New York Fashion Week—Why We Love Richard Chai

Richard Chai

As New York is headquarters for fashion–Richard Chai is design-central for New York.

Chai had a passion for design from an early age. At thirteen, he signed up for night classes in graphic design at Parsons School of Design, but a chance peek into a fashion-drawing session rocked his world.

“I was like, ‘What is that class?’” he told Teen Vogue in 2008. “I knew then and there I wanted to be a designer. It was intoxicating.”

After graduating from Parsons years later, Chai apprenticed for Geoffrey Beene and then went on to design for Donna Karan and Marc Jacobs.

He created his own line in 2004, winning the Ecco Domani Award a year later, and in 2008 the world finally got to see Chai’s brilliance.

In that year alone, the designer launched a menswear line, designed a capsule collection for Target, and made it into the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund’s top ten finalists.

Now, Chai is a major worldwide fashion brand.

He creates casual clothes with innovative fabric combinations—like silks mixed with wools—adding perfect architectural touches, such as French seams and origami folds, earning his work a global reputation for minimalist, menswear-inspired touches.

His pieces are executed with an understanding of form and finished with an old-world attention to detail. “There is a classic side to me,” Chai told W in 2010. “I still draw with a No. 2 pencil.”

And not only are Chai’s creations brilliant in their design, but in the principles behind them as well.

While some other designers create pieces to reflect a trend, Chai stands out as a designer who creates collections that speak to his personal aesthetic.

“You have to feel comfortable [in your designs] and know what works for you. There’s always going to be trends, and there’s always going to be fly-by-the-minute each season, but they don’t work for everyone,” he says. “So you have to dissect and really know who you are and what works for you.”

And above all, Chai has a keen appreciation for individuality. “There should always be a sense of who you are.”

With his daring modern creations, we at Lives of Style can’t help but admire Chai’s unique style point of view and we are excited to see his Spring-Summer 2015 collections.


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