The MISCHA label originated as an expression of founder Michelle Lai’s aesthetic aspirations and love of vintage Japanese kimono and obi. In 2004, her penchant for the ancient embroidery arts inspired the designer to debut her work of handmade clutches, crafted from her personal collection of treasured fabrics. Embracing Asian aesthetics in a uniquely Western context, the pieces soon developed a cult following, and by 2008, they were coveted in cities around the world.
In 2010, the brand launched a line of luggage featuring its signature monogram, inspired by ancient Japanese geometric motifs. Embodying chic simplicity, the interlocking hexagon pattern has become the brand’s iconic mark. Designed with a globetrotter’s lifestyle in mind, the line of coated canvas and leather-trimmed totes and accessories have become a staple of the jet set and are found in multi-brand boutiques, luxury department stores and online retailers world wide.
MISCHA was selected as one of eight brands to represent Hong Kong in a collective known as Fashion Guerilla, during Paris Fashion Week 2013. In the same year, MISCHA became one of the first brands to be part of a new retail model, Shop Elsewhere, pioneered by Ogilvy & Mather, winning a Bronze medal at the Cannes Lion Festival. For Spring/ Summer 14 MISCHA partnered with Lane Crawford to launch a limited edition collection available across all Lane Crawford stores in Hong Kong, China and online. Most recently the MISCHA Travel Series was featured in season two of Asia’s Next Top Model.
Though Michelle Lai began her fashion career after a degree in Medical Sciences at Kings College London, her interest in fashion started at an early age. She attributes her sense of chic simplicity to traveling frequently whilst growing up, in a family that always encouraged art and creative pursuits. Michelle has been influenced by curious tales of exotic lands, old world glamour and the sophisticated sewing skills of her grandmother who dressed her and her sister in beautifully tailored coats and dresses as children.
Her debut collection of clutches was created from her personal vintage obi and kimono, keepsakes from Michelle’s visits to Japan. Their ensuing success resulted in traveling trunk shows, requests for bespoke services and the launch of her eponymous label. While she traveled frequently to Japan to source vintage textiles, it was these journeys that brought the savvy designer’s brand to the next level. With a growing demand for her keen eye, a natural flair for style and a good dose of wanderlust, Michelle perfectly epitomizes her brand and its evolution.
Interviewed by Harper’s Bazaar and Tatler, among other notable magazines, Michelle was featured in Forbes as one of Asia’s handbag brands to have successfully gone global. Lai was invited to be a guest speaker at TEDx Youth Hong Kong 2013 to talk about how travel is one of her great inspirations and how it fuels her goals. Michelle was also featured as one of the “Inspiring Women” in Star World TV’s special for International Womens Day 2014.
“My goal is to create a global lifestyle brand for aspirational women who are confident with their own personal style and to become a contemporary classic.”