We had the good fortune of connecting with Cass “Bunny” Chase and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cass “Bunny”, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I decided to start my own business because i’m a bit of an insubordinate. I’ve always struggled with authority. As Sailor Ripley says, “This is a snakeskin jacket! And for me it’s a symbol of my individuality, and my belief… in personal freedom,” Recluse Club represents my belief in personal freedom. I’ve always known I had to find a way to be my own boss. I grew up in a Christian Science school that tried its hardest to stomp out my unruly desire for agency over myself.
I have always craved a job that could utilize my desire for research, art, history, music and film. By creating fashion collections around these different interests and Americana cultures, I’ve been able to find a happy marriage that allows me to feel consistently engaged.
Recluse Club is founded on being a genderless suiting brand. At the time of it’s creation I was only seeing genderless clothing in neutral color-ways and streetwear silhouettes. I wanted to broaden the definition of fashion in its concepts of gender representation. I wanted to expand on the limited options of menswear and question the expectations of women’s wear. I wanted to create clothes that expanded outside of the two gender construct. I hope that in the future, I can grow towards that goal.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I would say I got here by staying true to my vision and self. When roadblocks occur, it is easy to abandon yourself. I really believe in the art of manifestation and connecting dots. When I was a little kid, I dreamed of being the next Edward Hopper — very funny. I really wanted to be a famous painter, one that lived in the glory of their legacy while alive. For some reason, the deep sadness and historical nature of his paintings really fascinated and excited me. “New York Movie” 1939 was my favorite. I admired his obsession with America and documenting it. I started painting at a really early age, due to my mother’s love for art. I would make comic books, write little screen plays, and record mini movies with my cousins on a camcorder. The challenge for me was never the manifestation of the idea but the execution of it. These dreams are still majorly apart of me, I didn’t abandon them but manifested them into new pathways. I paint with beads now. I use my love for culture and history through drafting a collection’s manifesto. I use my love for comic illustration in my fashion illustrations and idea development. I write short stories and characters for models who wear my new collections.
I started to love fashion when I was about 17. I hadn’t had much interest in it until I discovered Hussein Chalayan. I didn’t teach myself how to sew until I was 20, when I retired the dream of being a magazine editor. I’m still constantly learning how to sew. I don’t have inventory of my work, so when I receive orders, I ask for measurements. This has been a big learning curve because I am not continuously working off a size chart or my original pattern pieces.
When I started Recluse Club, I had a business partner. She and I didn’t work out, which was a roadblock for me. I had to find ways to hold myself accountable, rather than having the constant support, help and knowledge of a person I admired. It can be hard to stay on course without someone else inspiring you or pushing you. I have struggled to maintain consistency and focus at times. One of my biggest challenges to overcome is separating my emotions from my work and outside life events from effecting my tiny business.
For a more simpler answer: getting started and pattern making. Being bad at math isn’t easy when you’re a suit-wear designer. These challenges have given me a lot of pride and purpose. I’m very proud of myself today. I said two years ago I would be styling and designing for musicians. I’ve slowly started to see that path way manifest. It is so exciting. I am hoping to get into the costume film world next. I am also very excited about my next collection. I’m always dreaming of directing my own fashion narrative short films. I’m also hoping to come out with a Recluse Club History & Film podcast in the next year… Producers hit my line!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’m very new to Los Angeles! I am just starting my bi-coastal journey… Bob Baker Marionette Theater
Calamari steak at The Galley
Soap Plant / Wacko
Finding a Lucha Libre event
Saying a prayer at Bela Lugosi’s grave
8 years in New York City:
-Going to the Museum of Moving Image
-Eating at Astoria Seafood
-Buy or get a custom stamp at Casey Rubber Stamps
-Visit Enchantments for hand-carved candles
-Village Revival Records!
-Getting on the manhattan bound Q train at Dekalb and seeing the Masstransiscope
-Going to the Ramble to feed the raccoons at sunset
-Having a homemade soda at Lexington Candy Shop
-Taking the ferry to Rockaway and getting a nutcracker
-Visit La Sirena
-Seeing a movie at Film Forum, Roxy Cinema, Angelica or IFC (midnight on weekends only)
-Getting a hot dog at Santa Salsa
-Having dinner at Kenka
-Getting two darks at McSorleys
-Visiting Ray’s Candy shop before heading home after a long night out
-Praying that Pyramid Club re-opens…
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to dedicate my shout out to Nudie Cohn, The (Dixie) Chicks, my Mom, my Dad and Bo Chapli.
Instagram: therecluseclub // cassadeechase
cover photo. Carina Allen (@rlyblonde) Photo 1: Bo Chapli @bo.chapli 2: Bo Chapli 3. Bo Chapli / Sam Kogon @samkogon 4. Carina Allen 5. Carina Allen 6. Porscha Little @theorishasbaby