l.a.Eyeworks began on September 9, 1979 when Barbara McReynolds and Gai Gherardi opened a single storefront on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, California. The original whim for this adventure? To challenge the prevailing norms of eyewear with proposals for a new, provocative revelation of the face. More than three decades and hundreds of frame designs later, l.a.Eyeworks remains a privately owned house of optical imagination, encompassing two namesake retail stores in Los Angeles and a wholesale company that channels its influential designs to a global network of independent opticians and retailers.
McReynolds and Gherardi both grew up in the seaside community of Huntington Beach, becoming inseparable friends in high school. From that time forward, the two would string together a series of cross-country adventures that eventually led them back to southern California where they trained as opticians, working in several legendary optical shops and learning from the area’s most notable craftspeople. Believing it was time to open up a new kind of conversation about glasses, McReynolds and Gherardi launched l.a.Eyeworks with a mission to encourage people to stop looking and to start seeing.