A fashion designer with more than 20 years of experience, Jerry Chen got his start in the industry by creating knit sweaters for women. In 2012, he founded his own label, Zero Degrees Celsius, then, in August 2018, opened his flagship boutique in San Marino.
“When I started the brand, my line was being sold to high-end boutiques across the country and stores in Canada, Korea, Taiwan and China,” said Chen. “I decided to open my first store in Los Angeles to be closer to customers. I chose the name because I want women to wear my sweaters and feel warm even when the weather is zero degrees Celsius, and in the summertime, I want them to wear my clothes and feel cool, like it’s zero degrees Celsius.”
Chen, who is originally from Taiwan, studied at Parsons School of Design in New York and later became the design director at Michael Simon. After working there for eight years, he decided to venture out on his own in the fashion world, which led him to start Zero Degrees Celsius and eventually move to Los Angeles.
“The majority of clothing that we carry in the store are Jerry’s designs, but we also sell independent designers like Hinson Wu and Kaden Love,” said Yoli Villeda, operations manager and store manager for Zero Degrees Celsius. “So, there’s that connection of being a young, new or local independent designer that contributes to the overarching theme of the store.”
Zero Degrees Celsius carries an array of contemporary fashions for different occasions, including workwear and eveningwear, which can be worn by women of all ages. Some of Chen’s signature styles include lace and laser-cut patterns, along with novelty prints in various styles such as bomber jackets and sweaters. One can also find gauge-knit items made with silk, satin or chiffon. Currently, the store only sells women’s items, but Villeda said that they are planning to host a small pop-up soon or start to offer a small selection of men’s items due to increasing customer requests.
The Zero Degrees Celsius collection is available in boutiques across the United States, which are listed under the “Stores” tab on its website, as well as online. The website is updated every time that Chen releases a new collection, making it easy for customers to keep up with his latest fashions no matter where they are located. In addition to retail, Zero Degrees Celsius also sells its clothing wholesale to approximately 200 boutiques across the United States.
“We carry a lot of unique items that can’t be found anywhere else, including the calfskin leather handbag collection by INCOMPLETE,” said Villeda. “We’re one of only three stores in the country that carries it. We also carry Kaden Love’s entire line of fashion jewelry and fine jewelry. Jerry is here every day, so people can come in and meet the designer while they shop. It’s a fun environment that offers a laid-back and personal shopping experience. It feels like you’re shopping with a friend.”
The store also hosts private shopping events that offer a small discount for guests along with food and beverages. These serve as great opportunities for customers to connect with friends, family and clients while enjoying a more personalized shopping experience.
“We love this location and the people,” said Chen. “Our customers are sophisticated and elegant, and we are happy to help them keep up on the latest fashion trends, which is why they enjoy shopping with us.”
Zero Degrees Celsius is located at 2509 Mission St. in San Marino. They are open Mon. – Sat. from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and closed on Sunday. For more information, call (626) 460-6558 or visit www.0degreescelsius.com.
Zero Degrees Celsius Business Spotlight appeared in the print edition of the South Pasadena Review on 2.1.19. Support Local Business.