On Monday night, rapper and Puma ambassador Big Sean brought a little piece of the Midwest to Los Angeles to toast his first design collaboration with the brand. The parking lot of Goya Studios was transformed via a food truck from Chicago’s Harold’s Chicken Shack and a one-night-only barber shop adjacent to the pop-up shop selling his merchandise. The 29-year-old hip-hop artist, who has been a Puma ambassador since 2016, arrived draped in jewels and a head-to-toe cream outfit from his collection of reinvented classics.
Naturally, the rapper — whose birth name is Sean Anderson — also took the stage to celebrate. In between performing hits such as “Clique” and “Blessed,” he gave an impassioned, minutes-long speech to the crowd and told them, “Whatever you’re doing, if you have that purity in you, there’s no way you can fail.”
Before all that, Big Sean sat down with WWD to get candid about design, sneaker culture, social media and staying healthy.
WWD: How does it feel to design your first collection?
Big Sean: It’s definitely one of the cooler things that comes from doing what I do, making music and being a creative, you get to express yourself in other ways. I’m from a real stylish city; everyone’s “fitted” from the Midwest in general. You’ve got your Detroit players, your Ohio players and Chi-town. It’s cool to be repping where I’m from and doing it like that.
WWD: Why did you choose to work with Puma?
B.S.: They got me and I like people who are looking to expand, they’re not satisfied and they want to try new things. That’s where I’m at in my life — I’m expanding and growing and I’m at a point where it’s time to work with the people who want to work with you and willing to take the same chances as you and risks as you.
WWD: In terms of design, what was the first shoe that got your attention and why?
B.S.: Growing up, classic silhouettes were the main thing, like the Puma Clyde, Air Force 1s, Jordans, Jordan 1s. I really liked all of those shoes. It’s whatever set the fit off right. And boots and Timbs [Timberlands]; I had the Beef and Broccolis. Those were crucial to me, and the Wheats. People say that’s a New York thing, but they were rocking them in the “D,” too.
WWD: What is it about sneaker culture in L.A. that excites you?
B.S.: People line up for sneakers here, they camp out, they’re really about that sneaker life here. This is the only place that I’ve been to that has a sneaker convention. I just remember thinking, “Damn, all these people are out here for sneakers.” I know they have them at a few other places, but L.A. has strong and exclusive pieces. I appreciate them for still being active like that in 2018. Even with Internet shopping, people still get out in the streets and line up to be a part of the process.
WWD: How do you use your social media platform for work and fashion?
B.S.: I’m not that good at social media. I’m actually kind of terrible at it. It’s crazy because I have 10 million followers and I don’t know how I got that many. This may sound funny, but even though I’m an artist, I keep a lot of stuff bottled up and I keep a lot of stuff private. As crazy as that may sound, there are a lot of things people don’t know about me because I don’t share it on social media. Maybe I’ll get more comfortable with doing that, but I do appreciate being able to reach people instantly, like, “Bam here it is” to show off my collection or drop a new album. The Internet is responsible for a lot of the things that are going on in my life as far as the good and the bad. One of the blessings it’s brought me is my fans and the people that listen to me and how easy it is to connect with them.
WWD: As a quiet person, how do you express yourself?
B.S.: I’ve been trying to find more avenues to express myself. I have friends that I talk to, but mental health is a real thing and I’m trying to take care of my own so I might go see a therapist because it’s healthy to talk to somebody. I’m not scared to admit that I’ve got problems. Some days are very hard for me to deal with and I don’t feel like doing anything, and I’m tired of life truthfully sometimes. I’m not saying this to be depressing, I’m saying this to be real. If people can’t afford a therapist they can talk to their friends or someone they can confide in. But I definitely want to express myself more on top of the music.
WWD: Are there others that you follow or admire on social media?
B.S.: People should take a break from social media sometimes and really concentrate on what they’re supposed to do. Sometimes there are weeks where I don’t post. I feel bad like, “Ugh, I have to post something,” but I don’t know why. I’m doing something that’s important to me. But, I do like Will Smith, his Instagram is fire.