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.
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)
@heriethpaul and @gracebol have a moment on the @victoriassecret fashion show 2017. See every look from the runway on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo) #wwdfashion #victoriassecret #VSFashionShow
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia