Arnette has come a long way since its rather humble beginnings.
Greg Arnette started his namesake eyewear company in the early 90s. (Either out of his garage or the trunk of a rental car.) The former sunglass designer for Oakley was tapped into the California surf scene. He leaned on that network when crafting his first designs. However, the break from Oakley turned contentious as lawsuits between his former employer and his company played out in court early on.
Still, just a few years later, Arnette sold his business, Arnette Optical, to Bosch & Lomb in 1996 for $100 million. Arnette stayed on until retiring in 2000, shortly after Luxottica purchased Bosch & Lomb’s sunglass division for $640. Now, of course, Arnette and Oakley are under the same EssilorLuxottica umbrella.
Through it all, though, Arnette has remained focused on its target audience: Surfboarders, snowboarders, and skateboarders.
The brand’s connection to skate culture was on full display during this year’s New York Fashion Week. Arnette teammed with British lifestyle magazine Dazed to host Skate Jam on Sept. 10 at an unused outdoor space next to the Hudson River in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The skateboard and music fest featured an eclectic mix of skaters, influencers, and the curious.
“It’s important for us to embrace our roots and differentiate ourselves as much as those who wear Arnette do,” says Astrid Casali, Arnette global brand director, in a press release. “Creating street-inspired eyewear for the naturally edgy is what Arnette aims to do every day – and we brought that to life with Skate Jam.”