Greg Chait, the man behind the California cashmere label The Elder Statesman, was awarded the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund prize last night, winning $300,000, business mentoring, and tons of publicity. The bearded Southern California hipster joins the ranks of former winners Proenza Schouler, Alexander Wang, and Sophie Theallet — so he’s certainly in good company. Who is the relatively unknown Chait and what are his clothes like? Here, we break it down for you:
Who: Greg Chait, 33
Homebase: Los Angeles
The Label: The Elder Statesman
The Story: After receiving a cashmere blanket as a gift a decade ago, Chait became obsessed, collecting blankets from far-flung places like Scotland and Ethiopia. But he could never find the perfect one for himself. “It had to be utilitarian as well as the ultimate in terms of luxury, so I found a collective in Canada doing handspun wool and they were working a little bit with cashmere and I asked them, ‘Can you create a really heavy gauged yarn for me?’” he said in an interview last year with For the Record, a newspaper distributed during Paris Men’s Fashion Week. The collective said yes, and Chait began making blankets. The owner of Los Angeles luxury retailer Maxfields got word and placed an order. The Elder Statesman was born soon after, and eventually expanded into luxury sweaters and accessories.
The Look: The artisanal label is known for exquisitely handcrafted thick chunky sweaters, comfy, oversized cardigans, warm blankets, soft scarves, and knit caps made from luxurious cashmere that is hand-dyed and handspun on century-old machines. Think Loro Piana quality mixed with an effortless California cool vibe. Chait also works with other fine materials, including alpaca wool and buffalo horn (for glasses).
Where to Find It: Barneys, Mr Porter, Aloha Rag, L’Eclaireur
Click on the slideshow to see designs from The Elder Statesman.
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