The story of Shady Character actually starts back in the 1970s, during a new wave of fashion that was taking over New York. During that time, Linda Rae Tepper and Steven Abrams led the charge and, at one point, teamed up with eyewear designer Julius Tart. That collaboration resulted in the “Shady” look. Unfortunately, during the rise of the Shady Character look, manufacturing eyewear in the US became increasingly difficult and production of Shady Character came to a grinding halt. But when one door closes, another opens.
Fast forward a few years, and eyewear industry veteran and founder of Native Sons, Tommy O’Gara came onto the scene. O’Gara discovered that the IP license renewal for Shady Character Eyewear was lapsing, so he snatched it up. With the license, O’Gara was able to create a new line of eyewear that mixed the traditional with the contemporary. With the help of creative director Michael Carney and illustrator Aaron Lang, O’Gara resurrected the brand.
The frames are handmade in Japan using high quality hardware and acetates and are characterized by their thicker parts. Tortoise shell designs are prolific in the line. It’s a fortunate thing that O’Gara was open to opportunity, otherwise this classic design could have been lost to the annals of time.