The CHIE IMAI brand emerged as a spin off of REINA TRADING COMPANY LIMITED in 1978.The designer and the entrepreneur Chie Imai originally marketed the brand as Royal Fur. Her unique and unconventional designs were a breath of fresh air in the nineteen seventies when they were introduced.
A Finnish manufacturer by the name of Linnanen partnered with Royal Fur in the early nineteen eighties to produce fur clothing products. Chie’s ideas were technically challenging and there weren’t many manufacturers who were able to produce her innovative designs in the way she wanted. Chie wanted the manufacturer to produce fur coats that were unlike any other fur coat. She insisted that her fur jackets needed to be as light as sweaters. On top of these technical issues she wanted to add multiple colours to the products, which produced considerable head scratching and even headaches for the manufacturer.
Tenacity and exacting craftsmanship brought together design and technical requirements in realizing this project. The collaboration resulted in the creation of a dream being brought to the market. It was also the realization of a dream for the designer: fur gowns as light as sweaters and as colourful as bird feathers. The designer named the product style “MOSAIQUE de CHIE”.
In 1991 ROYAL FUR acquired the long established furrier, Futaba, a purveyor to the Japanese Imperial Household. This positioned ROYAL FUR as the pre-eminent leader in the fur and leather clothing industry in Japan. Subsequently, ROYAL FUR was rebranded as ROYAL CHIE.
The Fur Information Council of America invited the designer for fashion week in New York City in 1999. She was a first Asian designer to ever participate in the event. She held her runway show in Manhattan alongside the collections of Valentino, Saint Laurent, De La Renta and others. This successful debut in North America of ROYAL CHIE was followed by the launch of its first flagship store on Madison Avenue in New York City in 2002.
After 2000, the company’s marketing efforts focussed on expansion in the North American market. “MOSAIQUE de CHIE” products reached consumers in North America and flourished in the market. They were sold in major department stores in Canada and U.S.A. as well as seen in major magazines.
Copenhagen Fur, the industry authority, awarded ROYAL CHIE its Purple Level distinction, the highest rank in its quality of products. ROYAL CHIE also produced “eco friendly” products in collaboration with Teijin Corporation using their high tech fabric in luxury fur designs. The fabric was made of used PET bottles. ROYAL CHIE was recognized as an ecologically friendly brand and praised for its initiative by many consumers and environmentalists.
In 2010 ROYAL CHIE introduced MORRIS as part of its brand extension. MORRIS is a type of Shochu, a distilled spirit made of sweet potatoes. The introduction of this “Edible Fragrance” astonished the media. The unprecedented marketing strategy as a designer’s brand was not expected by many people.
In 2014, the President of Finland, Mr. Sauli Niinisto recognized Chie Imai for her long term contribution to the country in terms of business and economy. She was awarded Commander of the Order of the Lion of Finland, one of the three highest awards in the nation.
ROYAL CHIE rebranded as CHIE IMAI in April 2017. The company committed itself to carrying the spirit of its designer and her leadership forward to the next generation. The CHIE IMAI brand continues to be a reliable and accessible fashion brand in the history.
The brand name is alphabetically spelled in capital letters as “CHIE IMAI”. The iconic trade mark “Fox” stays where it is.