Clae Welcomes Back Its Founder Sung Choi as Creative Director

Clae, a footwear brand based in Southern California, has announced the return of its founder Sung Choi as creative director. Choi, who left the company in 2017, rejoins the brand from Sergio Tacchini, where he served as creative director since 2020. Choi is known for defining the identity of Clae and developing its heritage products, which are still popular today. He will lead the design and creative direction of the brand, which offers understated, well-designed, and versatile premium footwear.

Sung Choi

Sung Choi: The Visionary Behind Clae

Sung Choi is the visionary behind Clae, which he founded in 2001. Choi, who was born in New York and moved to Los Angeles, started his career with DC Shoes and Lakai Footwear, before launching his own brand. Choi wanted to create a footwear brand that would cater to the growing need for more refined and sophisticated sneakers, that would blend style, comfort, and functionality. Choi introduced Clae as a brand that would offer “smart essentials for the modern man”.

Clae, under Choi’s leadership, became known for its innovative and minimalist designs, which combined premium materials, such as leather, suede, and canvas, with advanced technology, such as EVA midsoles, rubber outsoles, and neoprene collars. Choi also developed some of the most iconic products of Clae, such as the Bradley, the Ellington, and the Gregory, which are still in the brand’s line-up today. Choi also collaborated with various brands and artists, such as Publish, Stance, and Steven Harrington, to create limited-edition collections.

Sung Choi: The Creative Director of Sergio Tacchini

Sung Choi left Clae in 2017, after 16 years of leading the brand. He then joined Studio Southpaw, a creative agency that worked with various brands, such as K-Swiss, Huf Worldwide, and DC Shoes, as well as DKNY, Supreme, and Stussy. In 2020, he became the creative director of Sergio Tacchini, an Italian sportswear brand that was founded in 1966 by former tennis player Sergio Tacchini.

As the creative director of Sergio Tacchini, Choi was responsible for reviving and repositioning the brand, which had lost its relevance and appeal over the years. Choi brought a fresh and modern perspective to the brand, while respecting its heritage and legacy. He redesigned the logo, the packaging, and the website of the brand, and introduced new products, such as the Archivio collection, which celebrated the brand’s history and archives. He also collaborated with celebrities, such as Lil Yachty, Tyga, and Young Thug, to promote the brand and reach a younger audience.

Sung Choi: The New Creative Director of Clae

Sung Choi has returned to Clae as its new creative director, after four years of absence. He rejoins the brand from Sergio Tacchini, where he served as creative director since 2020. Choi said that he decided to return to Clae because he felt that the sneaker market has changed significantly since he left, and that there is a major fatigue with the hyped-up sneaker world, which caters only to the ultra-frenzied ‘sneakerheads’. He said that Clae is here to address the growing need for more understated, well-designed, and versatile premium footwear for all walks of life.

Choi also said that he will focus on innovating in design and materials, and inventing well-thought designs that are more sustainable and eco-friendly. He said that sustainability is becoming a major concern for many consumers, and that Clae has made strides to address those issues by introducing eco-materials and manufacturing processes, such as cactus and apple fibers. He also said that he will continue to walk on that path, and create footwear that is good for the planet and the people.

Choi also revealed that he is working on some exciting projects and collaborations for Clae, which will be unveiled later this year. He said that he is completing a project with Linus Bikes, to encourage greener means of transport, and that he is working on a running shoe with Vibram, for the upcoming fall/winter 2024 season. He also said that he has some surprises in store, which will delight the fans and customers of Clae.

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