Luxury bow tie designer and Boston native Christopher Chaun reveals the accessory can become a scene-stealer and talks about his upcoming trunk show at Saks Fifth Avenue Boston, Nov. 12-13.
Tell me about your journey.
I wore bow ties as part of my style. I've always loved them. And for a particular event, I wanted to wear a raw denim bow tie. I went to all of the usual suspects where you would imagine you could find something as unique as a raw denim bow tie and I couldn't find one. So I said, "I've already figured out my look. I already know what I want to wear. I'll make this bow tie if I have to." I went downtown to Windmill Fabrics, which is no longer with us, and I found some denim that I thought was perfect. I went to CVS and got a small button repair kit, and this was my first attempt at sewing. I had never done anything other than put a button on, but I looked at a bow tie that I had and I said, "I can make this." And I reverse engineered it in a sense and made my first bow tie. And when I wore it everyone loved it.
You’ve designed pieces for the likes of NFL players and Beyoncé. What was your aha moment when you realized that this was going to be big?
One day walking down Broadway and Soho, a place where you really don't get much attention because New York sees style all day, every day. That particular day everyone kept turning their heads looking at me. And I'm thinking, "What in the world is everyone looking at?" And then it came to me that I had this large bow tie on that was seven inches across. So, I stopped on the corner of Spring and Broadway and this guy yells across the street "Hey, my man! Where did you get that bow tie?" He crosses the street and really presses on me about the bow tie. Even says that he was actually looking for the bow tie in the stores. And I said "I made it." And he said "You made it? So can you make me one?" And he was my first customer.
What makes Boston special to you?
Boston has all these cool quirks. If you pay close attention to what's happening, it's really blossoming. It's a historical city and it's on its way to being a leader in the future. And Boston really turned out to be my biggest support system. I think Boston has that very hometown win kind of nature. Let's get behind one another and let's push for the victory. So Boston has become very supportive of me.
Tell me about your upcoming Saks trunk show.
My upcoming Saks Trunk show is going to feature bow ties. Some new pieces, some classic pieces. What we're doing is introducing the Christopher Chaun brand to the Saks client, and to fans and followers and clients of mine that haven't had a brick and mortar experience with the brand. That's what the trunk show is going to offer, so I'm really excited about that.
What’s up next for you and the business?
There are tons of things. In terms of fashion, at some point, a full line. I design clothing. I design handbags, travel bags, travel wear, footwear—literally everything. I have binders and binders of sketches. So, you're gonna get a lot from me in this lifetime. I'm gonna ring this thing dry, in a good way.
Photography by: Courtesy of Christopher Chaun