Resort Wear Redefined
Turning landfills into goldmines, Oliver Cheshire’s Ché Studios offers modern, sustainable resort wear for the environmentally-conscious sunseeker
words by Will HALBERT
photography by Colin DACK & Olivier YOAN
With over fifteen years spent literally personifying the aesthetic tenets of major fashion forerunners like Dolce & Gabbana, Versace and Orlebar Brown, it’s safe to say that Oliver Cheshire knows a thing or two on the subject of style. To that end, Ché Studios – Oliver Cheshire’s first foray into the world of fashion design – isn’t so much a surprise departure from his usual vocation as it is a sort of natural progression. Ché is, after all, the next logical step for a man whose style credentials are matched only by his ardent ambition and curiosity.
And what a step it is, too. After almost a year and a half in development, Ché Studios hits an all-too-rare sweet spot between classic cool and pin-sharp refinement. ‘I spent a long time building up a series of mood boards, taking visual cues from fashion’s golden eras,’ recalls Oliver. ‘There’s a very specific vibe to the styles of the 50s and 60s, a real sense of
joy and freedom. It’s hard to put into words, but it was exactly that kind of vibe that I was trying to tap into with Ché’.
The result is a resort wear range that strikes a fine balance between classic, West Coast steez and Cote D’Azurian sophistication. From the athletic cut of the Baller swim short selection to the tailored edge of the Valbonne shirting options, Oliver’s inaugural range bears all the hallmarks of Savile Row sartorialism, while deftly eschewing the scene’s not-so-summer-friendly severity. By all accounts, this is resort wear elevated. ‘We live in very different times now: style isn’t about wearing a suit, necessarily. It’s about knowing when to wear a suit and how to play with it when you do. Even when donning the two-piece, we’re doing it in a much more off-the-cuff manner. I picture a suit nowadays, and they’re almost tracksuit-esque in their deconstructed nature. Now more than ever, we’re having fun with the boundaries between smart and casual.’
That’s exactly where Ché comes in. Deconstructed, but not without a tailored edge, the range is every bit as beach-ready as it is bar-friendly. Ché is classic by design; undeniably old school, but careful to overcome its old school limitations. ‘You look back at the fabrics and cuts of the 50s and 60s,’ says Oliver, ‘and they still have a real appeal to them. But as good as it all looked, it didn’t always function very well’.
Enter the real star of the show: the fabrics. Taking nylon waste from landfills and oceans to produce a highly technical and wholly sustainable yarn, Econyl’s recycled nylon yarn is every bit as hard-wearing as its virgin counterpart, boasting the same incredible quick-drying properties and equal resistance to chlorine and salt. Likewise, Ecovero (derived from FSC & PEFC-certified renewable wood sources) offers a soft and breathable alternative to standard viscose that also happens to cut emissions and water pollution in half. Both provide the perfect material metaphor for Oliver’s postmodern approach to resort wear stylings, reinterpreting classic styles with a newfound leaning on function and preference for more forward-thinking fabrics.
That’s not to say that Ché is painting itself as an all-dancing, all-doing sustainable brand. Rather, Ché is best described as a design-led studio with an eco edge. ‘I’m no eco-saint,’ admits Oliver, ‘but sometimes it’s not about doing everything at once; it’s about doing what you can in the best way you can, and getting better at it every day. If you know, as a brand or as an individual, that you could be doing something that little bit differently, that little bit better, why wouldn’t you do it?’ In an industry saturated with brands practically tripping over their vegan shoes to wax poetic about their sustainable credentials, Oliver’s honesty comes as a refreshing change of pace.
“I’m not eco-saint, but sometimes it’s not about doing everything at once; it’s about doing what you can in the best way you can, and getting better at it every day.”
And at the end of that day, that’s exactly what Ché is: a change of pace, a modern classic in the making. You just have to take one look at the campaign shoot to see quite what it is that Oliver has achieved here: A resort wear range that is, at once, classic yet contemporary, trend-led but oddly timeless. ‘The shoot was so important to me,’ Oliver recalls, ‘It really had to set the tone and intention of Ché as a brand. It was the final step in the creative process.’
From the hardbodies, to the classic cars, to the flashes of concrete and steel, each and every element of the shoot comes together not to flaunt the brand’s seemingly effortless balance, but to point towards a mood, a lifestyle, a way of going about things that little bit differently. It paints a picture of summer days spent doing nothing at all, but looking damn good while you’re doing it. Most importantly, it paints a picture of kinship, an element that lies at the very heart of Ché. ‘Each of the guys involved in the campaign is a dear friend of mine, it’s not often you get to work alongside your friends like that. Pushing yourself beyond your comfort zones will always have its learning curve, but I’ve got some great friends and a great team around me. I feel very lucky.’
In a roundabout way, Oliver’s thoughts on friendship help explain both the overarching philosophy of the brand and its very namesake. Taking its name from the Argentinian colloquialism for ‘friend’, the brand’s inaugural range is all about creating your own golden era, carving your own path, and celebrating good times in the best of company. EJ