The Reference Library: Shades of progression

Deep-rooted in Gordon’s collection is a magnificent celebration of subcultures. His sunglasses give you a refreshing new outlook on the possibilities of dressing up – and that very much includes tailoring.
Buzz Tang, Co-founder of The Anthology wearing The Reference Library sunglasses. (Photo by Alex Natt)

Many will recall the crusty old wood-panelled libraries at school or university, where the bespectacled professors roam in corduroy trousers, telling the students off for making too much noise. If this is the scene you had in mind when it came to the inspiration behind the brand, you couldn't be any further off the mark. Far more spontaneous than an actual library, Gordon Ritchie, the sunglasses entrepreneur behind the label, had a matter of days to come up with references for a men’s style destination to launch his own brand. He pondered what he was going to reference, until the word “reference” made him stop. He looked around the room at his records, shelves with stacked books, hanging pictures and prints sitting there waiting to frame and thought, this is my reference library, which naturally became the name for his sunglasses company.

Gordon has a history of changing the fortunes of sunglasses brands. In recent times he was the Managing Director of Kirk Originals. During his three-year spell at the brand he was responsible for revamping their image, which recaptured the attention of the most esteemed menswear commentators, international stores and a certain Liam Gallagher. We’re not exactly sure what Gordon has in his library, but by judging his eyewear collection, he keeps paraphernalia from a range of subcultures that honour freedom, humour and progression.


    Freddie Anderson


    March 2021


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