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Small Shop, Big Cotton Finds: Meet O.N.S.

Lisa Lo Paro

Lisa Lo Paro
November 11, 2021

Small Shop, Big Cotton Finds: Meet O.N.S.

Brian Chung of O.N.S. was walking down a New York street a few years ago and caught a glimpse of a t-shirt he’d designed during a fashion internship. It was a total stranger who happened to be wearing a shirt he’d worked on, a coincidental moment that changed the entire trajectory of his career. Brian credits this moment—this a-ha moment of his life—with setting him down the path that led to the launch of O.N.S., a brand inspired by the ever-changing cultural landscape of New York and one that seeks to capture the ethos of big cities and interpret it in clothing.

It’s an ambitious calling, for sure: Brian describes how he’s inspired by this city and his Hong Kong roots and how it influences his designs. “The weathering of buildings in New York, the neon lights of Hong Kong, and the haziness of big cities” all end up reflected in his personal style as well as on the racks at O.N.S.

Chung established O.N.S. in 2016 after a vocation change. A business school student, he found the world of accounting, HR, and business management incredibly dull and decided to make a change. That change led to his first internship, and even though he felt out of place as only one of a handful of Asian-heritage persons within the large corporation, the experience was formative. He realized he wanted to work with a company that embraces and celebrates cultural differences. In short, he created the company he wanted to work for.

It’s easy to discern the energy of cities like Hong Kong and New York running through the entire menswear line, but Brian Chung is also dedicated to quality, and for that reason, it came back to cotton.

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Clothing made with natural fibers is my only way to stay comfortable throughout the day.

“No other fiber gives me the same ease of mind,” says Brian. A lifelong sufferer of sensitive skin, Brian equates cotton with comfort. “Clothing made with natural fibers is my only way to stay comfortable throughout the day. For me, comfort inspires confidence, especially when I don’t have to worry about if my clothes will shrink-wrap me throughout the day.”

Brian Chung was in the midst of relocating the O.N.S. flagship store in New York City when the pandemic derailed those plans, mere weeks from completion. He had enlisted the help of designers from Hong Kong, executive architects from New York, and materials from Italy and Germany, and even though Brian describes the postponement as “devastating,” he has not abandoned his plans, crediting his landlords, loyal customers, and suppliers with getting him and his company through those difficult times.

So there’s a lot to be thankful for, and even more to plan for. The goal is to create a shopping environment that is rooted in high-quality daily menswear, garnished with interesting products from around the world—all at a reasonable price. For Brian, the dream is to connect with his customers and bring him into the vision. It’s a stunning image.

Shop O.N.S. or browse in our Shop Cotton section.

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The Cotton Shop at O.N.S.

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