Chie Imai’s passion for fashion emerged from her extensive global travel following her resignation as a flight attendant. The gifts Chie would purchase from these travels were always highly regarded by her friends who recognized her refined taste in fashion, nurtured in her childhood. In fact, it was they who convinced Chie of her valuable talent and encouraged her to establish her own business. Persuaded, Chie started a small import company in 1977 that specialized in importing leather fashion, bags, belts and other goods from the likes of France, Italy and
Spain. Soon her friends were proven right and her eye for exceptional goods developed an avid following.
As the firm developed vigorously, Chie’s strong affinity and attraction to fur led her to embark on the journey of becoming,a fur designer. Her decision had been sparked by dissatisfaction with the narrow range of fur attire and her disappointment with the absence of female fur designers. Armed with this motivation, Chie began to create a foundation from which to successfully launch her endeavor. She began by searching for a company capable of producing her standards of quality. Chie produced her first original fur coat in 1978. Her eye for quality has once again proven correct.
Chie did not have any background experience in fur or past fashion training, which uniquely worked in her favor as she aspired to be a revolutionary fur designer with a distinct style. As opposed to conventional simple, long black and brown fur coats, Chie chose to walk a completely new runway with the concept of “lightness, color and versatility.”
Success has followed Chie’s every step since her initial efforts and with increasing recognition. She was able to add the Japanese royal family to her growing list of clientele when she founded Royal Chie in 1991 and opened her flagship shop at the world-renowned Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. Soon she was catering to the likes of celebrities and the rich and famous.
In 1999, Chie, assured her company should raise itself to the next level, secured an opportunity to display her fur collection in New York. The collection brought further global acclaim and recognition and she became the first Japanese fur designer sold throughout the U.S. and Canada.
With all these “firsts” under her name, it was no surprise when she was recognized as one of the 2002 Leading Woman Entrepreneurs in the World by U.S.-based investment house, Star Group. This honor has only been bestowed on three Japanese women.
Chie has indeed greatly extended the conventional boundaries of design. With her ever flourishing creative ideas, there is no question that the characteristic individual flair and classic silhouette represented in the daring color range and mosaic patterns of Chie Imai’s designs will continue to dress the runways of the world.