This L.A. Fashion Brand Creates Clothes for a Modern Fantasy World

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There are many inspirations behind the L.A. fashion brand Chelsea Mak—Chinatown, the late French monarchy, ’80s nightclubs, femininity, casual-cool L.A. vibes—some so specific the brand could have fallen deep into a dichotomous mess. But Mak, the founder and designer of her eponymous brand, has sewn them all together just right. Such a confident vision comes from leading a life with great intention. After studying at Parsons in New York, Mak made her way to L.A., where she worked at small brands such as Band of Outsiders and Dutch LLC. More than 10 years in design roles gave her the perspective to finally go out on her own.

In 2018, she launched Chelsea Mak into a fashion brand that felt deeply personal. The clothes are made in Shanghai, where Mak grew up traveling with her mom on business trips. Her mom would peel away from work so the two of them could explore fabric shops and tailors, which has a lot to do with why so many of Mak’s clothes are made with silks from Shanghai. From the intricate character she’s created to describe who wears ChelMak (as she lovingly calls it) clothes to the intimate shows she hosts at her home in Los Angeles, Mak cares more about creating a community that understands and appreciates her clothing for what it is than making hundreds of sales to people who don’t get it.

“Ruffled, wide V-Neck blouse with color-blocking lime taffeta.”

“Straight out of an ’80s nightclub scene, the Carlotta is a printed jersey must-have for fall.”

“Our classic Joan pant in a fun color-blocked lime taffeta option.”

“The most-flattering pant you’ll have in your wardrobe. A one-up from a legging, the Maggie is formfitting with flattering center-front slits.”

“Our best-selling Maggie Pant color-blocked with two different plaid patterns.”

“A ChelMak fav, the Brea dress can be dressed down or up for any occasion. We’re excited to see it worn with the Elea shrug in coffee.”

“The most elegant V-neck sweater with the prettiest gathered drop-shoulder armhole.”

“The Renata is made with the softest 100% cashmere fabric and super wearable.”

“The Luisa is also made of the softest 100% cashmere fabric and is the ultimate investment piece.”

“The Luisa is also made of the softest 100% cashmere fabric and is the ultimate investment piece.”

“From our core collection, the Vienna blouse is an eighties-inspired silk-taffeta fantasy. Surprisingly flattering, I highly suggest not living without this one.”

“From our core collection, the Gallery top is an easy statement top for any night out!”

“From our core collection, the Anita blazer is the perfect year-round L.A. jacket. It’s the perfect amount of oversize and goes with everything.”

Up next, why this basics brand is more revolutionary than it looks.

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