As the Saks Fifth Avenue senior buyer for men’s footwear in the mid-2000s, Shawn Pean saw an opportunity.
“Back then, it was all about black and brown shoes and catering to Wall Street. But we set a goal to really go after a younger customer by driving the sneaker business. We were leading that charge at the time no one thought designer sneakers would be a big business,” recalled Pean.
Now Pean says changing lifestyles and the pandemic have created another opportunity in men’s fashion. He’s seized the moment by launching an upscale men’s wear collection called June79, which he says is priced in the “affordable luxury” range, targets professionals and is relaxed, unconventional yet still business lunch appropriate. He’s the designer, founder and sole owner of June79.
“June79 is a luxury men’s wear brand seeking to reframe and redefine men’s luxury clothing and really adapt to what’s happening today and how men move through life, and that’s the starting point for our brand ethos,” Pean told WWD. For men who still want a stylish, professional look, “it really entails adding a level of comfort, a level of refinement and a level of cool to it. We created a product that is a hybrid, that takes tailored fabrics and applies them to a more relaxed silhouette. The product speaks to a guy who needs to be on a Zoom call, or needs to meet someone for lunch, but still wants to be respectful and feel confident in what they wear.
“We’ve seen men move to a relaxed lifestyle, so for men to go from wearing T-shirts and sweats over the past year, to immediately jump into a suit is a tall task, so what’s the hybrid? What’s the happy medium?” Pean said.
Prices for jackets start at $595; shorts are priced at $195; trousers start at $250, and T-shirts start at $165. All of the manufacturing is done in New York City, and fabrics from Italian mills, including Loro Piana and Tollegno, are utilized — mostly wool fabrics with stretch for comfort and movement are used, but all of the fabrics have stretch characteristics. Pean described the silhouettes as “more relaxed” and the patterns as traditional.
The collection officially launches June 24 with a website, June79nyc.com. “It’s a content rich website that really speaks to the consumer through storytelling,” Pean said.
“Moving into a post-pandemic world, you still don’t necessarily want to wear a button-down, but you might want to have a dressier T for a meeting. We’re targeting more of a mind-set than a true demographic — professionals across multiple industries,” said Pean, who won the “Ski Slope Award” for buyers at Saks who think outside the box to drive business.
After Saks, he served as vice president of wholesale and commercial development for Valentino in the Americas; president and managing director of Balmain in the Americas; chief merchant at Guesst Software, and he formed Pean Group Six LLC, a consulting company. The Brooklyn-born Pean began his career with the executive training program at J.C. Penney. He’s a mentor at RAISEFashion and sits on the Black in Fashion Council.
The June79 team is working out of the Wheelhouse space in TriBeCa. The team includes Paolo Torello-Viera, head of supply chain and operations; Carmine Pappagallo, head of finance; Allyson Moore, head of business development, and Kathleen Ruiz of KRW Consulting.
Asked how he came up with June79 to name the collection, Pean said, “The name June79 has lived in my head for a long time, my brother passed away years back. He always wanted me to start a clothing line. His name was June, and June 1979 is the month and year I was born.”