Written by Ketia Jeune
Most Caribbean parents motivate their children to be doctors, lawyers, or engineers, but stylist Sebastian Jean chose to follow his gut. “My mom came from Haiti when she was 17 years old, so she is pretty assimilated into American culture. She knows I am doing cool things,” says Sebastian. The 25-year-old stylist is establishing himself as a pioneer in the fashion world and has styled celebs like singer-songwriter H.E.R and American comedian Mo’Nique.
Jean had no idea he was interested in being a stylist until his senior year of college, but he always paid attention to what he wore. “I always wanted to look fly,” Jean tells L’Union, almost chuckling. Jean recalls layering specific t-shirts on top of each other and caring about the details of each graphic design he wore. “I chose to work in fashion because the industry consistently captured my interest”, Jean believes the universe is on his side and prepared him for his fashion career.
While working as an intern for Calvin Klein in New York City, Jean worked in the same building as Raf Simons, the creative director at the time. During the duration of the internship, Jean learned about who was involved in photoshoots and what styling models looked like for campaigns. “On the days they did not have much for me to do, I would find tasks to keep me busy like assisting the other fashion assistants”, ultimately teaching himself the skills he needed a year later.
After the internship, Jean went on to assist stylists such as Melanie Ward and Simon Rasmussen from New York City’s Office magazine where he is currently the men’s fashion editor. Jean was one of the first employees to earn his title at the magazine. “I am the point of contact for anything handling the men’s fashion market, I also attend shows, style, and pick the images that match the aesthetic we are going for” Jean adds.
In conjunction with Office magazine came The Black Utopia, – a new 96 paged magazine created for and by Black people. Jean was the fashion director of Volume 1, “the project was a labor of love, and it is amazing to be able to physically touch what we spent months creating”, Jean explains. The cover of the magazine features singer Mereba who sat down in an orange chair dripped in Rihanna’s Brand Fenty.
“Fashion is evolving in terms of gender, so when I say I am the men’s fashion editor, I say that loosely because I work across the market as well. Gender is blurred, and most pieces are gender-neutral”, the fashion industry is shifting towards casting models of all races, body sizes, and genders. The future of fashion is now genderless.
“Growing up, they used to say Haitians did not know how to dress because they wore different colors, patterns, and prints together. I always found a sort of chaotic beauty in the way the outfits came together”, Jean expressed. Jean’s style is also inspired by older films and fashion trends like skinny jeans versus stacked denim jeans.
Covid – 19 changed the fashion world for designers, stylists, models, and many others in the industry. Jean is now using Zoom to style clients virtually, “I miss the face-to-face interactions, but I think adding rules like quarantine to art can inspire new things, Jean’s experience in the fashion industry highlights how consistency is the key to becoming a pioneer in any field.