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In Conversation with Designer, Cho Cho Cheng

Cho Cho Cheng studied fashion and costume design at the Parsons School of Design and took an apprenticeship in Savile Row, London to study traditional British tailoring. Cheng launched the womenswear designer label, CHOCHENG, which pays close attention to detail and uses only materials that are 100% natural and cruelty free. The brand is known for its whimsical interpretation of traditional British tailoring.

(CHOCHENG F/W 19 Show, Photographer: Dan and Corina Lecca Photo)

What was your inspiration for this collection?

This collection is inspired by the 1959 film 'North By Northwest' and Joan Crawford. It is about Joan Crawford replacing Cary Grant as the lead of the film.

Tell us about how Traditional British Savile Row tailoring inspires the design and manufacture of your collection?

I am most inspired and impressed by the strong and well defined shoulders of traditional British Savile Row tailoring. I developed my signature round shoulder silhouette based on the Savile Row shoulders, I have my shoulder pads handmade from 100% cotton. Apart form the shoulder pads, all paddings, facings, stiffenings and button holes are handmade. I have great faith in handcrafted garments; the high cost prohibits them to be mainstream but there is a niche market for them. Handcrafted garments look better, last longer and are more environmentally friendly. There will always be a clientele who appreciates craftsmanship.

(CHOCHENG F/W 19 Show, Photographer: Dan and Corina Lecca Photo)

What was your favorite part of London for inspiration?

I love the heritage of Savile Row, the architecture of Regent Street and the energy of Piccadilly Circus.

What was your favorite look from the last show?

The first look.

(First look of CHOCHENG F/W 19 Show, Photographer: Dan and Corina Lecca Photo)

Tell us about your love of Prince of Wales checks and tweeds and how that came to embody the collection?

For this collection, I tried to achieve historical accuracy by using the Prince of Wales check suiting from heritage mills that have been supplying fabric to Cary Grant's Savile Row tailors, I consider it the most discreet and elegant pattern in the market. The cotton tweeds are custom made for me in England, I prefer cotton because they are vegan and comfortable. I am hoping to relaunch CHOCHENG as a vegan brand in the near future.

(CHOCHENG F/W 19 Show, Photographer: Dan and Corina Lecca Photo)

What was your decision to go fur-free?

I moved my operation and production to London in 2010 to study traditional Savile Row tailoring. In search of a mill to produce 100% cotton tweeds, I started visiting all the historical mills in the countryside of England, Scotland and Ireland. The beauty of the countryside reconnects me with my childhood fascination of fairy tales and everything natural, beautiful and pleasant. I became a vegetarian around that time and made the decision to go fur-free, cruelty-free and eventually vegan.

(CHOCHENG F/W 19 Show, Photographer: Dan and Corina Lecca Photo)

Please tell us about sustainability within your brand as this is such an important part of fashion today.

I operate in a slow fashion business model where I create consistent collections of classic designs in pristine quality, giving my garments the longest life cycle possible and last for generations. My garments are 100% natural, made in the UK using sustainable and 100% natural material, most of them plant-based, all sourced locally in UK and made in UK.

(CHOCHENG F/W 19 Show, Photographer: Dan and Corina Lecca Photo)

What has been your favorite photo shoot?

My favorite shoot is the one I did at the 18th century Chiswick House botanical garden in London.

What advice & inspiration would you give to young designers?

Be passionate about designing, garment making and every aspect of the fashion industry.

(Cho Cho Cheng at CHOCHENG F/W 19 Show, Photographer: Dan and Corina Lecca Photo)

To keep in touch with CHOCHENG:

Follow: @chocheng on Instagram

The new CHOCHENG flagship store will reopen in Spring 2019 at 781 Fifth Avenue, New York.

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