David Chu (designer)

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David Chu
Born Chu Hsin-chi (朱欽騏)
1955 (age 62–63)
Alma mater Fashion Institute of Technology
Occupation Fashion designer
Known for Founder of Nautica

David Chu, born Chu Hsin-chi (Chinese: 朱欽騏; pinyin: Zhū Qīnqí) in 1955, is an American fashion designer best known as the founder of Nautica, a men's outerwear and sportswear company.

Early life and education

Chu's family immigrated from Taiwan to the United States in the 1960s and opened a Chinese restaurant. He grew up in New York and Connecticut and originally planned to become an architect.[1] While taking a summer drawing class at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), a professor suggested that Chu try designing clothes after seeing his drawing skills.[2] Chu later graduated from FIT,[3] and was named its STAR alumnus in 1996.[4]


Chu returned home to Taipei to start an export business with friends, but they lost all their money in one and a half years. He then returned to the United States, and working under a large company, he designed jackets, taking inspiration from sailors' coats. Barneys and Bloomingdales had good sales for the designs, and in 1983 Nautica was born. The company had sales of $700,000 in its first year and $2.5 million the following year.[1]

In 2003, Chu sold the company for $1 billion to VF Corporation. He made $100 million from the sale.[1] Chu promptly purchased an 1846 townhouse in Manhattan's Flatiron district, gut-renovated the historic mansion and turned it into his design studio, showroom and offices.[citation needed]

In 2006, he created the exclusive David Chu Bespoke line, offering custom suits hand-made in Italy with fabrics from the world's finest mills.[5] The bespoke line is available in a richly-appointed atelier located in the penthouse of the "Townhouse."

Recently, he started another label, a designer sportswear collection called "LINCS by David Chu," that offers a modern take on tradition and the well-lived life.[4] Currently, LINCS can be found in select Lord & Taylor, The Bay, Dillard's, Nordstrom, the BAY Oakridge in Vancouver, and other specialty stores.[6]

In 2007, Chu was named executive creative director at upscale luggage and accessories maker Tumi, Inc.[7] As of fall 2008 he was released from this role.[citation needed]

In July 2009, Chu launched a strategic partnership with golf legend Jack Nicklaus to develop the Nicklaus brands worldwide under a unified creative direction.[8]

In November 2012, Chu bought luxury Danish brand Georg Jensen A/S with Investcorp. He currently serves as Chairman of the board and Creative Director.[9]

Personal life

Chu resides in New York City.

See also


  1. ^ a b c Tim Smart (2005-09-25). "Taking a New Tack: Nautica founder David Chu embarks on a more upscale fashion voyage". U.S.News & World Report.
  2. ^ Javier Mateo (2004). "David Chu for Nautica: Glamour in Simplicity". FashionWindows.
  3. ^ Noted FIT Alumni. Fashion Institute of Technology. Accessed 3 January 2010.
  4. ^ a b "CFDA Member Profile: David Chu". Council of Fashion Designers of America.
  5. ^ David Chu at Luxist.com
  6. ^ LINCS by David Chu: Retail Locations
  7. ^ Helen Walters (January 24, 2007). "Tumi's New Itinerary: With Nautica founder David Chu at the creative helm, the luggage maker eyes growth through a complementary market: women's accessories". Business Week.
  8. ^ Jean Scheidnes (July 17, 2009). "David Chu and Jack Nicklaus Team Up". WWD.com Men's Wear News.
  9. ^ http://www.georgjensen.com/en-us/designers/david-chu

External links

  • David Chu at the Fashion Model Directory
  • Asian American Profiles: David Chu at GoldSea.com
  • *David Chu: Celebrated Entrepreneur and Designer
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