in this struggling economy, more and more designers are trying to reach out to as much potential customers as they can. some have opted to release secondary lines with a lower price point to lure in consumers and not alienate existing ones. many young designers however, have chosen to reach another target entirely. in richard chai's case it is the men who's attention he is fishing for. already established as a womenswear designer, chai debuted his first menswear collection last season. since then he has been building a reputation as a designer that manages to combine an american sensibility with european sophistication and eccentricity. as a product of a more culture sensitive society, chai has mastered the ability of filtering various reference points and re-interpreting it in his own vocabulary. which in turn is the sensibility of the young, urban male whether he be in new york, buenos aires, or london. a man who is aware of fashion, but has a life that dictates that his clothes serve a purpose higher than just mere decoration. and being from the u.s., where utilitarian fashion was conceived, many of his clothes delved into historic americana but with a twist. denim, the fabric that defines america was cut into a double breasted jacket paired with cuffed shorts and worn over bicycle shorts which demonstrated chai's awareness of current global trends and still retain the designer's identity. yet full legged trousers that epitomizes the very spirit of american sportswear was a direct contrast to the ubiquitous slim silhouette that has dominated menswear for the better part of this decade. it shows an individuality that isn't afraid to go against the grain. while this is only his second menswear collection, it displayed an intriguing, individual point of view that is sure to warrant more attention in the future.