We call ourselves the Rolex of sunglasses.

– Gareth Llewelyn.

Renauld sunglasses from The Italian Job

The Italian Job (1969)

Renauld Sunglasses

I spoke to CEO and Re-Founder of Renauld Sunglasses Gareth Llewelyn. What does it take (other than deep pockets) to revive an old brand that has been defunct for 40 years? I’m also joined by Editor in Chief of SunglassesID, Remmert Van Braam. Below are some moments transcribed from my chat with Gareth. The podcast will be available to listen on iTunes, Stitcher or Spotify  or in the player below. You can also catch our chat on YouTube.

ME

Gareth, where did your fascination for Renauld begin?

GARETH

I ran a website for Renauld nerds which got a huge amount of traffic from 2015. I accumulated a huge amount of information about Renauld. Like who designed these things, where the original patents were. But the factory had been defunct in Reno in Nevada for 40 years so it was all gone. There was nothing there.

Renauld sunglasses man leaning against classic car looking cool

ME

Do you worry about any sensitivities using old images to promote the brand?

GARETH

In 2019 I was contacted by Fritz Kaiser, he owns the original Lamborghini Miura and he was interested. He said ‘you can come and do the photo shoot with the car’. It was the most extraordinary thing to happen to me. We went out to do the photo shoot. The sensitivity was gone, we had the car, we had the glasses, for me there were a few tears in my eyes. I couldn’t believe I managed to make this thing again and put them back in the car. Going back to the colour, when you watch the film its more red than orange, when you’re in front of the car its more orange.

Renauld sunglasses worn in the alps in front of a Lamborghini

REMMERT

And where is the market for these glasses? Film fans or car fans?

GARETH

There are 3 distinct areas the brand has fallen into. Initially, The Italian Job was the thing that pulled the brand back up to any type of status. I engaged with a big brand company in the US who could see that this was an ultra-luxury brand. That’s where we placed the brand.

So number one is the automotive area. We customise the glasses to the car so we’ll put the chassis number in we’ll put the model number in. Custom made in the frame whatever you want.

The second one is the celebrity film star market place that’s why Susan George came onboard to be an ambassador with us. There are other cinema stars in line. The third one is the music industry. Because Elvis wore them there has been a lot of people contacting me from the LA music market that want to use The Sixty Ones, which are the Elvis type ones. We’re looking for the next face in music.

Susan George Wearing Renauld Sunglasses

Susan George Wearing Renauld Sunglasses

ME

Are you looking to make this an exclusive club?

GARETH

I don’t want to pump out millions of sunglasses, we want to be very concise. We call ourselves the Rolex of sunglasses we’re moving towards making sunglasses more jewellery than sunglasses. I think that we have only made 200 of these this season.  You’ll get noticed wearing these. One person bought 4 of them because he is a collector and he wanted one for each car. What I’m finding that this is the market. But the 61 and The Bikini for the ladies, it’s more mainstay.

Credits and Further Reading