Twenty Fifty
Feb 16, 2019 8:24 AM
I want to document Oakley’s influence on and indirect creation of other brands via former employees. Former Oakley employees have gone on to start influential brands that have competed with Oakley (and still do). If you know of any brands that I forgot, please do chime in.

The most famous brand that was started by a former Oakley employee is Arnette. Greg Arnette designed for Oakley in the ‘80s and left the company in 1991. He then went on to start Arnette in 1991/1992. Arnette Optics was then sold to B&L in 1996, and B&L’s sunglasses business subsequently sold to Lux in 1999. In Oakley’s more aggressively litigious days, Oakley sued Arnette for stealing a sunglass design, the Steel Raven. The lawsuit was eventually settled out-of-court for $750k.

Though not a direct creation from an Oakley employee, Greg Arnette’s son (Kip) started Electric in 2000. Kip retired in 2015, I think.

Dragon/Dragon Alliance
Will Howard was an Oakley regional sales manager from 1985 to 1992. After leaving the company, he started Dragon. Dragon Alliance was sold to Marchon in 2012.

Torch Eyewear
After Oakley left drag racing, Paul LeSage (who previously worked directly with JJ) started up Torch and brought Louis Wellen (formerly part of Oakley’s Global Sports Marketing) with him.
Michael Elfstrom
Feb 16, 2019 8:39 AM
Have any of you tested these brands? Are they any good?
Dann Thombs
Feb 16, 2019 1:42 PM
I picked up a few Dragon models a while back. Some styles were nice, but the frame materials were always very rigid.
Dann Thombs
Feb 16, 2019 1:44 PM
Also the Fox eyewear line wasn't via an ex employee, but they were created by Oakley minus XYZ optics. However certain frame colors and the start of gradient lenses began there.
OB session
Feb 16, 2019 1:47 PM
Barton Perreira. Allied Metal Works.
Twenty Fifty
Feb 16, 2019 4:19 PM
Barton Perreira is an interesting one. Bill Barton and Patty Perreira were Oliver Peoples employees that left pretty much right after Oakley bought the brand in 2006. They started Barton Perreira in 2007 and Allied Metal Works is an offshoot brand that came many years later. Several OP alumni started their own brand:


- Barton Perreira, co-founded by (designer) Patty Perreira and Bill Barton
-Garrett Leight California Optical, founded by Garrett Leight, son of Oliver Peoples’ co-founder, Larry Leight
-Mr. Leight, a new brand by Larry and Garrett Leight
-SALT Optics, co-founded by Taylor Whisenand, David Rose (David Rose was the OP employee. I don’t think Whisenand had any involvement in OP though he worked with Quiksilver), and Ron Smith
-Buscemi, a luxury sneaker/shoe brand founded by Jon Buscemi, who previously worked for Oliver Peoples
-David Kind, founded by David Barton

So in essence, Oakley’s disruption of OP caused the creation of a few well-known brands in the industry.
OB session
Feb 17, 2019 8:43 AM
It's the third partner at Barton Perreira/Allied Metal Works that was a very significant Oakley employee.
OB session
Feb 17, 2019 8:45 AM
Current president of Salt is a former Oakley guy. And an early cast member of the Real World lol.
Twenty Fifty
Feb 17, 2019 4:17 PM
Good info as always. Thanks, OB!
OB session
Feb 18, 2019 2:57 AM
I believe one of the Kaenon founders is an Oakley guy too. Roka's eyewear division is an Oakley guy.

Twenty Fifty
Feb 18, 2019 5:04 AM
Good one on Kaenon. Steve Rosenberg was with Oakley for the bulk of the ‘90s.

Roka having Oakley DNA (Jamie Oman) on their roster may explain why some of their sports models are so very similar to Oakley models.
Bob Russell
Feb 18, 2019 1:07 PM
How about RED Camera?
Ken Siverts
Apr 29, 2019 10:42 PM
ESS was purchased by Oakley and still markets as ESS

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