Cover Photography: Affa Chan

Tatler interviews Hong Kong-based eyewear designer, René Chu, the brains behind Revé by René

Take an insider’s look into the lives of some of the most interesting and prominent characters with Tatler’s new interview series, Up Close and Personal With...

From business accomplishments to guilty pleasures, few topics are off-limits as we get up close and personal with Hong Kong’s Tatler community.

In this column, we sit down with eyewear designer and founder of Revé by René, René Chu, who launched her eponymous label in 2015 after feeling defeated by not being able to find sunglasses that inspired her. In just five years, the Los Angeles Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising alum has caught the attention of over 30 retailers, bringing her designs into boutiques throughout the world and onto the faces of entertainment industry royalty, such as Beyoncé and Gwyneth Paltrow.

A designer that has truly found and excelled in her niche, Chu will not rest on her success and continues to create and be inspired. “I love sunglasses. It’s the only fashion accessory that both reveals and conceals at the same time,” she says. With bold and daring designs in quirky shapes and colours for both men and women, her collections have something for everyone. 

Here, she discusses seeming unapproachable, her terrible acting skills and her love for spaghetti aglio e olio.

See also: Up Close and Personal With: André Fu, Hong Kong's Popular Interior Designer and Architect

What does Hong Kong mean to you? 
Home. Hong Kong is interesting in that it is so fast-paced and ever evolving, yet offers moments of nostalgia.

Describe your business ventures in one sentence. 
Individualism. My brand has always been about self-expression, having fun and customisation.

What is a common misconception about you?
At times, I give others the impression that I am not the most approachable person. That’s what my friends told me after getting to know me: that was the first impression they had when we first met.  

What was the first thing you bought when you realised you made it?
Several years ago, I took some time off for a road trip to Big Sur in California. It was a very memorable experience. I went with my best friend for a week. Being in nature helps me reset. It helps me connect and come back to myself while navigating this wild world. 

What topic could you give a 20-minute presentation on without any preparation?
How to make my favourite dish: spaghetti aglio e olio.

What’s the best concert you’ve been to and why was it so good?
Lady Gaga’s One World Together At Home concert. I cannot stress the importance of our frontline medical workers and everyone else who is working hard to keep our cities running. The risks they face on a daily basis are all too real and I pray for their safety.

What are you hilariously bad at?
I’m hilariously bad at acting among many other things. I just remember not being great during commercial shoots when I used to model. 

See also: Up Close and Personal With: William Lim, Managing Director of Architecture Firm, CL3

What product do you love so much that you would happily be its spokesperson?
Chilli sauce or any kind of yummy noodle.

What is your favourite childhood memory?
My favourite childhood memory is catching fireflies in Iowa, my birthplace.

If a movie was made of your life, which actress would you want to play you and why?
Faye Wong because I’ve always admired her as an artist. She’s one of those rare people who is truly authentic.

See also: Up Close and Personal With: Loui Lim, Heir to the Leisure and Hospitality Conglomerate, Genting Group

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