Traditional British Tailoring and Urban American Culture - Chai-London

Traditional British Tailoring and Urban American Culture - Chai-London


Chai Lee

Fashion Designer

What are your aspirations with Chai-London?

I aspire to have a domestically and internationally successful brand. I aim to have the brand retailed throughout top boutiques and luxury stores. I am hopeful to continue to generate interest from celebrities and fashion forward men who appreciate my designs and visions for the brand.

How did the idea for Chai-London come about?

The idea of the menswear brand came when I arrived in the states and recognized the lack of options and creative direction for mens clothing, this was particularly apparent for me coming from England where men are typically very stylish and fashion conscious. 

What was your background prior to this?

I have six years fashion industry experience. I have had the opportunity to work with leading fashion houses across the UK and USA including Ralph Lauren. I graduated with Honors in Fashion Design and have knowledge in creative pattern making, design development and sewing. 

As a designer, what are you major influences?

I surround myself with lots of creative people, in all different aspects, artists, bloggers, writers - people who think outside of the box and have a passion for expressing themselves. 

The only exception to that is my mother, she isn't creative at all but she has a work ethic second to none, growing up around someone who works so hard embedded motivation and a non stop hustle mentality. 

What does your role at Chai-London entail?

I am very hands on in my company. I take on several roles daily. I am usually the set designer when we have a photoshoot, I typically design and decorate the event spaces for pop up shops. I design the marketing campaigns and even the website. Creativity is the nature of this business it is not limited to just designing clothes. 

What are some of the challenges you've faced creating the label?

There are several mistakes I've made, some more painful than others but nonetheless an incredible learning curve. I graduated in Fashion Design so there are so many aspects of this industry, in particular, the business side which has been a constant lesson. I remain a student of this industry. I am constantly learning, I wouldn't change anything and I don't have any regrets. I didn't die, so I guess it made me stronger!

Tell us abour the Chai-London Clients?

I love working directly with my clients! I started in this industry as a womenswear designer, initially designing clothes for me. Now, as a menswear designer I always appreciate and take on feedback from my clients. I always aim to make clothes which my clients love and feel comfortable and confident in.

Working directly with my clients is the reason why I sell direct to consumer through pop up events. I love the personable relationships.

What can we expect from Chai-London over the next few years?

My company is less than a year old, I am already connecting with investors in order to grow the business. I have had pop up events and presentations during NYFWM and at Art Basel. I have worked with stylists and had my garments on celebrities who have appeared or performed on some incredible platforms such as Good Morning America and at the BET Awards!

Strong and Dark, with Delicate Femininity - Johanna DiNardo

Strong and Dark, with Delicate Femininity - Johanna DiNardo

Capes for Everyman & Everywoman - Catbat

Capes for Everyman & Everywoman - Catbat