Cho Cho Cheng presented his Spring/Summer 2018 collection on Wednesday, September 13th at 12pm at Gallery III – Skylight Clarkson Sq. Before the show, I went backstage and interviewed Brand Director, Alex Barlow to talk about this season and what we can expect walking down the runway.
CHOCHENG is a womenswear designer label launched by designer Cho Cho Cheng, who studied fashion and costume design at the Parsons School of Design and took an apprenticeship in Savile Row, London to study traditional British tailoring. The first CHOCHENG store opened in 2010 at 838 Madison Avenue, New York, followed by a second store in 2015 at Seasons Place, Beijing.
CHOCHENG’s bespoke and ready-to-wear collections are known for their meticulous detail and 100% natural materials. All fabrics are sustainable and produced in Europe, many exclusive to the label. All garments are hand sewn in London following heritage Savile Row tailoring techniques.
How has branding changed over time for CHOCHENG?
Cho always has a clear sense of what his brand is all about, but I think naturally the more you collaborate and the more you grow there is a natural exchange of ideas and developing brand ideas. He has a very clear signature style. So in terms of the brand DNA that will always be in place. He has certain ideas about how sustainable his product is and he will always hold on to that. I do think with the involvement of other people around him the idea of how he presents the brand and how he promotes it, that definitely comes on leaps and bounds.
What are you doing now with the rise of social media?
I think Cho is somebody who enjoys face to face. Even though he’s a young designer he actually really relishes the old fashion values and seeing his customers face to face. He does a lot of face to face with his consumers both in the stores and at his trunk shows. He loves that aspect and I think that will always remain. Also, you have to embrace social media you’re dead in the water if you don’t. We are present on Instagram. We love Instagram because it’s super visual, but we have quite of a purist approach to Instagram and I think that’s a very personal take. I think lots of designers make it personal about their own experiences, influences and about their journey. For Cho, it’s a purist approach about image and visuals.
How do you stay relevant in a constantly changing climate
I think Cho’s products have a higher price point and what you get from that is a high percentage of spoke handmade elements. You have products that fit you like a glove and I think for a particular consumer that there will always be an appeal in that. I don’t think he’s ever going to be appealing to that huge commercial or global audience. It doesn’t fit with his business model, but I think how you stay relevant is going back to social media. It’s about how you’re pushing out your message, story, and your image.
What’s different about this collection than past collections?
The big difference this season is the introduction to some real standout color. Cho’s collections tend to be more muted in terms of color. This season we’re really thrilled to see very bright fresh color coming through. We’ve also seen that coming through in a lot of knitwear. So that’s definitely a change for us this season. We’re super happy about it because I think it lends an upbeat positivity into this collection and season.
Do you have any new fabrics you’re using that are eco-friendly?
Cho’s fabrics are all eco-friendly. He’s very passionate about sustainability so all of his fabrics are completely natural. He sources a lot of heritage British fabrics. Again that will always remain so there is a consistency of voice through all of Cho’s collections because of the fabrication, but yes he is able to develop those fabrics. We always work with tweed but we have managed to rework it this season and make it a summer tweed. It’s a cotton tweed so it has a lighter density. We also have a silk tulle which is new this season which is really beautiful.
What inspires you creatively?
People watching is always fascinating. I do enjoy that, but for me, I think I am a huge consumer of social media. I’m present on a lot of channels and that’s really how I curate that group of people that I follow. That’s really where I source a lot of my inspiration by inspiring people around the world. I’m not saying its celebrities or artists it can be them but it’s actually people that aren’t really well known that I find inspiring. I live and work in London so I’m super lucky that there’s a plethora of incredible exhibitions and theatre performances. It’s a very vibrant city so it’s very hard not to be inspired by that when it’s all around you.
What do you want others to take away from the show?
The way Cho wants woman to feel is super elegant, super feminine but I think there’s a seductive edge going on this season that we perhaps haven’t seen previously. It gives women a power to feel strong and confident, but seductive at the same time.
Feminist like Emma Watson is a big thing this year do you think that played a role in this collection?
That’s always there for Cho. That’s funny that you mention Emma Watson because she is his absolute favorite icon. Her style, elegance the feminity but everything she stands for. She’s very vocal about women’s issues but she is also very passionate about sustainability. Which is also something Cho believes in and I think that is growing. Also, there’s a growing voice in woman not just in fashion but woman in all industries who just feel that they have to stand up and be heard.