Meet the Maker: Shawn Reagan of
Primary Ties

Meet the Maker: Shawn Reagan of
Primary Ties

Kathryn Bacalis
Aug 5, 2013

Meet Shawn Reagan, the designer, pattern maker, and tailor behind Primary Ties. I recently got a peek into his home studio to take a look at his current collection. Reagan's classic ties, featuring varied patterns and hues, are both fresh and timeless.

Name/Location: Primary / Shawn Reagan / Denver, Colorado

Where did you grow up?  Most of my growing up happened in Denver, although many childhood summers were spent on the east coast where my grandparents lived.

Where did you study/train?  I studied graphic design at Colorado State University. Since graduation I have explored many different areas of design, neckwear being one of them.

What is the first thing you made and sold?  For a good while I only made ties for myself, but one Christmas, a friend of mine approached me about making a tie for each man in her family. I agreed, and have her to thank for setting the Primary shop in motion.

Who is your design idol? I admire designers and artists who have the ability to create successful careers with several different forms of design. Ray and Charles Eames had their way with everything from films to furniture and even children's toys. Tom Ford can create beautiful clothing, and then cross over to produce an elegant film. People like this are truly gifted and huge inspiration to me.

Where do you find inspiration? As many creators do, I find inspiration all around me. A few strong aesthetic inspirations are Japanese and Danish design and culture. Nature is also a big inspiration, specifically plants and flowers. I'm also fortunate to have a group of driven, hardworking and talented friends. Witnessing them create is a huge inspiration and help to me everyday.  

What's one thing you wish you had made or designed? I wish I had designed Russel Wrights American Modern Dinnerware. His work was accessible to the common American family, yet at the same time beautiful, sophisticated, and tasteful. To create something so universally loved and timeless would be a great accomplishment.

What's your advice for a designer/maker just starting out?  A quote from Ira Glass has been very encouraging to me ever since I read it. It is true, and I couldn't state it better myself.

“For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. [...] A lot of people never get past this phase; they quit. [...] If you are just starting out or are still in this phase, you gotta know that it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. [...] It’s only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions.”  -Ira Glass

To see more of Shawn's work, check out his website: Primary Ties


(Images: Kathryn Bacalis)

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