The designer has been stepping on the business accelerator since finding backers in South Korean marketing company SK Networks Co. Ltd. last year. Chai has added resort and pre-fall deliveries, and now hopes for additional growth with men's wear and his first freestanding retail unit. There is also speculation that he is designing a limited edition collection for Target.
"A lot of people are doing accessories, but I wanted to start with men's wear because there is a huge void in that market," Chai said of the men's line, which features a mix of sleek wovens and knits with the same kind of architectural details that inform his women's wear. "It's things I want to wear and my friends want to wear."
Chai plans to sell the pieces alongside his women's wear in his first freestanding store, which he hopes to open for fall. However, he still has to find a location in Manhattan. "I have been looking at Madison Avenue, and downtown in the far West Village," he said.
With all these new initiatives, Chai recently retained Baron & Baron to work on marketing and branding his label. It resulted in a sleek brand book about the designer, with the text supplied by Glenn O'Brien, who was just named co-editorial director with Fabien Baron of Interview magazine.
"It was important to me, as my company is growing, to have a bible about what my brand stands for," Chai said. "As we start to develop retail stores and work with architects, it will offer a consistency.
"It will also be useful as we expand and look at other categories, including licenses for fragrance or shoes," he added.
Chai brought in Robert Burke Associates to help with merchandising and developing his wholesale business, which includes stores such as Barneys New York, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman.
After his fall runway show, Chai plans to relocate to a 9,000-square-foot office on Grand Street that will feature a design studio and atelier, a showroom, a sales office and a finance department. "It will be the whole Richard Chai world," he said.Although a gig as consulting creative director for Onward Kashiyama's contemporary line Nave ended last year, Chai's design touch may be found elsewhere next year should he become the next guest designer for Target's Go International initiative. Chai declined to comment.
Assouline is paying homage to the late Azzedine Alaïa with a reprint of "Alaïa Livre de Collection.” The book is comprised of photographs of the designer's summer 1992 runway show with models Christy Turlington Burns, Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks, pictured here at right. #wwdfashion #alaia #tyrabanks
Fall 2018 accessories take on a painterly hue, with Nebulas Blue among Pantone’s top 10 colors of the season. (📸: @jonghyupstudio ; editor: @twallz21 ; stylist and set designer: @haideefindlaylevin ) #wwdaccessories
@americanapparelusa is relaunching the brand outside of the U.S. today, opening its online store to more than 200 countries. The company is also contemplating a return to brick-and-mortar, though details have not been confirmed. In tandem with the expanded distribution is a recasting of a social media ad campagn, called “Back to Basics,” pictured here, with a focus on diversity and a cast of models above the age of 21. Read more on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Exclusive: @britneyspears is continuing to expand her brand. The pop icon, who appears in @kenzo ’s latest campaign, is partnering with Epic Rights to launch a line of branded merchandise. Read @hernameislex ‘s story, link in bio. #wwdnews #britneyspears
The Duchess of Cambridge channeled Princess Diana’s look upon giving birth to Prince Harry, when she and the Duke of Cambridge departed the hospital with the new baby Prince this afternoon in London. #wwdeye #princeofcambridge
The new Prince of Cambridge has arrived! The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge posed with the 8-pound newborn. She wore a look from one of her go-to designers, @jennypackham. Tap link in bio for more. #wwdeye #princeofcambridge
Jewelry label @alisonlou has made a name for itself with fine jewelry that speaks to the Millennial market. Now @twallz21 reports that the label is bringing those playful ideas to a new affordable line of lucite hoops with the launch of Loucite by Alison Lou. Here’s a look from the line modeled by @emrata. #wwdaccessories
@sarahjessicaparker and @gilt are teaming up on a bridal ready-to-wear line. Tomorrow, Parker will launch SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker Bridal — and as part of the launch, Gilt will offer 15 exclusive styles from the SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker footwear collection that were designed to complement the new line. Made out of 10 styles, the line is designed for a variety of occasions, from bridal showers to receptions. Get more details on WWD.com #wwdfashion