Ten Minutes with Designer Chet Lo, the Mind Behind Spiky Knitwear

Get to know the name Chet Lo because he’s about to satisfy all of your androgynous knitwear needs. Graduating from London’s Central Saint Martins just last year, the Asian-American designer hopes to bring a bit of excitement to the bright times ahead. His time at CSM only grew his fascination with diverse textiles and opened him up to the endless possibilities that knitwear has to offer. Between interning for industry giants like Proenza Schouler and Maison Margiela, the designer quickly became a force to be reckoned with.

Bringing together his Asian culture and current western aesthetics, Chet Lo’s made-to-order spiky knitwear has been seen on the backs of Kylie Jenner and Willow Smith, catching glamorous eyes all around. His latest collection “2nd Generation” covers unique textiles in the bright world of 90s anime and faulty computer screens. “2nd generation explores Lo’s parallel experiences from childhood and the unprecedented 2020 lockdown. With nowhere to go, Lo immersed himself into the acidic and colourful world of 90s anime, with a particular interest in the series Evangelion and Ghost in Shell. Lo also found unique inspiration in his faulty computer screen and related it to his knitwear. Turning glitches into gold”, mentions the designer.

Ahead of the collection release, Chet Lo walks us through.

In brief, can you tell me who is Chet Lo?

“Chet Lo is a London-based Knitwear brand, focusing on texturally innovative techniques and nostalgic, yet futuristic vibes. Hailing from New York and Hong Kong, Chet designs with this in mind and mixes his Eastern roots with his Western upbringing. After studying at Central Saint Martins and graduating during the Pandemic, Chet didn’t want his own label, until after realising that he had more to say and just followed his passion until his brand bloomed.”

How would you sum up your designs?

“My designs are incredibly inspired by 90s anime and the retro-futuristic art movement from the 80s. I enjoy clashing after concepts, colours, and materials through my designs.”

Tell me about your journey with knitwear. How did your knitwear fascination begin?

“I remember when I was in my foundation year, I had a teacher tell me that I had a natural proclivity towards textiles, but I also knew that I wanted to apply those skills towards fashion. I then realised that knitwear was the perfect blend between textiles and fashion, being able to take part in the entire process from creating the fabric to creating the garments, albeit, may be more work, but is absolutely beautiful in my eyes.”

You graduated from Central Saint Martins BA knitwear course. How did your time at CSM help form the designer you are today?

“CSM definitely had a major part in shaping my work today. It was definitely tough and made me learn very quickly, but it also exposed me to real-world situations which, in turn, really helped me understand the way the industry works. It also really tore up any perception of fashion that I had before university and really showed me the core of what I believed in and my own voice.”

What has been your greatest achievement since graduating?

“Honestly, since graduating it has been a whirlwind. People assume that the press is the thing I am most proud of, which, don’t get me wrong, I am incredibly happy with. But I’m proud every day when I walk into the studio, laugh with my team, and just look around and realise that I am doing what I love with people that I love.”

You’ve become synonymous with your unique spiky knits, how did you come up with the original design?

“I remember learning this technique in 2nd year, after many months of learning the industrial knit machine. It was quite a difficult technique and was quite a bit of math to work out. But then I decided to mix it with the most difficult yarn I found as well! I just ran with that afterwards.”

Talk me through your new collection “2nd Generation” 

“2nd Generation was created just after my first collection, still in the midst of quarantine. At that point, I was incredibly bored and knew I had more to say with my work. I had just kept watching 90s Anime, such as Ghost in the Shell and Neon Genesis Evangelion and was so inspired by the colours and the gradients and reinterpreted them into my knits.”

What’s next for you?

“We have some exciting developments come September! So watch this space baby. Can’t wait to show you guys! <3”

Pre-order 2nd generation here