DAHUI LI is a New York City-based fashion label by Dahui Li. After moving to the US at a young age, Dahui pursued his love for design and continued to hone his artistic talents. The age-old adage that working hard while you can in your younger years pays off as you grow older is something that has stuck with Dahui. He absorbed anything fashion related and refined his techniques while studying fashion design at the Columbus College of Art and Design. He has since made New York his home, but allows the complexity and contrast of the diverse cultures that he’s encountered from living and visiting various parts of the US, Asia, and Europe to inspire his designs.
Dahui’s belief in craftsmanship and attention to detail are evident in the dedication to the quality of his pieces. The simplicity of DAHUI LI design pairs with hints of subtle details to give it a dash of individual femininity. The designs of DAHUI LI are devoted to changing the atmosphere of what women wear and creating an aesthetic that offers a refreshing take on women’s style.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do? I’m originally from Beijing, China, and moved to the United States with my family at a pretty early age. I graduated from Columbus College of Art and Design with a Bachelor of Arts degree. During my degree, I spent time interning with Oscar De La Renta, Jill Stuart, and London-based label Leutton Postle. I moved to New York City after college because I believe there is so much this city can offer creative talent. After continuing to work with Oscar De La Renta and St. John knit, I finally decided its time for me start my own label.
What kinds of things are influencing your work right now? Vintage clothing and contemporary art. I would define my style with strong links to classicism and a sense of timeless fashion with a contemporary edge.
How long have you lived in New York and what brought you there? I have been living in NYC for about 18 months now since I graduated from college. I used to travel back and forth between NYC and Columbus, Ohio. The reason that brought me here to be a designer in NYC is the ease of access to resources, as almost everything you need is all gathered in the Garment District in midtown Manhattan. It’s the most exciting city in the world, and endless source of inspiration.
What past trends in fashion should never come back? “Fast fashion” which I absolutely dislike; I believe it’s a fast and cheap way to try to get attentions without even being artistic. Plus, I think it prevents emerging talent from thriving and stunts originality in those who believe in craftsmanship and attention to detail.
What designers are you interested in right now? Mary Katranzou. I noticed her way back when she was at her early career. She is one of the designers that never stops bringing creativity and innovative craftsmanship to her collection each season. Her design represents the future of fashion but is also wearable.
What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? We recently just finished our AW 2015 collection and showcased at Tranoi New York trade show and Shenzhen Fashion Week in China. We are going to Shanghai in May for our first pop-up store opening, which is super exciting. After marketing season, we will start prepare for our SS 2016 collection, which will launch in later August this year.
Top 3 favorite or most visited websites and why? Not Just A Label, Style.com, and Business Of Fashion. The first two websites are where I go visit and get inspired from other fashion designers. Especially Not Just A Label; it gathers a lot of young fresh talents from around the world. Their designs are creative and haven’t been eroded by commercial market, which I absolutely adore. As a business owner, I also need to know what is happening in this industry; Business of Fashion can provide the most updated news.
If you were a drink what drink would you be? I think I am a glass of white wine. Probably chardonnay; it’s pure, clean but has a nice aftertaste without seeking like DAHUI LI collections. Once the person wears our clothes, she want to keep them forever.
What do you want a viewer to walk away with after experiencing your work? The feeling that DAHUI LI is modern but effortless, not too much showing off but what make us standing out are the details and quality.
What’s your absolute favorite place in the world to be? My favorite place to visit is Brick Lane Market in London United Kingdom. I visit there every year. Brick Lane Market is a traditional flea market with a rich diversity of products and wares with everything from food, second-hand clothes (always worth a look for the retro-lovers), furniture, magazines, electrical equipment and ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING in between. I always can find something that inspires my design, and sometime if you are lucky, you can find some treasures there. I once spent 90 pounds and bought a 1970 Valentino Winter short coat which I absolutely love!!