Jordan Percy has been one of the foundational characters involved in establishing, leading, and building RAEN from day one. Rooted in all things adventure and design, Jordan lives and breathes the spirit of RAEN.

Whether it be through surfing, cycling, traveling, or enjoying a glass of natural wine, Jordan is a continuously inspired individual, and an inspiring one to be around as well. His penchant for design and meticulous nature make him an invaluable part of everything we do.

We caught up with Jordan to learn more about the roots of the brand, some of his favorite styles, and what keeps him inspired.

Photography by Aaron Regan, Jordan Percy, and Woody Gooch.
Tell us about who you are and why you decided to partner up to co-found RAEN. 
RAEN started in 2009. The three founders, Justin, Jeremy and I, brought together a combination of creative experience from design and branding to professional surfing. I was a freshly minted designer with a few years experience working on various projects in publishing and brand building. I started working with Justin on projects through a small branding agency we called Libre, and from that RAEN was born.

We had previously done some eyewear design for clients, which inspired us to think about how we would position our own brand. In the surf and lifestyle channel in California, the styles at the time were very sporty – injected wraps that often-lacked craftmanship and a touch of quality.
We wanted to bring change to the market at the time. As an independent eyewear company, RAEN continues to forge a new path focused on the use of premium materials in order to create carefully crafted and attainable, Modern Classic eyewear, where the California spirit seeps into every pair.

We created a brand that would specialize in designing and building “Modern Classics”, pieces that are informed by classic design, but are altogether contemporary. This is our design ethos. We want our products to be relevant to you years from now, solidly built to stand the test of time, therefore reducing waste and avoiding the “fast fashion” cycle of consumption.
“ create carefully crafted and attainable, Modern Classic eyewear, where the California spirit seeps into every pair.”
What are some things that bring you the most inspiration when it comes to eyewear design? 
Travel is incredibly inspiring for any creative endeavor. Sometimes it is very literal, like visiting one of my favorite vintage frame shops in Milan, but often times it’s just the act of being an observer far from home that gets you seeing the world in a different perspective and shakes your mind up a little bit.

I used to travel alone a lot on work trips to Europe and Asia and often the biggest and most inspirational takeaways from those trips for me weren’t the scheduled meetings or retail tours. They were the conversations struck up over a meal at a bar top or getting lost and going with the flow. Inspiration usually comes when you least expect it.
On the product side, we work with a very talented group of designers with diverse backgrounds and perspectives, and I think that is key to creating products that need to resonate in markets around the world. Again, inspiration can come from analyzing a vintage frame together, or a detail from some other form of industrial design having nothing to do with eyewear. One of my favorite field trips is a design museum in Munich called Die Neue Sammlung. It has an enormous collection of industrial and product design, from all categories. A couple shots of espresso and a lap around that place has your brain overflowing with ideas. RAEN’s EU headquarters is in the lovely city of Munich, so this is a must stop on every visit.

Photography is a great creative outlet for me, as well as source of inspiration. Shooting photos for RAEN has forced me to learn how to take a decent portrait, and on any work travel, I’ve always got a camera slung over my shoulder. My favorite city to photograph is Hong Kong. It’s the most intriguing city I’ve had the pleasure to visit, and so much fun for street photography. When I’m there, I’m usually running from meeting to meeting picking off photos enroute and any down time is spent on the street wandering with camera in hand.
What would we find you doing when you’re not at work?
Ideally, you’d find me in the water or on a bike. I grew up cycling, racing mountain bikes and then transitioning to the road. As weird as it may sound, a lot of my best creative thinking happens on a bike – it’s like a really focused meditation of sorts, just breathing and spinning.

Cycling is foundational for me, but my engagement with it comes in peaks and valleys these days. I’ve been off the bike for some time now and finally feel the fire coming back—getting excited to get back on the bike in this new year.

I came to surfing relatively late in life, growing up inland. I started surfing when I was about 18 or 19 and have been somewhat obsessive ever since. To me, the most interesting thing about surfing is how elusive and fleeting it is. You put in all this effort and structure your whole day around it, all to have these little bursts of, what, five seconds of joy? For these tiny moments, you feel like you’re flying; its pure joy, total freedom, then it’s gone. It’s so fleeting and elusive, you can never get enough and it just leaves you hungry for more. It’s like a drug in a way. So, that anticipation for a surf is sort of anticipation for that next hit of the best non-narcotic drug you can get, the brain must just light up with endorphins. And it’s never the same, right? You can’t walk back up the hill and send it again to try and clear a section. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. You make a mistake, you can’t try again, so you’ve got to be fully focused and in the moment. Again, like on the bike, moving meditation.

When it’s not time for playing outdoors, then I’m probably thinking about the next meal and drink. My wife Jackie and I love cooking, exploring restaurants and delicious wines. She’s studied wine for years, and I gladly “study” alongside her. Its great having a partner with so much knowledge and passion for wine and the cultures that push that artform forward. Of course, this also ties back into travel, etc.
“For these tiny moments, you feel like you’re flying; its pure joy, total freedom, then it’s gone.”
What are some of your favorite styles that you’ve been a part of creating at RAEN?
Hard question. Current personal favorites would be:

Mystiq. We designed Mystiq hand in hand with our ambassador Mikey February. The frame was a part of the debut collection for the Zafrique Ensemble, our exclusive collection with Mikey. The frame and collection take inspiration from his roots in South Africa and the cosmic sounds of 60s-era psych-jazz, which Mikey draws immense inspiration from. Throw these frames on to loosen up and get a little groove in your step. Guaranteed to make you surf with all the style and class of Mr. February, or your money back. Operators standing by.

Rune. Rune is one of my all-time favorite sun designs. I love its sculptural square shapes and proportions. The temples on this shape are also really interesting, all wabi-sabi, balanced by being out of balance. I’ve been such a fan of round shapes for so long, Rune and Mystiq are pushing me into the square shapes, and I love them for it.

Mika. I’m really proud of all our beta-titanium frames we’ve been bringing to market in the optical collection, but I particularly like Mika. It has so many beautiful construction details, clashing tones and finishes, as well as an interesting oversized geometric shape. The beta-titanium frames are so lightweight, flexible, and comfortable as well, you really need to hold them and wear them to appreciate them.
Sorin. Sorin is among the frames in our new Blue Light category. For all you digital ninjas spending your waking hours in front of a screen, you need these. The blue light blocking lenses reduce eye strain as well as make you look very smart indeed. Sorin is my personal favorite frame within the collection. Particularly the Crystal Black version. I love the temple on this frame, the crystal reveals the beautiful hardware on the interior, temple tip gets a custom lamination found throughout the collection, and the exterior is beveled and sculpted in such a lovely dimensional way.
In one sentence, what is RAEN all about to you?
Timeless, modern classic design inspired by life and adventure here in the Golden State.