Little Fashionistas Walk the Line with Premiere Faux Denim Leggings
Chopstix Kids is a premiere faux denim company based in Los Angeles, California, specializing in infants and toddlers (up to a size 6) that offers the look of a fitted jean without any of the compromises. Angela Lee launched the brand in 2009 after embarking on a search for the perfect jean to gift her niece. Chopstix Kids is unique from other children’s clothing lines because it serves multiple functions since it is not just a jean or legging or only casual or dressy. Angela shares, “It is what the little girl (or mom) wants it to be that day—I have seen it worn dressed up with sparkly ballet slippers and a velvet jacket and I have seen it worn on the playground with Keds and a tank top. It allows the little Fashionista to make it what she wants it to be.” Celebrity fans of the line include the style-conscious daughters of Entourage star, Debi Mazar, Bones star, David Boreanaz, and Extra host, Mario Lopez. Chopstix has won over many little girls around town. Once we learned about the brand, we could not help but notice them on little girls everywhere.
Angela was inspired by her niece to create an item that would be functional yet stylish. “There are so many products out there for girls but I found too many to be restricting in one form or another—too high-maintenance (must be dry cleaned), too stiff for comfort, too dressy, too casual..always ‘too’-something. I found very little out there that were stylish yet comfortable for every day,” she shares. Regardless of how expensive the jean, her niece was not comfortable wearing it as it was always too rigid, tight, loose or something else. However, since her niece was willing to wear leggings, Angela thought “How about a jean that fits like a legging?” And ta-da! Chopstix was born. Angela has a B.A. from the University of San Francisco and MBA from the University of California, Irvine. As a former corporate executive with years of business management experience, she never studied design or fashion in college but has scoured some of the greatest museums in the world because she greatly appreciates art and design. While Angela enjoys creative pursuits such as art, architecture, music and fashion, she is actually more analytical than creative. When it comes down to it, she is very practical and the numbers-side always wins out.
Chopstix Kids is as stylish as functional and come in three faux denim styles: Classic, Edgy and Bling. Angela finds that in many ways, it mimics her style as her entire wardrobe tends to lean towards comfortable pieces with great detailing (such as velvet collars on jackets or tissue thin cashmeres with peek-a-boo lace) because she loves details. Angela is the sole creator of Chopstix Kids, along with tremendous input from her fantastic West Coast showroom and sales reps. Certain staple styles, such as the Classics and a few of their Bling styles remain permanently in the collection while they introduce a minimum of two new styles each year. We salute the Bling styles as these leggings have embellished pockets made up of Swarovski-like crystals. Our pick is the Guitar design as it is simply über cool with its sparkly decorated electric guitar on the back pocket, bringing out the rock n’ roll spirit in every girl. The bling style captures the fun and essence of being a kid as the bright fantasy-like colored crystals adds some spunk to an everyday wardrobe. Choose from pocket designs like a butterfly, guitar, royal crown, happy face, cupcake, or perfect heart.
In coming up with ideas for designs, she gets most of them from browsing through funky boutiques, especially in Seoul. “For example, I happened upon an art accessory store on my last trip there and in a bin, there were colorful hair barrettes. I started sorting through it and found some great colors and image ideas that I’ll incorporate into our future collection,” Angela says. Her fascination with fashion started at a young age as she grew up reading Vogue at the library and finding the clothes to be so amazing that she created a whole fantasy world of what the lives of the models were. Therefore, she has a ready and long list of admired designers; Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino and Stephane Kelian (for shoes—they no longer exist). She also likes Rozae Nichols’ designs as well as small, independent clothes that have no labels which she picks up at small shops near the California Mart and the back streets of whatever city she happens to be at. Angela says, “My husband jokes that I boost the economy of whatever country I visit because I try to hit the ‘local’ shops and buy local.”
Angela shares her favorite pieces from the collection, such as the Classic in white because that is a staple and the Amore heart because the heart really pops against he indigo denim. The classic is one of our Editor’s Picks because it is simple and a wardrobe essential as it can be dressed up or down. The classic features silk-screened pockets with the Chopstix loop and the traditional pockets with white stitching design. The quality of the fabric is superior with its blend of super soft cotton and stretchy-Lycra with a dash of polyester. Its elastic waist makes pulling on and off a snap and the fit is narrow through the legs as a “skinny” jean fit. No need to dry clean or fuss over special care instructions as all jeggings are machine washable. Chopstix Kids had their soft launch in Fall/Winter 2009 and a full-collection launch in Fall 2010. The line was named Chopstix Kids after Angela and the West Coast reps were tossing names around while she was showing them the line and getting input. When the name Chopstix, popped up, she knew right away that was it.
Among her travels abroad, Angela was inspired by Seoul, Korea, because it is such a vibrant city with so much to see and do. “From beautiful stationery made of rice paper to tea houses built into the side of a mountain, the city never sleeps. The textile there is amazing as is their shopping. There are places that OPEN for business at 11 p.m. and stay open all night long!,” she exclaims. Angela also found Prague to be an amazing city with its fabulous art galleries showcasing Czech artists that she absolutely loved. The architecture inspired her and she considers Prague one of her favorite cities in the world. Lastly, she loves the Maldives as the blue of the water there is unlike anything she has ever seen. Angela is an avid reader so her idea of nirvana is sitting at an outdoor café in the warm sun in an exotic city reading a good book with a good cup of coffee. She always wanted to be a travel writer since she loves traveling and has secretly wanted to be James Bond without killing any bad guys. Angela just thought it would be fun to drive an Aston and fly to exotic locales.
For the urban Fashionista, the Edgy style is perfect! The leggings in this collection feature a cool peace sign made of rhinestuds adorning the pockets with the Chopstix signature loop. The peace signs are available in the colors X. These Edgy peace sign leggings can be worn cuffed with ballet flats or straight and narrow with chunky boots and perfect for the “little rebel that lives within every girl.” All jeans are made in Los Angeles and offered in sizes 6m, 12m, 18m, 24m, 2T, 3T, 4T, 4, 5 and 6. As her son just turned one in March 2011, Angela would like to personally grow Chopstix Kids at a steady pace so she can spend quality time with him until he is five years old while running her business at the same time. Since Angela has had twenty years in the work force with more than 90% of that in corporate America, her idea of steady might be another’s idea of frantic. She feels everyone has their own pace and in five years, she hopes Chopstix Kids will have evolved into a marketplace staple and their sales on target with her projections.
Chopstix Kids is sold at specialty boutiques such as Fred Segal/Ron Robinson in Los Angeles, Boogie’s in Aspen, Urban Kidz in Scottsdale, Precious Cargo for Kids in New Jersey, and many more. In closing, Angela shares, “We love to get feedback from our customers so any input is appreciated!” Be sure to visit their website ChopstixKids.com for more information about the line, to shop and post any questions or personal feedback.