Shawn Pean has worn a lot of hats during the course of his 20-plus year fashion career. From associate buyer at Macy’s and a nine-year stint at Saks Fifth Avenue to overseeing wholesale at Valentino and serving as brand president of Balmain, Pean has experience in all aspects of the business.
But after years of toiling for others, he knew he was ready for a change. And in 2021, he launched June79, a menswear brand centered around the “un-suit,” or pieces based on traditional tailored clothing but updated for a modern man.
“I’d done retail buying, wholesale and ran a company,” he said. “But I kept thinking, what’s next? I realized I had given away so much and I wanted to do something on my own.”
His late brother June had always pushed him to start his own brand and June79 was created in part as a tribute to him. The name also references the month and year of Pean’s birth.
His key products include the Heritage Collection with jackets that are more reminiscent of bombers than traditional sport coats, and coordinating pants with jogger bottoms or straight, tapered legs.
“We’re redefining tailored clothing,” he said. “The world has fundamentally changed and June79 is about taking suit fabric and using it in a different way.”
“It’s a different body,” he said. The fabric, which is sourced from Italy, has stretch properties and is offered in a variety of iterations, including solids and houndstooths. The collection is made in New York.
The collection started with just two silhouettes of jackets and pants as well as a short, but has since expanded into T-shirts and short-sleeve shirts, sweaters, denim jackets, vests and leathers — many of them in eye-popping colors and patterns. Footwear is in the cards for the near future as is the expansion of more sportswear-inspired pieces.
For spring, there’s a pink track suit, double-breasted cardigans and a sleeveless version of the brand’s signature jacket. Pean also created an updated tuxedo.
Prices range from $695 to $895 for the jackets and $250 to $295 for the pants.
Although still menswear, June79 has found female fans, especially for some of the more colorful pieces.
While still small, June79 is starting to create a buzz and has been seen on the backs of celebrities and athletes including Steph Curry, Trevor Noah and Will Smith, Pean said.
The collection is also connecting with the everyday man looking for an updated alternative. If a man is not a corporate attorney or working in finance on Wall Street, his wardrobe demands have changed, Pean believes, and his primary goal is to find something sophisticated but also comfortable. It’s that niche that June79 is aiming for.
The collection is carried in seven Saks Fifth Avenue doors as well as in several specialty stores around the country including Marissa Collections in Florida, and James Witmer’s A Ma Maniere in Washington, D.C. It also sells direct-to-consumer and had a pop-up in SoHo last year for six months where Pean had the opportunity to meet his customers in person.
“I had thought the customer was younger, but we found that it was basically a Caucasian male 40 to 55 years old who was buying our jackets,” he said. He speculated that’s because his line has familiar underpinnings but represents the “entryway to cool” for men of that age.
Pean admits that leaving the corporate world to start his own business was a risk, but he’s confident that June79 will continue to grow.
“We’re looking at other wholesale partners,” he said, adding that specialty stores are the most appealing option for the brand to attract men seeking to “un-suit themselves. We are the bridge where the guy can start.”
He’d also like to eventually open a store of his own and is talking to investors since the brand is now completely self-funded.
“In a world full of noise, we are evolving and figuring out how to market when there are so many distractions,” he said. “But we have to be careful and not chase too many shiny things.”