When rising talent Desiigner showed up to Kanye West’s Madison Square Garden extravaganza wearing a black hoodie with three zippers, heads turned. And not just because they wanted a second glance at the “Panda” rapper. But because this futuristic hoodie was equal parts high fashion and futuristic. It’s that aesthetic that defines the brand behind the hoodie: CHÉ.
Founder and CEO Ché started the luxury streetwear brand in 2014 with graphic designer Pool Ramos. Originally, Ché had his sights set on a career in football, but after suffering an injury, his prospects grew slim. He soon knew that his only option was to create his own business.
“I couldn’t work for someone, and become part of a system where I wasn’t able to grow into my true self,” he said. He recalls the day his coach told him he was being cut. It was at that very moment that the push to make CHÉ became a reality.
Before establishing the core pieces that would become CHÉ’s first collection, Semester One, Ché had a fondness for fashion and found personal satisfaction in putting together looks that caught people’s attention.
“I loved the feeling it gave me and the reaction I got from others. I just wanted to make people feel the same way. “But unlike a lot of young designers, he thought far ahead to what fashion would look like two, or even three, decades from now. From there, he started to build a brand that could be contemporary while still looking to the distant future.
“I named it after my first name Ché because it was the only thing that was true enough to me, and once I realized everyone who asked me what my name was wanted to always dig deeper into my heritage, it only felt right,” he says of the brand’s name.
Officially, CHÉ is a high-end streetwear brand that offers a unique and minimalist take on this hotly contested fashion category. In Ché’s words, the aesthetic is “young, cool, futuristic, unique, and innovative”.
Semester One serves as a reflection of the brand’s humble beginnings. A spirited departure from standard streetwear, Semester One is steeped in all black pieces made of neoprene. The clothing will feature secret messaging and bold symbolism through use of pop colors. The collection will also feature limited edition, unreleased pieces.
In addition to its future-focused aesthetic, CHÉ plays by its own rules. The label will release clothing when it feels the time is right, eschewing the season-based release model of the traditional fashion industry.
CHÉ also packs in a meaningful message. When the brand first started, Ché recalls personally being in a dark place but realizing the power fashion has to connect with people. “I realized I could communicate with many others who didn’t have a voice, that were going through bullying, suicidal thoughts, hurt, pain, confusion or feeling lost. So I communicated, having a voice through textiles, colors and people.”
It’s a message that couldn’t arrive at a better time.
To check out CHÉ’s full offering, head to chebyche.com.