Julia Gogosha

Julia Gogosha

Photos: Cristina Dunlap
Words: Emily Draznik

The eyewear industry is a tight knit group of professionals. Maybe creativity stems from seeing the world slightly differently or maybe there’s an actual direct correlation between intelligence and having to wear glasses. No matter what you have heard, if you’re on the hunt for unique and stylish eyewear in Los Angeles you’ll eventually stumble upon GOGOSHA. This Eastside avant-garde boutique attracts the stylish likes of Quentin Tarantino, Lady Gaga and numerous California creatives that work in film, art and music.

Established in 2008 by eyewear aficionado Julia Gogosha, GOGOSHA has made an impact on the eyewear industry by focusing on independent, high-quality brands that transform your appearance and actually help you see. Julia herself is almost the epitome of the luxury eyewear experience. Her attention to detail, personalized approach and general encyclopedic knowledge of eyewear leaves her legions above any chain store or modern day tech companies disguised as eyewear brands. Her personal beliefs make for an extremely organic partnership with GLCO and you get what you pay for. After chatting with Julia for just a few minutes, you can attest to her dedication to individualized and quality service. Her connection with her customers is beyond business; it’s personal.

How did you get started in eyewear?

I’ve been wearing glasses since I was five years old. From the ages of five to 13, I always had two pairs of glasses at the same time. I took them off every opportunity I could. I was 14 years old when I found the first pair of glasses that I liked, or they found me. It was like the entire trajectory of my life changed. I discovered that the medical device perched upon my nose is now also a tool of expression that truly represented me. It’s a transformative experience based on authenticity.

At 18, I began apprenticing for a local eye doctor in the prestigious neighborhood of Birmingham, MI where I fell in love with every facet of the industry and absorbed information and knowledge like a sponge.
At 20 years old I moved to New York and began representing designers, traversing the US and Canada developing relationships and crafting a curated selection of frames in independent optical shops.

I opened up the first GOGOSHA store in March of 2008. I had been working as an ambassador for a number of independent eyewear brands, and I was excited to champion them and introduce them to the people of the city I love.

When did you discover your talent for fitting frames to people’s faces?

Not certain if I could pinpoint exactly when, but I have always approached fitting frames on faces firstly as a matter of composition. Knowing what designs fit facial features in matter of proportion has become almost an instinctual binary, which comes from fitting ten of thousands of faces over the years.

The fun and the challenge is then expanding the definition of what works on an individual and why. When the choice of frame becomes transformative in the person’s perception of self, when it personifies and communicates who they are—it’s magic. Working with each client one-on-one as their optician garners immediate as well as long-lasting feedback. I just smile when I think of all the happy people in their new-found love of eyewear.

What made you decide to move to Los Angeles from NYC? What’s your favorite part about the neighborhood that you live in and where your store is?

The move from NY to LA was an impulsive reaction to being literally snowed in for four days, unable to open the door to the outside world. Since growing up in Detroit, my goal since I was five years old was to make a life in New York. I never once considered the West Coast. Now I’m grateful everyday for that blizzard. Only in retrospect can I say why LA, which was to start the next chapter of my life—in perpetual sunshine.

Los Feliz was the first stop, shortly thereafter making a home in Mount Washington for the last 11 years. The eastside always felt like home. I feel very much a part of its diversity, proximity, topography and its community. Seeing clients at Café Stella, Ostrich Farms, The Echo, walking the streets of Atwater, Silver Lake, Echo Park, Los Feliz etc. The people in these communities and our clients value their local establishments and understand and value their impact on the community in which they live.

Glasses can easily become a part of someone’s identity. As someone who owns as many pairs as you do, is there a common theme in glasses that you wear? Do you feel like you have multiple personalities?

My eyewear wardrobe is vast yet purposeful. Each frame choice speaks to a different facet of who I am and what I want to express (as do my clothes). The common theme is they are all filtered through me, which I feel is reflective of a moment in time. Challenging the familiar is my default setting. In my wardrobe I don’t have a uniform, rarely combining articles and accessories the same way twice. With any given outfit I usually can chose from five different frames, and they all say something different. I love the freedom in those choices and encourage the same for clients. It’s fun to look back over my collection of eyewear; they have memories attached to them. Like having a soundtrack to your life.

It’s fun to look back over my collection of eyewear; they have memories attached to them.

GOGOSHA is the type of niche store that probably gets a lot of repeat clients. What characteristics does the typical GOGOSHA client have?

Our clients are a reflection of us as we are of them. We share the same values and appreciate an individualized approach to service, curation and story. Our clients are early adopters, forward thinking, open minded individuals. We provoke and encourage and the GOGOSHA client appreciates and has come to expect this type of engagement. They discuss their experience when a friend or even a stranger compliments them on their eyewear, which is often every day. The majority of our client base is repeat clients and referrals.

Have you always supported independent eyewear? Why is it that GOGOSHA only carries independent brands?

Always. Our purpose is to help tell people’s stories through their eyewear. Independent designers and brands have the shortest distance from their intention to the final product. It’s unfiltered, un-fucked with. Unlike licensed brands which are geared toward a demographic, independents look to the individual. We help facilitate the connection between wearer and designer.

With so many independent designers entering the arena, we seek out and support brands whose values align with ours. A standard of quality, authenticity and service are paramount. Independent is the genesis of ideas and we love sharing these ideas with our clients and being part of the conversation.

Are there any standout “pinch me” moments in your career that you’d like to share? What is it that you are most proud of?

Most days, I pinch myself at least once. I created GOGOSHA as my own little universe. Within these walls I am wholy myself, encourage others to be who they are, champion designers I believe in. I was told by virtually every optical shop in LA that Angelenos did not want the brands I believed in. The fact the GOGOSHA have a cult-like following both in and outside the industry is a major “pinch-me” moment. From the outcast to the barometer of eyewear excellence is pretty validating and pinch-worthy.

This being LA, many of our clients are the creative professionals whose work I’ve admired from afar, and now having zero degrees of separation with icons of industry is pretty rad.

Working and collaborating with the creative talents of LA to create images and stories around eyewear is hugely exciting and crafting the narrative of the independent optician is certainly pinch-worthy. By now I’m covered in bruises from all the pinches. I’m grateful, everyday.

The focus of GLCO is not only the frames, but the story of the community of which it serves.

How did you discover Garrett Leight? Our designs seem to lie on the more classic side of the GOGOSHA spectrum. What initially attracted you to our brand?

Naturally as a fellow Angeleno and eyewear aficionado, we have known of Garrett Leight since day one. While the styles do tend towards the classic on the spectrum, the immaculate attention to detail and quality for a collection at an introductory price point for handmade eyewear is very rare to find, and no one does it better than GLCO.

The focus of GLCO is not only the frames, but the story of the community of which it serves. Stories supported by beautiful images that reflect the wearer. The style is polished yet relaxed, subtle yet identifiable. Like any great collection the spirit and the style is an expression of the mind behind the line. And like minds always find one another.