independent designers to the people here.
Q:: Do you remember your first pair of glasses?
I’ve been wearing glasses since I was five years old. I was 14 years old when I finally found a pair of glasses that I liked. They were a pair of l.a.Eyeworks frames and they might as well have had a halo or beam of light surrounding them. I had finally found a beautiful object that truly represented me. They were $400, but at that time you could’ve told me they were four billion dollars because I was used to buying $100 glasses at the mall! That’s why I find the value in what we do, because it doesn’t come from a frivolous place. As much as we need to see clearly, we need to express ourselves clearly. And the only way we can do that is through designs that are made with integrity, made with a voice and made with a point of view. And every designer I carry has that.
Q:: Your first store opened in Silverlake. What brought you to West 3rd Street?
We opened as a response to growing demand through word of mouth. cheap iphone xr case online While many customers live in Silverlake, a lot of people in L.A. won’t go east of Fairfax (some won’t even cross the 405!) We wanted to be more accessible to West-siders, but still be part of a community. West 3rd Street is one of the last bastions of walkable LA. It was the natural choice.
Q:: How are the customers here different from the customers in Silverlake?
Our clientele are the early adopters – creative thinking, open minded, lovers of beautiful objects and appreciative of an old school, individual approach to service. That remains the same in both locations. The passersby we get on West 3rd are not usually familiar with independent brands and why they matter, so we love to share our knowledge of the product and introduce them to a whole new world of eyewear.
Q:: What is the customer philosophy at Gogosha? How do you set yourself apart from the other eyewear boutiques in town?
A lot of customers stand in front of a giant wall of frames and they feel overwhelmed. cheap iphone xr case They don’t know what they want or where to start. cheap iphone xs case My job is to get rid of all that noise and start with who you really are. I want to know: that thing on your face, this pair of glasses, what do you want that to reflect? What do you want them to say about you? A lot of people say, ‘Oh I just want to look good.’ But I can do that with my eyes closed. What I really want is for your glasses to reveal something about you: maybe you got a new job and want to stand in front of a room and command attention; maybe you need to become more soft and vulnerable; maybe you just want to look hot!
Q:: What designers do you carry? How do you pick out which collections to buy every season?
I’m a champion of independent designers. When I first started, Anne et Valentin and Theo had just started distributing in the U.S. They’re part of the pillars of independent eyewear. I’ve known the guys behind Mykita for a long time. Even before they started Mykita they named a frame after me called “Gogosha.” (It’s currently in our Silverlake store as a display piece). iphone 8 case outlet uk I knew Thierry Lasry when he worked for his father’s brand, Harry Lary’s. When I opened my store, he was one of the first brands we brought in. I still consider him a good friend.
All the frames I carry are truly curated. cheap iphone xs case Each of the collections has to meet our criteria: integrity of production, integrity of materials, and integrity of distribution. The brands must also have the same standard of service that we do, and have a point of view.
Q:: What are some new brands that we should look out for?
We love Bruno Chaussignand, which is handmade in Paris. We also carry SALT Optics and Ahlem Eyewear, which are both based here in Southern California.
Q:: Kristen Stewart has been photographed wearing glasses from Gogosha. What is her “eyewear style” like?
A lot of celebrities will come in with their stylists or send an assistant, but Kristen always comes in by herself or with her friends. She is always sweet, kind, delightful and remembers details of previous conversations. You know, just a regular awesome person. Her style is “classic with a twist.” Think menswear-inspired, thinner profiles, with softened angles and a neutral color palette.
Q::How has the street changed since you opened here four years ago?
It’s constantly changing. We’ve experienced a lot of turnover, but I love the direction things are moving in, with independent specialists rather than mass-market generalists. That’s what the anchors are for. West 3rd Street has always been the creative artery between The Grove and The Beverly Center.
Q:: What are your favorite things to do on the street?
OK is my go-to for gifts, books, jewelry, and beautifully-designed daily treasures. Noodle Stories never disappoints – I always find a forever piece to add to the wardrobe. I’ve been so excited ever since Sockerbit opened on the block. I used to buy 5lbs of their chewy goodies on my New York visits and make room in my luggage just to bring it all home! Now I just walk down the street!
Q::What about food?
Joan’s on Third is an institution at this point. I love everything they offer. Son of a Gun is my go-to for dining with friends. And my guiltiest pleasure is the red velvet cake from Doughboys.
Q:: What advice do you have for people who might feel intimidated walking into an eyewear store, or who are maybe getting glasses for the first time?
My role is to help you look past the familiar labels, both in terms of eyewear brands and your perception of self. Rather than giving people what they want, I give people things they never knew they wanted.