Color your life

Sean Wotherspoon’s star continues to rise. In 2013 the American fashion designer opened a small boutique selling vintage clothes in his hometown of Richmond, Virginia. Just four years later, he won a sneaker design competition from Nike. Today the thirty-two-year-old collaborates with all sorts of global brands, designing products that stand out for their unique color schemes – like the Taycan 4 Cross Turismo from Porsche. That made us curious.
Text Helmut Werb
Photo Porsche / Dominik Hildebrandt

How would you describe yourself?
I’m a designer, I work with colors, I like sneakers and cars – and I love music.

When you design, who do you have in mind? Who are you designing for?
If I were to design for the whole world, my design would be all over the place. So I design for myself. Things that make me happy. And I share this joy with other people.

You’ve said that nature is your shortcut. What do you mean by that?
Nature has already shown us everything we need. Let me give you an example: Most leaves naturally repel water, but people are still constantly inventing new materials and chemicals to do the same thing. If we simply reverse-engineer these processes, that’s a shorter way to go.

“Colors are my focus. I’m constantly looking for inspiration and I can find it anywhere.”

Sean Wotherspoon

How did you end up collaborating with Porsche?
I was at this Porsche event in Los Angeles, we got to talking, and that resulted in our working together. Over time, Porsche kept opening more and more doors for me, and more and more people came on board, including the Porsche design studio. The whole team then took my ideas and, with a tremendous amount of commitment, helped me to elevate them to the next level.

Porsche is a sports car manufacturer with a long history. What does that mean for a collaboration?
That’s actually a fantastic gift. I was fascinated to learn that the first Porsche was actually electric. That was more than a hundred years ago! And today, in 2022, I’m working on a new electric car – that is pretty special in itself. What’s more, I was given all the freedom I needed when I was working on the Taycan. That says a lot about Porsche.

Sean Wotherspoon × Porsche Taycan 4 Cross Turismo // The collaboration made use of virtual reality technology to run through the exterior color options on a model car. Wotherspoon then sent the corresponding Pantone codes to Porsche, where the shades were nuanced and recreated. The designer also traveled to Porsche’s design center in Weissach several times during the creative process. The lively color blocking continues in the interior of the art car with the same materials that he also uses for his streetwear: Cork on the dashboard, steering wheel and center console creates a visual contrast to the colors, with corduroy upholstery in Atacama Beige as another distinctive feature covering the roof lining, seat center panels and sun visors.

How did you incorporate the history of the brand into the design?
The circles on the sides of the car, which evoke the round race number holders, are my tribute to Porsche’s long and distinguished racing history. Our team worked day and night on it and working on such an extraordinary project was extremely inspiring. It was a great moment to finally see the car standing there finished in front of me.

"“Back in the day, all my friends used to work on old cars, but none of them had the money for a Porsche. That was always something that was totally out of reach for us. We were always saying, ‘Man, one day . . .’ And now? My dream has come true!”"

Sean Wotherspoon

You’re known for your color blocking style. How important are colors in Sean Wotherspoon’s value system?
Colors are my focus. I’m constantly looking for inspiration and I can find it anywhere, whether it’s a vintage garment or a tree glowing green in the sunlight to become something special. I can then capture this green with a photograph, match it with familiar nuances and discover a new green that hadn’t existed like that before. When we started color blocking on the Porsche, we could have used checkerboard patterns and squares. But we decided to work with whole body parts instead.

You named the colors on the Taycan after members of your family: Nash Blue, Loretta Purple, Ashley Green and Sean Peach? Where did that idea come from?
Porsche came to me and asked me to name the colors because clear designations are so important. So I named them after my kids, my fiancée and myself. When my son gets older, he can point to the car and say, “That’s me: Nash Blue.”

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