Connect
To Top

Meet Sean Young of Unlucky Strike in Downtown

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sean Young.

Sean, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Honestly, I don’t think I have a particularly unique story of how I got to Los Angeles. Like many other transplants, I somehow just drifted here one day and the next day it was home. Eventually, I started working in the fashion industry, which inspired me to start my own clothing brand.

First and foremost, I was a fan of streetwear and fashion from an early age. I grew up in the Bay Area and like many other Asian-Americans from there, my journey of self-growth was reflected in the evolution of my personal style. This was back in the early era of streetwear when Hypebeast was just a forum for selling shoes and Nigo still owned and operated BAPE. Back then, I was only in middle school but was already reselling shoes online for spending money. A lot of my friends were other Asian kids that would nerd out over limited edition sneakers and whose parents never gave them an allowance, so reselling was the only way we could save up money.

After college, I was actually planning on going straight to graduate school, but a bunch of my friends had just moved out to Los Angeles and invited me as well. I came down not really knowing what to expect but was surrounded by such great people and energy that it pushed me to pursue my own path in fashion. I never expected to enter this career, but I’ve found the workflow and process of fashion production to be extremely rewarding. My favorite aspect of this industry is that you get to do everything – you’re constantly cycling between production, design, photography, and marketing. After working for a couple of LA-based brands, I decided to launch Unlucky Strike as a way to express my own creative vision and get hands-on experience on running my own business.

It’s been a learning experience every step of the way, but I’m grateful for all the opportunities and lessons that I’ve been blessed with.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It’s been a completely smooth road without a single hardship I can think of. Yup, it’s just been a breeze.

Just kidding, of course I’ve had my ups and downs, but nothing compared to the struggles of all the underprivileged populations of the world. This industry is definitely not for everyone and requires a lot of self-discipline, but anything worth doing typically does. I think the biggest hurdle I had to overcome was experiencing panic attacks at work. It’s a high-stress environment and I had to learn to balance it out with mental self-care. After incorporating therapy & meditation into my daily routine, I’ve gained much more control over my general anxiety. I’m a huge proponent for mental health and encourage anyone struggling with their own issues to try out therapy if they have the means to.

Please tell us about Unlucky Strike.
Unlucky Strike started simply as an idea because I started smoking cigarettes at a young age and Lucky Strike was my favorite brand. The filtered ones aren’t sold here, so I would have to somehow procure them from people who visited Japan or Europe. I have a lot of fond memories of sharing Lucky Strike cigarettes with my friends and the meaningful conversations that came about from those huddled circles in empty parking lots. However, most of my childhood friends passed away over the span of two years and those years of my life were colored by grief and depression. When I think back on that time of my life now, they felt more like my “Unlucky Strikes”. The brand has been a way for me to honor that period of my life, but also move on from it in a cathartic sense.

The brand itself is inspired by vintage Americana and youth culture. I emphasize high-quality pieces that are simplistic, but with a slight unique edge that creates a feeling of specialness when worn. For instance, the Unlucky Target Tee from my first collections is a garment-dyed pocket tee that I stonewashed over four times to give it a super worn-in but soft touch. I started with a heavyweight blank that fits slightly oversized and after the washing process, it came out super light and with the perfect washed-out grey tone. My intention was for it to feel like a hand-me-down from your parents that is somehow more comfortable than any brand new t-shirt. To set it apart from those vintage t-shirts, I screen printed a target motif in between the pocket and the body, which is more of a modern technique and added a nice accent.

Currently, I’m developing the first cut-n-sew garment of the brand, which is a Hawaiian shirt that should be dropping very soon.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I read an article once about the correlation between happiness and perception of luck. It basically found that happy people tend to perceive themselves as lucky, regardless of if they actually are. It was just one study, so it’s not a proven fact or anything, but I found this notion to be profoundly applicable. To me, it’s a matter of gratefulness. If you’re grateful for whatever blessings you have in your life then you’re going to consider yourself lucky. Since then, I’ve tried to rewire my brain to focus more on the positives or “lucky” parts of my life.

However, my brand is based on a time in my life where I felt profoundly unlucky and was struggling with a lot of personal issues. In that period of my life, wearing clothes that I personally really liked and putting on a dope looking fit could change up my entire mood. I want to make clothes for people in that situation, who are struggling with their own personal hardship and are in need of comfort. The message I’d like to communicate to them is. “If you feel like nothing is going your way, it’s okay for you to feel unlucky. One day you’ll look back fondly on your unlucky strikes.”

Pricing:

  • Unlucky Target Suede Cap – $30
  • Unlucky Target Pocket Tee – $45
  • Unlucky Target Hoodie – $75

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

Daniel “Noori” Rah

Suggest a story: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in