Model Oliver Cheshire makes his debut as a designer with the launch of a new menswear label.
Called CHÉ, the very first collection focuses on resort-wear and features Cheshire’s take on men’s swim shorts that combine clean lines and relaxed styling with Savile Row influences and environmentally sustainable fabrics, such as Econyl.
Having worked as a model for more than 15 years and fronting campaigns for brands such as Calvin Klein, Dolce and Gabbana, Versace and Marks & Spencer, Cheshire has received numerous offers to put his name to collaborations and collections. However, none were the right fit – until the opportunity came along to team up with his friend, and now business partner, Toby Watkins.
“I’ve been approached to design collections in the past, but I was always keen to create a brand and designs of my own,” said Cheshire. “With CHÉ, Toby and I are business partners, and we’ve worked together on everything from the initial concept, to the development of the garments and the look and feel of the brand.”
“Men’s swim shorts and resort-wear have come a long way in the past decade or so and I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some of the brands at the forefront of that change,” continues Cheshire. “However, over recent years I’ve struggled to find great styles that reflect me. With CHÉ, we’re shaking things up by creating relevant, wearable designs that are genuinely different from what’s already on the market.”
In CHÉ’s first collection, playful details and luxuriously tactile fabrics echo Cheshire’s own sense of personal style. Inspiration comes from the past as well as the present, with references and cues taken from a contemporary street style aesthetic as well as vintage photographs and the best traditions of British tailoring. Cheshire, who is creative director, and Watkins, CHÉ’s managing director, have also called on the expertise of Savile Row alumnus Mehm Ali. Formerly of Hardy Amies, Ali comes onboard as a technical design consultant.
Adds Cheshire: “We’ve designed CHÉ for ourselves and our friends: modern men who want swim shorts and resort-wear that looks equally at home on the deck of a yacht off the South of France as it does on the boardwalk of Venice Beach in L.A., or in the clubs of Ibiza.”
CHÉ is a British brand, but doesn’t shy away from cosmopolitan, international inspiration. An aesthetic of retro Miami street-styling has been beautifully captured in the campaign photography shot by internationally renowned fashion photographer Olivier Yoan. The shoot features some of Oliver’s closest friends, who are also among the biggest names in the modelling world: Jacey Elthalion, Sasha M’Baye and Sam Webb.
“With the shoot for our first collection, we really wanted to set the tone for the brand and convey the sense of fun that will permeate everything that CHÉ does,” said Cheshire. “So it meant a lot to be able to do it with some of my best mates.”
“Working together with Oliver to create CHÉ and turn our ideas into reality has been truly satisfying,” added Watkins. “We have a shared vision to produce inspiring menswear while taking steps, where possible, towards making the clothing as sustainable as it can be. We’ve put a lot of work into finding the right eco fabrics and yarns for the garments and we are proud of what we’ve done so far to make the CHÈ launch collection in the most sustainable way we can.”
The collection will launch online on Thursday, May 16th and will retail between £75 and £110.