AN INTERVIEW WITH THE DESIGN FORCE BEHIND SEAN JOHN EYEWEAR
Puffy, Diddy, Sean Combs—call him what you will—there’s no doubt that the man behind the sunglasses and the Sean John label is a jack of all trades. It’s been almost 10 years since the rapper, producer, restaurateur, and actor added apparel designer to his list of accomplishments. Earlier this year, P. Diddy also introduced eyewear to the Sean John clothing line for men and women. Here’s what he had to say about the “vision” behind the Sean Jean Eyewear collection.
Sunglasses: Where did the inspiration come from for the Sean John Eyewear collection? How did you come up with the concept?
P. Diddy: I never go anywhere without my shades and I wanted to explore another dimension of Sean John. I designed a line of eyewear that is cohesive to the styles of today while still staying true to the lifestyle image of the Sean John brand.
SG: We understand that sunglasses are a staple accessory of yours, so it was only natural for you to create a sunglass collection under the Sean John brand. But why did you get involved in sunwear? Does it present any challenges for you (sunwear as opposed to clothing, for example) design-wise and also since it's a different market for you?
P. Diddy: Sunglasses are another element of style to introduce someone’s personal image, and they are another experimental dimension of fashion and style. People should just wear what they feel like wearing, whether it’s a pair of oversized zyl frames or a classic metal aviator. Transitioning from clothing to sunwear was easy with the great design team at Marchon Eyewear. They encompassed all of my ideas and inspirations into great-looking frames.
SG: How involved were you in designing the frames? Are there any design elements in the sunglasses that were taken from other products under the Sean John brand?
P. Diddy: The direction of Sean John begins and ends with me. I started by just making T-shirts and track suits for myself, my friends, and family which ignited the full lifestyle brand of Sean John. What Sean John is today is the result of years of my creativity, hard work, and development. I went to Marchon Eyewear with my personal collection of eyewear, and we designed a collection that is true to Sean John.
SG: I know the collection emphasizes a universal fit, as well as including women's styles which is new to Sean John. Do you foresee a continuation of that or are there any other directions you might take with the collection as it evolves?
P. Diddy: Anyone can wear my sunglasses. It was important to me that we make a collection that has a universal fit and feel, and more importantly a universal image. Sean John is a brand with a well-defined lifestyle image but our purpose was to make something for everyone.
SG: Do you think the collection has captured your brand's message to consumers? If so, how?
P. Diddy: The right pair of shades with the right amount of confidence can take someone’s image very far. Sunglasses always evoke some kind of attitude. I think a lot of my Sean John stuff was more understated, and my style evolution has become more elegant. I’m more in the luxury lane now.
SG: How involved are you in the marketing of the Sean John Eyewear brand?
P. Diddy: It was important to me that throughout the brand, there was the cohesive Sean John look. Everything has to be approved by me, considering I am Sean John.
Lisa Ross, Brand Manager at Marchon Eyewear for Sean John, provides a glimpse into how the collection was designed and is marketed.
SG: What is it like working with P. Diddy in product development for Sean John sunwear?
Lisa Ross: P. Diddy is extremely talented. He is very focused and aware of his design direction. He understands and knows his own sense of style and fashion, and how he wants it portrayed not only in his eyewear collection but also throughout the full Sean John lifestyle brand.
SG: What suggestions do you have for retailers who'd like to tap into celebrity and/or high-end fashion designer brands to sell sunglasses?
Lisa Ross: The most important aspect to remember is to know your consumers along with their needs and wants. Retailers have to learn and respect these brands. Don’t rely on the brands to sell themselves just because they have celebrity/high-end fashion designers behind them. It always comes down to quality and style.
SG: What incentives and marketing materials exist for retailers to sell Sean John sunglasses in their stores?
Lisa Ross: Sean John Eyewear offers several different kids of P-O-P materials including posters, counter cards, book decals, and a three-piece or eight-piece display.