After spending six months at the helm of Brioni, Justin O’Shea is launching his own label. The bona fide street style star and former director of German e-commerce site MyTheresa announced on Wednesday that he is working on his own luxury streetwear label, called SSS World Corp, which will make its debut with a Spring 2018 collection during the menswear shows in Paris in June.
O'Shea told BoF that the label will have a luxury price-point and be quite a bit like the industry’s most watched high fashion-meets-streetwear brands, Vetements, Off-White, and Gosha Rubchinskiy. Of the impending launch, O’Shea said: "You take what Demna’s doing at Vetements, they're doing whatever they want and they've now paved the way because they stayed on their own trajectory. That is lacking in menswear compared to womenswear and that's where I found my relevance."
O’Shea’s new label is certainly less of an unexpected move than his appointment at Kering-owned Brioni, which amused the industry, largely because O’Shea is better known for his street style sensibilities than his design background (Note: he does not have one). Nonetheless, Brioni was seemingly willing (for a very short time) to bet that it could benefit from O’Shea’s knowledge of sales and buying, which he cultivated at MyTheresa. Moreover, the luxury brand was almost certainly hoping that his Saville Row-inspired swagger would punch up their increasingly dusty reputation, and that beautiful clothing and profits would follow.
His tenure, which entailed just one runway show that consisted of self-described “gangster” suits and a redesigned Brioni logo, was interesting, if nothing else. You will recall that his first outward-facing move for the brand, one admittedly targeted at wealthy older men, was to change the logo. He opted for a nuance-free Olde English style lettering – the substitute du jour for cool-guys – as the brand’s entire new logo. Then, he enlisted Metallica band members as its new poster-men.
O'Shea's debut (and finale) collection was quite a break from tradition for Brioni. Per the New York Times, Brioni’s “bread and butter is suiting — 95 percent of Brioni’s sales are in clothing, said its chief executive, Gianluca Flore — of the ultra-expensive and timeless variety. They begin at $4,900 off the rack, and have been worn by heads of state, potentates of industry and celebrities, real and fictional. (James Bond has worn Brioni, and though the company declines to comment on its customers, so has Donald J. Trump.)”
His new project already seems more fitting. On Wednesday, O'Shea took to Instagram - as a fashion industry influencer does - to announce the impending debut, writing: "Ok ok I am awake now... Don't let anyone stand in the way of what you want to do." Given his large following, endless industry connections, and the proven appeal of the not-earth-shattering but wear-right-now designs of Vetements and Off-White, it would be difficult for this venture to not flourish.