After helping launch the Marc by Marc Jacobs line and revamping a TSE, Richard Chai introduced his line of highly tailored, quietly feminine pieces in 2004. In 2008 he launched a menswear line and designed a capsule collection for Target and the following year he debuted Richard Chai Love. Last month he was named Creative Director of the Seattle-based outwear label Filson.
When did you launch Richard Chai Love?
Richard Chai Love was launched in September 2009 for the Spring 2010 season.
Is there a Richard Chai line as well? Did the two merge at some point?
Yes, I launched the Richard Chai collection in September 2004, debuting the collection with a formal runway presentation for Spring 2005. Richard Chai Love is our RTW line, whereas the Richard Chai main collection is a custom line, available upon request. The two lines are separate.
Past collections have been more print oriented and colorful. How did you choose the color palette for Fall?
For Fall 2012 the inspiration was “Into the Woods.” I looked to the terrains of forests and wooded areas, and that translated to a dark, moodier color palette for the season.
This is your first season selling on Moda Operandi. Are you the one selecting pieces that would be available on the site?
Roopal Patel, who is the Fashion Director at Moda Operandi, comes in with the team to edit the collection. She has an amazing eye.
You’ve just been named Creative Director at Filson. Is this a brand your customers identify with?
The partnership is rooted in everyday wear, approachable with unexpected fabrications and details that are signature to my collections. It is definitely something that my customer base will be able to identify with.
What challenges do you anticipate being faced with designing for them as well as your namesake collection?
To be honest there haven’t been any major challenges, as the partnership has been really seamless. I have a great respect for Filson and their aesthetic and wanted to collaborate them with on outerwear, since my Fall 2012 collection had woodsy, utilitarian elements to it. So it came about really organically.
Having started in the business at a pretty young age, what’s your best advice to those entering the industry?
I have to say the typical cliché advice always stands true; work hard and stay true to your vision.
Would you do it all over again?