Shaun White has been extremely busy as of late. Between premieres of the romcom flick, Friends With Benefits starring Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake where he plays himself, and the release of his collaboration with Oakley and Sunglass Hut, the Shaun White Holbrook Gold Collection, you'd think he's got plenty to do. But he's also gearing up for the release of his latest apparel collection for Target (hitting stores July 26), but not before he tries to skate his way to another gold at the 2011 Dew Cup, which kicks off today in Ocean City, MD.
With all of this going on, White, along with his brother Jesse White who acts as Creative Director for all of his stylish endeavors, found time to sit down with us and talk about how it was on the Friends With Benefits set, his personal style and the creative process that comes along with spearheading a clothing line.
Interview by Corey Stokes (@ChristopherNic)
You star in the film, Friends With Benefits which comes out this week. How was it working on set?
Shaun: Really cool actually. I mean, I was only on set for two days but it was amazing.
Jesse: It’s cool because we shot it here, in DUMBO. That was the best part because we were shooting between one to four in the morning and you were just cruising the sky all night.
Shaun: And we got Woody Harrelson making jokes, we were just sitting there dying. [Laughs.]
Jesse: (talking to Shaun) Remember the background dancers? So the scene is a club where there’s no music but people are dancing. There was this one girl, she's all working it. She thought she was super hot.
Shaun: She was so gross! [Laughs.] Like what’re you doing?
Jesse: We’re sitting there, trying to snap photos without her knowing.
That’s awesome. So the new collection looks great. How long have you guys been working with Target?
Shaun: I’ve been with Target for 10 years and then the clothing line started four years ago.
What was the creative process of designing the new collection?
Shaun: Every time we refresh it, it kind of goes down in a different way. A lot of times it’s what we’re into at the time. I just got my motorcycle license so everything has been all about motorcycles. So Jesse's pulling up leather jackets and old skull pictures.
Jesse: That’s what’s cool about it. We actually really challenge it. When you think of Target, some people think 1950s mom, like super safe. We can’t do that. We actually spent a lot of time just pushing and what’s great is that they’re open to it.
Shaun: When we talked about skinny denim their heads almost exploded.
Has it become easier working with Target over the years?
Shaun: Yeah, because we’ve proven ourselves now. The past collections did so well and you can see that not only are the products getting better but the sales are better. Everything’s really rounding out. That’s why we’re doing more and getting more product involved.
What roles do you each of you guys play individually in the creative process?
Jesse: Shaun is constantly traveling. He’s really busy. His job is to do what he does and do it really well. My role is the creative director of the line. So while he’s traveling, I’m designing and developing. It works out. Sometimes I’ll resource my friends. Illustrators, artists, people that we know and are in our communities to draw stuff, design and develop it. We do it all.
Shaun: My role comes in phases. In the very beginning, what direction are we going to take? Do you like these colors we’re using? Would you wear something like this? And then from there it goes into 'OK I’ll show you when we’re this far along.'
We want to talk to you guys about your personal style. What are some things now that you can’t go without?
Shaun: I just got into leather jackets, especially being in New York. I’ll go to What Goes Around Comes Around. It’s kind of annoying now, because I don’t have any simple things. I only have things like a gold-studded leather jacket. Then I’m going to Hawaii and I’m asking myself “Do I pack it? It could be cold.” I’m inventing scenarios where I could wear it.
Jesse: I buy the most outrageous shit and I pack it and it takes up all my luggage. I have a whole separate box for my hats. It's ridiculous.
Shaun, do you have a favorite leather jacket?
Shaun: I have a black leather one I've had for a while now. I bought it here in New York from some random store. It’s super thick, so I wear it to the mountains when it’s cold. Even at summer time, I’m still jacket shopping. I’ve always found that if you find a really nice leather jacket you kind of just go with it because they’re timeless.
What's been happening with your style now?
Shaun: We’ve had to do so many formal events now-a-days, like the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. I’m in a tux and he’s got his cat brooch. It’s so funny. We have to be in so many different scenarios. But I think that’s been the most fun. I got a bunch of Burberry stuff at one point, around the Oscars. It’s been fun. I kind of see the spectrum of things—I'll wear [the Target collection] just to skate with my friends and then I’m in a full suit.
That's a nice watch on your wrist. Who makes it?
Shaun: Thank you. It's a Breitling. It was a gift at the Olympics. I was like "alright!" It’s pretty bulky so I can't wear it a lot, like when I skate.
What's the next big style trend?
Shaun: I’ve been getting into vests. I just keep finding these crazy ones. I’ve got seven right now. One’s Indian-style, one’s blue denim with these gold circles, and another one’s like a washed-out white with all these holes in it. I really love the look where it’s like a denim vest with leather sleeves coming out from it.
Jesse: I only wear my vests with tank tops. No sleeves at all. Totally the opposite.
Shaun: I’ve gone that route. I’ve also been planning to wear a bunch of different boots because I’m in the snow.
Is there a favorite brand of boots that you like?
Shaun: I like Wolverine. That’s a really cool one. They’re like dressy work shoes.
Wolverine is starting to get extremely stylish as of late.
Jesse: It’s funny because the other half of Wolverine is extreme workwear. It’s straight up lumberjack.
Shaun: They saw me wearing a pair at a photo shoot and they were like “Thanks for supporting the brand!” and sent me these extremely tall boots. I was like, “where am I going to wear these?” It’s been fun, though. I think the cool part is that I travel so much so I’ve got these super hippied-out shirts from Bali and then I come here and get a cool leather jacket. And Japan...
How was the style in Japan?
Shaun: It’s insane.
Jesse: Everything is a US medium.
Shaun: If you’re like a [size] large out there, it's always in stock because everyone is so small.
Jesse: I hate shopping with everyone because they’re all killing it out there. And I’m like, “is this tight on me?”
Shaun: But it’s cool because you find new stuff out there. I found this denim shirt that came with these weird Indian-print pockets. They were super cheap and I got them in four different colors. And it’s one-of-a-kind stuff that you’ll never find over here. So I think cruising around Shibuya and Tokyo and those places is like a goldmine. Their clothes are really experimental so you’ll see some stuff and be like "I would never in a million years wear that or want to make something like that," but there’s two elements of it that are really cool and will inspire something else.
And that gives you the inspiration to start with your guys' collection.
Shaun: Yeah, exactly.