The story behind the campaign for the new collaboration between Rimowa and Garrett Leight California Optical begins, as so many love stories do, with a guy swiping his significant other’s stuff so often that he gets himself in trouble. Hoping to wade out of the proverbial hot water, he gets his own version of that stuff, thus cementing the obsession. Ah, romance.
“I remember my wife got a pair of Garrett Leight sunglasses a few years back, and I started wearing that same pair of sunglasses,” says Dave Franco. He wrote and directed the new campaign video showcasing the collaborative lineup—which includes a custom-branded Rimowa suitcase, as well as six pairs of Garrett Leight sunglasses—and paying homage to the eyewear brand’s Venice, California roots. But it probably wouldn’t have happened if he didn’t first pilfer that original pair from his wife (Alison Brie, in case you’ve forgotten).
“It got to the point where she got annoyed with me stealing her glasses, so I went to the store and got a few of my own pairs,” Franco says. Now, “it’s really the only brand that I wear, and so I just wanted to meet the guy and sit down with him and pick his brain, and just kind of see what types of things he was interested in, and see if we could find something to collaborate on.”
Cue a meeting with Garrett Leight (the man, not the brand, the latter of which also goes by GLCO), about a year ago. Franco and Leight hit it off, “and then, a few months ago, he reached out and let me know about his collaboration with Rimowa. I jumped at the opportunity to create an ad for them. These are two brands that I genuinely love,” Franco explains. In addition to wearing Leight’s eyewear on the regular, he’s been wheeling around a Rimowa carry-on (discovered at Fred Segal) “for as long as I can remember.” The way he sees it, the two brands share an ethos, both in what they make and how they deal with creative endeavors. “They’re extremely classy yet still forward-thinking, and they pretty much gave me full creative control, which allowed us to create something that felt a little more outside of the box.”
Going outside the box, in this particular context, actually meant going on top of it—or at least on top of a Rimowa suitcase. Franco’s two-minute film centers on a savvy, stylish Parisian who lands in Venice and becomes enamored of the neighborhood’s skate culture. He turns his luggage on its side, it magically becomes skateable, and he rolls through Abbott Kinney and the boardwalk before landing at the skate park. It’s kind of ridiculous, but a lot of fun. And here’s the thing: The main actor, skater and surfer Spencer Glass, was actually riding that suitcase.
“Yeah, we built that suitcase/skateboard hybrid,” Franco says. “We didn’t know if it was going to work, and the entire video lived or died on whether or not our main actor could actually ride that thing. We just kept making adjustments until our actor felt comfortable riding it.” (If you’re wondering: Yes, Franco and the rest of the folks on set rode it, too.)
Franco also enlisted the help of other skaters—Le’andre Sanders, Ben Yee, and GrlSwrl co-founder Monroe Alvarez—to make sure he was giving the tricks featured in the video their due, visually, and to pay homage to the local scene. That is, after all, what the entire sun-soaked, skate-friendly collaboration is all about. Opening up the co-branded suitcase will reveal a gold pair of Garrett Leight sunglasses, but also an array of Venice-inspired accessories like a beach towel, surf wax, stickers, and a luggage tag.
In a statement about the new collection, which launches in stores and online on March 12, both Garrett Leight and Alexandre Arnault, CEO of Rimowa, express their mutual admiration of the other’s brand. And, as Leight notes, “Paying homage to our California heritage and the legendary eras that inspired this collaboration is a perfect way to celebrate our ten years in business.” But if you’re looking for an indication of just how naturally these new offerings fit into the landscape they’re inspired by, consider how Franco’s time on set shooting the video played out.
“It honestly turned out better than we could have ever imagined,” he says. “It could have been a full-on nightmare. And on top of everything, we filmed in three of the most lively areas of Venice: Abbot Kinney, the boardwalk, and the skatepark.” Seems like the perfect set of spots to be mobbed by random hangers-on. And yet…
“Yeah…no one even really stopped to ask what was going on,” Franco says. “It was just another day in the life of Venice.”
From: Esquire US
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