Interview with Tai Chunn

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This past week, I got the chance to interview Tai Chunn, a runway show producer. I talked to him about his career, his shows, and got some advice. Enjoy!

1 How did you get your start in the fashion industry? 

I started out in the fashion industry working as a stylist for Ground Crew. With the skills for production and creating I had I got asked to stay on with Victoria’s Secret, Oscar de la Renta, etc. I started seeing the need to showcase up-and-coming designer and at that time only GenArt was doing that, so I wanted to do that.

2 How did you move to producing runway shows, and make the connections required to get your first show? 

I started producing when I was backstage and saw the need for up-and-coming designers to showcase themselves so I started putting together a collective show, which I produced for 7 seasons. It was a collective, for smaller designers to have an affordable showcase with buyers there. After a while designers started coming to me from all over the world asking me to help them with production. It’s everything from swatches to production overseas, to sample making, grading, marking, marketing plan, sales pitches. I schlepped around, bumped into some walls, met some people and was able to make a mark on the industry and get up-and-coming designers into having a commercial business.

3 How far in advance do you start planning a show, and what do you usually start with? 

Yesterday. It’s always yesterday. I’m in the middle of production for Nina Skarra and everything else I’m doing this season, and I’m starting production for shows in February. I’m at the point where I’m just going constantly because it’s a small business. Once you know people, it goes. You can’t buy connections in this industry, and I have great ones. I make sure to give people ample notice, whether its sponsors, beauty and hair teams. I’m constantly working on it, always started yesterday.

4 Where do the ideas for your show’s concept come from- the designer, you or other sources?

I always try to explain my process to my interns. When I sit with them, I tell them “tell me your story” and when someone tells me their story I say “I’ll talk to you tomorrow” and I go to sleep and it comes to me in a vision, a dream, almost as if my mind was a movie screen or a play. It plays out for me from beginning to end.

5 Can you describe what the two days before a show are like? 

Extremely hectic, because we have the meeting of the minds of the designer, the creative team, the production team and the logistics of the venue. The way NYC has it, the seating has to be adjusted to fit the fire codes. I have to stay in the middle of everyone and be the mediator, to make sure everybody understands everybody to support the development of the show. It’s 24/7 work. I get one hour of sleep during fashion week and I’m good with that because after fashion week is over I go away for myself. It’s just 2-3 days, to release and be to myself: no cell phones or anything.

6 What part of the Nina Skarra show are you most proud of? 

I am most proud of the fact that I saw a void in Scandinavian representation and that we haven’t had anyone from there as a breakout star as far as fashion goes. I set out to find someone that would fill that void. I found Nina Skarra through a good friend of mine who is married to a Norwegian. She recommended her highly to me. I decided start a Scandinavian explosion and get a bunch of designers and pick out who I was going to work with. Nina won out because she most connected with me. I am so proud of that because Vanity Fair has just printed an article about how Scandinavia has been up in all the arts except fashion and I had the foresight to do that long before I knew the article was going to be written in Vanity Fair.

7 What has it been like working with celebrities? 

Celebrity and fashion are two different animals. Celebrity is more hands-on every day, because celebrities have larger than life persona's and I become more of a paternal figure to them because they call on me and take care of me like I take care of them. I love it. (HE HAS WORKED WITH USHER, RIHANNA AND BEYONCE!)

8 What advice would you give to high school kids who have a desire to make a career in the fashion industry? 

KNOW YOUR CRAFT. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER. You guys do not understand that I come from a time when we had to go to the library and get an encyclopedia and if there was only one paragraph in there than we have to find a book. You can type into your phone and a thousand years of fashion are there. You could find out who made the first beaded dress, or who first put leather applique on a collar. There is so much information there for you guys, so don’t ever settle for less. Go into the room knowing whom you are talking to, who’s company you’re interviewing for, knowing your craft. If you want to be a stylist, you don’t have to know only how to dress people. You have to know fabrication, how things fall, textiles and hemming. You have to know all kinds of things. You have to be completely engulfed in your industry. If you are in fashion, know merchandising, sales, business, even know how to pin hair together or put a fake eyelash on because its all relative.

9 Is attending a school like FIT or Parsons critical or helpful?

I think that it’s helpful. I don’t find it to be critical anymore. Like I said before, we are in the information era and if you can study and hone in on your craft and get into the right relationships with people like us are important. you intern as much as you can, and study as much as you can, and you do as much as you can to learn and offer your services to do as much as you can and you will be able to make it.

10 What role do you see internships playing?

Internships are absolutely imperative in my eye. That’s when you get to see the dirty and not the fantastic that you see on project runway and America’s next top model. You really get to be in the trenches. It’s on of the most valuable things for education and work experience that you could possibly get to soak it up and people are willing to give you their expertise for you just being there, just showing up.

Hope you all enjoyed that!

Yours in Fashion,



  1. Mr. Tai Chunn is actually a fraud. His company owes a lot of people money and is completely in wrecks. I sought out to work with him to have a show and he was disrespectful and was not getting anything done after I invested so much money into the event. Beware of this man and his fake title. He did not nor did he ever coordinate Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. He VOLUNTEERED!!

    1. Could you please email me so that I can fully understand your claims? Thank you.

  2. I have actually interned for Tai and he is not as grand as he presents himself to be. He made us believe that he believed in our f=craft and he would love to see us grow, but this summer we have witnessed the worst fan ever. He constantly bashed us and complained about everything not to mention, he is far from professional and owes a lot of people money...including us...the interns.

    1. Could you please email me so that I can fully understand your claims? Thank you.


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