Interview With June79 Founder And Creative Architect Shawn Pean
Shawn Pean By Shanel Smith
Shawn Pean, founder and creative architect of the menswear brand, June79, has been changing the fashion game since 2020. The black-owned luxury menswear brand in pursuit of the un-suit has some of the hottest items out right now. Shawn Pean talked about his process in building the June79 brand, and how it is his home. As Shawn Pean continues to build the future of fashion, he does so with passion and creativity. June79 is a brand that was born from a rich history in fashion and culture. As I spoke with Shawn Pean about the brand I got a look into his creative mind. Continue reading to hear about Shawn Pean and his journey in creating the June79 brand.
Where are you from?
“I’m originally from Brooklyn, New York.”
When was June79 first established?
“The brand was first established in June of 2020. That is when I decided to really step out on my own and create June79. We launched a year later in June of 2021.”
What inspired you to become a creative architect?
“It’s funny, I say creative architect because I feel like and I know that I’m building a home. It’s a brand that really, allows us to write a different playbook. I think a lot of what was out there, at least to me, wasn’t appealing. I think there were a lot of guys who you know, going into the pandemic and coming out of it were just like what do I wear for this? What do I wear for that? They were coming to me for advice and I knew there was a change that needed to happen, I just wasn’t quite sure what it was. I think the inspiration came from just wanting to create something new and different and that speaks to where we are going versus where we’ve been.”
How did you choose the name June79 for your brand?
“So June79 speaks to a lot of different things. First and foremost, June is my brother’s name, and was paying homage to him. Unfortunately, he had passed some years back. Initially when I was on the business and corporate side of things I spent 20 years on the business side of fashion. He was always like ‘why don’t you start your own thing?’ At first, I was like, no I’m not trying to do all that, but I think for me it was hearing his voice and decidedly making that choice to say you know what it’s a tough road to brand build, but this is what I want.
The next stage of my career was June and paying homage to him. Seventy-nine is the periodic number for gold. So it’s like the golden standard of what we’re doing and I was also born in June of 79. It speaks to a man of a certain age, it speaks to a certain cachet. So all of that plays into it.”
What made you want to create the June79 brand?
“When you think about where we’ve been for me and just dressing in general it’s been a very construct of wearing a suit to work, a sport coat to dinner, it was all of these structural norms, and I think we’re kind of past that. This new modern renaissance is requiring you to be able to go to a boardroom, then meet someone for lunch, then meet someone for drinks, and then maybe you’re out at night. So you know, we kind of move in this pandemic world a little differently. To follow these structural norms doesn’t necessarily apply to most guys, which is why you’ve seen this huge casualization of menswear.
June79 allows you to be professional, comfortable, stylish, and cool. It plays into so much. I think for us we really cater to this new renaissance man and woman too. We’ve learned that a lot of women love our jackets. So there’s a lot of gender fluidity that is happening organically. It is speaking to the creation of where we’re going as a community and as people.”
What would you say has been your biggest creative challenge since creating June79?
“I would say my biggest creative challenge is bringing things to life. I have my ideas, my renderings, my drawings in terms of what I want to create, and then to turn around, and have it to be an actuality is always going to be a challenge. What I’m building takes time to bring to life. Sometimes the challenges are we want to do this but does it look good in real life? So that is part of the creative challenge. And then also, am I pushing, am I creating something different enough that people see a need for it? I don’t want to continue to do what has been done before. So for me, it’s about creating newer things or tweaking things to have a very different point of view.“
“For example, one of the things that I did was take one of our turtlenecks that we had in our spring runway but I made it a short sleeve turtleneck. I remember being like ‘God I love the turtleneck but it’s always underneath a jacket, so I feel like I’m always hotter than I should be. So I made it short sleeve, put it on and it looked great. I gave it to a few friends and everyone loved it, so I realized I’m on the right path here. Creating something new and different, like a double–breasted cardigan, you know most cardigans are single–breasted. Having a double–breasted cardigan is a little bit more elegant, a little bit more elevated than you wear at home. It looks great and really hasn’t been done before. Sticking with it creatively and adjusting, it just breaks down all these traditional norms. “
What would you say are some of the must-have items from June79 right now?
“I would say our pure blazer. It is our button-up blazer and it really just allows you to move through so many different social circles. It’s just a great and easy piece to wear. Then, I would say our Zach Tee, which is our more dressy tee and just has a great feel to it. It is an easy t-shirt that you can wear under your jacket that again, allows you to wear it to a meeting or to dinner. It’s just a great t-shirt.”
Where would you like to see June79 evolve in the future?
“I think that the evolution of June79 is becoming a brand that people can’t live without. You know, a lifestyle brand that caters to both men and women, in all categories. And then also you know, I’d like to see it be recognized as a global brand where we’re seeing people on different continents wearing the product and loving to wear it throughout their daily lives. And again, just the brand becoming a daily part of people’s wardrobes.”
What would you say is next for June79?
“For us, it is really about continuing to engage with our customer base and allow them to see how the product can be worn, and how we can be a part of their lives. We want to let our consumers know that they are valued in being a part of our base and we’re excited to continue servicing them. In the near future, we are expanding on categories. We have a show coming up in about a week and we are showing new categories, new ways that we can push the boundaries of today’s modern dressing. Then long term, product extensions. We are going into footwear, we have already designed the footwear, so that’s next. And, I want to move into women’s business and really start to speak to the women who are looking for something new and different in their wardrobe.“
Is there anything else you would like our readers to know?
“I would like to leave your readers with a quote by Maya Angelou that says, “At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.” Our tagline is “A luxury brand in the pursuit of the unsuit.” It is feel-good fashion for the inspired and so I want people to be inspired by our journey. When people wear our product we get such a visceral reaction of like, ‘wow this is really good’.
We’re a new brand that people are discovering versus a celebrity wearing it, so I feel like they are jumping on the bandwagon is way more special to me. When someone writes us and they’re like ‘ I love this jacket’ that means a lot to me. It’s special because you know that you’re getting these emotional touchpoints. This product relates to where you’re going, not where you’ve been.”