CHAR is here to make a statement in the fashion world, and she’s doing just that. Born Tacharra Perry, the Houston native stands as a proud Black fashion designer and creative director with her own clothing line, one that stands for something greater than clothes.
Describing herself as “this super adventurous, spontaneous, optimistic, shy girl,” real name Tacharra Perry is your average girl-next-door who aims to make a lasting impact on the world. While CHAR comes from a family of teachers, she had dreams and aspirations of her own. So how did she get into fashion? It was the moment her grandmother brought home fabric and made her a dress that matched her doll… the rest was history.
This past summer, she re-launched her CHARworkroom brand, described as “an unseasonal womenswear brand with a nonconfirming style.” This means the clothes are ready to be worn at any given moment, regardless of the season. If you want to talk about the newest, hottest item on the market, start with CHAR’s Cheeky Shorts. This is a staple item for Summer 2021, on top of her Ribbed Hole Dress and Deep V-Neck Dress.
Flaunt caught up with CHAR via Zoom to discuss her roots in Houston, her fashion sense, how she started her own brand, the challenges, the rise of the Cheeky Shorts, fashion trends, Flo Milli rocking her shorts, goals, and more!
How was it growing up in Houston?
It was a bit challenging, simply because Houston isn’t known as a big creative scene. Me being in the position I am and with my brand now, I try to use it as an opportunity to open up doors for other creatives.
What was a young CHAR like growing up there?
A regular day: wake up, go to school, do some extracurricular activities. I grew up in the suburbs, it was honestly basic. [laughs] I didn’t have a lot of creatives in my family, so for me I broke that barrier. I come from a family of a lot of teachers, but that’s not really what I saw for myself. I wouldn’t call myself the black sheep, but I always did my own thing.
When did you fall in love with fashion?
When I was a kid. My mom always kept me in the latest trends, I still have some of those clothes till this day. My grandmother sewed too. When I’d go spend weekends with her, I’d observe her sewing. One day, she bought me some fabric and made me a dress that matched my baby doll. From then, I’ve been drawn to It.
How would you describe your own fashion sense?
On a regular day, I’m always in a pair of denim: whether it’s a denim skirt, denim jeans, or shorts and a white top. As you see right now, that’s standard for me. When I go out or do events, I try to dress a little unique. I’m in the process of purging my closet and bringing in more unique pieces, more vintage pieces. I’m really always willing to try new things, but on a regular day I’m definitely in a white shirt and some denim.
When did you come up with the idea for CHARworkroom?
It was in 2014. Right after I graduated high school in 2012, I started doing customs for people and local brands. When I saw the amount of money I brought in, I said “let me start a brand.” Back in the day, some of my friends used to call me Peach, so I started this brand called Peach City. It went nowhere at all. After that, I figured let me do something a little more luxurious, it could easily transition to being a luxury brand if it wanted it to be. I went with CHAR, because that’s abbreviated from my full name.
What was the reality behind launching your own brand?
It was very challenging, it’s still challenging. I'm still learning as I go, still making mistakes. The most positive thing that comes from that is turning those mistakes into a positive, for sure. I’m at the point now where I’m building my team out. That’s the ultimate goal, because I’ve always wanted to create jobs for women locally that involved fashion without having to work a retail job. Retail was a nightmare. It definitely has its ups and downs, but I really appreciate the journey. I’m super excited for us to release some new stuff.
Let’s get into the cheeky shorts!
They’re super popular, everyone loves them. Honestly, it’s so crazy when I first designed the shorts, I did not like them. To see the reaction from customers and seeing them in them... everyday I grow a different type of love for them. It’s a bittersweet love simply because of what I deal with behind-the-scenes, but the girls are eating them up. I’m thinking about putting the colorways we currently have to rest come August, and implementing new patterns and textures into the shorts. I do think the cheeky shorts will be a staple to the CHAR brand, it’s not going anywhere.
What’s been your proudest moment of your career?
The craziest moment was the Flo Milli billboard in Times Square. Living in New York was a very personal journey for me, I went through so much just to be there. It’s really a full-circle moment because right before that, I had just moved back home because of COVID. When I moved home, I really didn’t know what I was going do with my life. I was trying to find a job, nobody was calling me back, then COVID happened. To break out of that whole situation and have my door on a billboard in Times Square is honestly crazy, I still can’t believe it till this day.
What’re you most excited for this summer?
I’m keeping it simple for the summer. I’m going to start building out a collection later this year. I’m participating in a fashion show, that’s what my focus will go to. I’m really letting the shorts have its moment right now, because they’re in extreme demand right now that’s honestly all I could focus on. I wanted to push out other items, but right now I can’t even devote the time that I want to because I have to keep putting these shorts into production. We recently just restocked. I stocked a thousand shorts, biggest restock. I don’t want to say hopefully it calms down because no one ever wants their business to slow down, but I’d like to catch my breath for sure. [laughs] We’ll see, I’m going with the flow.
What fashion trends do you feel like are in and what are out?
I honestly noticed a lot of stylists are putting their clients in metallics and metallic colors. I’ve been noticing statement pieces of course, platform shoes. I’m honestly such a simple person, I really don’t follow trends. I’ll definitely say metallics is definitely in, and platform shoes.
How was it having Flo Milli rock the shorts?
It’s cool to see, we definitely got a lot of reaction from that. I expected it, she looks amazing, but it’s something me and her stylist had already constructed. I believe she has a music video coming out so once I see that, I’ll be like “okay, it looks bomb.” She looked amazing.
What does it mean to have an unseasonal brand?
Growing up in Houston where it’s hot 9 months out of the year, then the other 3 are okay chilly, but not too cold, I wanted to cater to that. Living out here, it’s so many cities like LA as well where it’s not always hot but it’s always necessarily cold either. For me, it was important to release things so that people who live in these cities could wear them year-round. I’m not saying I won’t drop a jacket, but if I wanted to in the summertime, I’ll do that because someone will buy it. If I wanted to drop a bathing suit in January, I’ll do that too. Because it’s hot somewhere, so that’s my whole perception of that.
Goals yourself as an artist at this point of your career?
I definitely want to have a showroom, a nice office space. I definitely love to include more women, especially minority women. I want to return back to Fashion Week at some point. My last show was in 2016, that’s when Jordyn Woods wore one of my outerwear pieces.
Knowing what I know now, being able to have the finances, resources, and connections to be able to do it on the scale I want to do it on, that’s definitely the goal of mine. I definitely want to make sure I mesh more globally, so hosting pop-up shops, having little events, stuff like that. Collaborating with more big brands.
What brands would you like to collab with?
I definitely want to collaborate with Facebook again. I would love to do a little capsule collection with Target or H&M, they do collections with designers. At some point, I want to design a shoe. Maybe collaborating with a shoe brand, that’ll be really cool.
Anything else you’d like to let the people know?
Stay tuned. I'm excited to unveil so much. I definitely plan on dropping a couture line, Off-White is a perfect example. Off-White tries to incorporate culture into streetwear. Many people think couture is avant-garde, you could only wear it to a gala. I want to be ready to wear couture, that's my thing. That’s what I’ll be working on next year.