BEHIND THE BRAND: Ce Ce Chin Gives Us 100%.

It seems like just yesterday that I met Ce Ce for the first time. Her now legendary, 80%20 hand painted slip-ons, came on the scene when such styles were primarily available for men–but really just starting to trend for the ladies. The skate/surf industry was booming, the lifestyle/fashion side of that business was crossing over to female market, and Chin was there to chime in with her freshman 80%20 collection. The timing was right, the passion was there, and the boutique collection developed cult like fans from it’s first days on the fashion scene. I met Ce Ce at a trade show, at which point she was still slinging her hand customized shoes, but also introducing printed versions like the archived classic seen below  (still one of my favorites!).  Ce Ce Chin, the voice and guide behind 80%20, has stayed true to her initial vision, but has taken the lifestyle brand well beyond slip-ons and the days of customizing shoes with paint. We recently caught up with the NYC based busy-lady for some inside dish on all things 80%20–and some insider info on the next collection. A true trail-blazer in the shoe industry, it’s always a pleasure to catch up with Ce Ce and hear what is going on—get the scoop below and shop Fall 80%20 HERE.

1. We love 80%20 around here, it’s perfect for Portland and fits our lifestyle around the office. What
are the principles around the design and function of 80%20 that keep it fresh and on point?

I focus on the sweet spot of form and function- the perfect shoes that have the downtown edge, but also wearable to keep up with a very active lifestyle.

2. We see 80%20 selling to a very wide range of women, and  shoppers. Is there really an age range on who buys your collection?

Perhaps between 20-30.  The brand has attracted a cult following with the “indie entrepreneur” movement, girls likely to have Tumblr blogs or stores on Etsy.
4. In regards to your personal style if you could pick two celebs or style muses that represent you,  and 80%20, who would they be and how would the %s break down?

Zooey Deschanel, especially her character on The New Girl.  80% quirky, 20% relatable

Christina Caradona, a style blogger from TropRouge.
She modeled for our Fall 12 look book, and the video of her riding a skateboard in 80%20 shoes in on our website!
80% casual sexy style 20% Hair.

4. Top Five songs on repeat around the 80%20 HQ?

Human League “The Things that Dreams are Made Of”

Washed Out “I feel it All

“YACHT “Psychic City”

Juan MacLean “Happy House” (Prince Language Mix)
Empire of the Sun “We are the People”

5. How many years has your brand been around—and when you first launched with customized slip-ons years ago, did you really see it turning into a full time lifestyle brand?

I started the brand in 2005- so it’s been seven years!  The first 80%20 collection was inspired by girls who date skateboarders, and the hand painted slip-ons has a very Vans feel.  However then I created the Original Hidden Wedge, and for me at least, this served as the padded bra of footwear!

6. We know you are a NYC girl, but could you ever live in LA?
I do think about it sometimes, because I would love to swim in the ocean every day!

7. Let’s say it’s 9pm on a Friday and team Solestruck is on their way to meet you for Dinner in NYC, where are we going?
Miss Lily’s, the hot Jamaican spot on Houston street.  Here’s a picture of our sales team at the restaurant.

8. Any hints about 80%20 Spring 2013? Themes? Direction? Insider sneak peaks?

The inspiration was very much about empowerment, peak moments, spontaneity and sexy athleticism.  Below are my mood boards.

9. I think a lot of people outside the shoe industry don’t realize how male dominated the business side is at the mid-tier price point. Has being a woman worked for, or against you, in this field? Do you feel a bit like a shoe trailblazer for ladies?

What a great question!  I do feel like a shoe trailblazer, especially in the entrepreneurial sense, because as you say, most of the business is very “macho”.  As you get deeper into distribution, the industry is even more so!  Those “shoe dogs” may be tough, but I have integrity and I believe that a lot of female customers respect that.
10. Sum up your personal style in five statement based words!
Streetwise gear from Nolita to Costa Rica!


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