The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

88° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA student entrepreneur takes clothing brand national


JohnMichael Filippone with the University of Arizona Duffl team outside of Old Main in Tucson. (Courtesy of JohnMichael Filippone)

​​A University of Arizona student-run clothing brand rising in popularity is getting a big boost from a student apartment complex this weekend.

Sol y Luna apartments — at 1020 N. Tyndall Ave. — will host a rooftop event for the Sol Del Seco brand, Saturday, April 1, from 4-7 p.m.

The brand, founded and owned by UA Eller College of Management business major JohnMichael Filippone, specializes in hats, clothing and other items that encourage people to be themselves, according to the owner.  

“We are excited to support student-run business in any way possible,” said Delaney Lancry, the leasing professional for Sol y Luna. “Our new management for the building wants to stress the students come first.” 

Filippone, 20, started the company with a fraternity brother, initially designing hoodies for the fraternity. Their first collection consisted of four hat styles and a shirt with “I’d rather be in Tucson” emblazoned on them.

In 2021, Filippone said he went out on his own and focused on expanding the brand’s image and social media presence. 

His concept for Sol Del Seco was to appeal to people who feel they don’t have a voice, something he learned early on when he was exploring photography as a career. 

Sol Del Seco hats. (Courtesy of John Michael Filippone)
Sol Del Seco hats. (Courtesy of John Michael Filippone)

Filippone started taking photos professionally during his junior year of high school, where he learned how to capture people’s identities through a lens from a legendary photographer, Victor Aleman.

“[Aleman] was Cesar Chavez’s photographer during the farmworkers’ movement, and his stories about the way that he took those experiences and made them a part of his artistic style gave me a drive to create meaning in everything I did,” Filippone said. 

The student has continued working professionally as a photographer, falling in love with the voices of authenticity in charity organizations. He said these experiences inspired him to create Sol Del Seco, a company that uses its voice to strengthen the voices of people in every city they work in and support those who feel forgotten.

“Those experiences in my photo career are so important to what I do today with Sol Del Seco,” Filippone said. “We are also able to help support those who feel forgotten through our ‘Thank you for being you’ message.”

According to Filippone, “Thank you for being you” is a phrase that represents the company’s goal to help people build confidence in themselves, be thankful for who they are and be proud of their uniqueness. 

The phrase is prominently displayed on the front of several products from the brand and is also used in customer communications. The company’s voice is all about the customer, regardless of their background, Filippone said.

Sol Del Seco’s clothing is produced through a network of producers in the fashion district of LA, coordinated by Filippone, who does his hat patch sewing and some of his hat purchases through 2040 USA and also produces embroidered clothing work through Brandify. Both are based in California.  

Sol Del Seco products are then sent to Arizona for sale.

John Michael Filippone sponsoring his brand at Gentle Ben's in Tucson. (Courtesy of John Michael Filippone)
John Michael Filippone sponsoring his brand at Gentle Ben’s in Tucson. (Courtesy of John Michael Filippone)

Sol Del Seco offers direct sales through its website. In addition to its online presence, the brand has products available in two stores near the UA campus: Beach Bunnie Tanning & Wax Bar at 943 E. University Blvd., and Swindlers at 906 E. University Blvd. 

Recently, the brand was featured in a March 24 event at Main Gate Square’s Gentle Ben’s Brewery, and has teamed up with the online delivery app Duffl offering UA customers the ability to purchase select products and have them delivered on campus.

Jessi Martinez, the owner of Beach Bunnie, said she’s a big fan of Sol Del Seco’s clothing.

The brand offers “trendy, aesthetic pieces that appeal to our customer base,” Martinez said.

In January, Filippone took baby steps to roll out Sol Del Seco’s brand nationally, rolling out “I’d rather be in” lines for LA; Boulder, Colorado; and Dallas and Fort Worth in Texas. 

“After creating such a strong voice for Tucson with the ‘I’d rather be in Tucson’ phrase, I realized that there is a whole country who all want a voice for their city,” Filippone said. “I am growing the presence of Sol Del Seco on campuses in each of those cities so that we can start by giving the youth a voice and so that we can connect with the next generation through representation on those campuses.” 

*El Inde Arizona is a news service of the University of Arizona School of Journalism.

Follow the Daily Wildcat on Twitter

More to Discover
Activate Search