Chief Executive Officer
D.C. Design International
Fashion Institute of Technology, New York
By Evelyn L. KentCommunity College Times
March 29, 2005
America turned out to be a land of dreams for David Chu, and education helped pave its streets with gold.
Chu is perhaps best known for starting the clothing line Nautica, which had $694 million in sales in 2003. He left the firm in August 2004 and began a new venture, DC Designs International.
Chu and his parents immigrated to New York from Taiwan in the late 1960s. There he finished high school, and one summer took a drawing class at the Fashion Institute of Technology. His thoughts about becoming an architect changed after his professors recognized his skill and urged him to consider a career in fashion.
So he did. He enrolled; he graduated; and he started a clothing line in 1983 that became one of the most recognizable names in American menswear.
"I wanted to design men's outerwear that was fashionable, bold and fun but also highly functional. Nautica is about evolving classic design for modern life," FIT quotes Chu.
Of course, it took work to get the clothing line there. In 1984, Chu's partner sold his shares to State-O-Maine, a small garment manufacturer. The company eventually took the Nautica name and the collection expanded to include men's activewear and sportswear, including colognes and perfumes.
In August 2003, Nautica merged with VF Corp., one of the largest clothing makers in the world. Chu became CEO of Nautica Enterprises Inc., overseeing global design, product development and marketing.
In August 2004, Chu left Nautica with an eye on retiring. "After leaving Nautica in August, I played golf for eight or nine days and then I realized that I needed to do something else. I'm passionate about this business and was ready to do something that I personally love," Chu said in an interview with The Daily News Record.
He started another firm and another line, DC Designs International. "It is classic, high-quality garments in beautiful fabrics, with an element of casualness, but luxury, too," Chu told The Daily News Record. The line is to launch officially in the fall, and Chu showed a collection at New York's Fashion Week in February. It was well received, according to Anne Taylor Davis, who oversees public relations for Chu.
"It's a true collection, meaning that every piece relates to another," Davis said, adding that Chu is having fun designing once again.
Pieces from the DC Design International collection will be sold in luxury stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Davis said, and at a higher price point than Nautica clothing.