Wardrobe Insider: Cara Li, Co-founder of Matchali

As the co-founder of Matchali, Hong Kong’s first homegrown matcha brand Cara Li studied at the Institute of Culinary Education and the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York before returning home to launch her own business. While she might be all about leading Hong Kong’s matcha revolution with unique concoctions that taste as fabulous as they look,  she does so with an elegant fashion sense inspired by her mother.

1) Describe your style in 3 words

Classic, understated, elegant.

Cara Li, co-founder of Matchali

2) What’s the most precious item in your wardrobe and why?

A ruby and diamond ring that belonged to my grandmother.

3) What’s your go to outfit?

Jeans, Hanes x karla T-shirt, blazer, elevated sweat suit that I can wear from morning to night or a pretty feminine dress. I like to mix and match causal and tailored pieces.

Cara Li wearing Nadya Shah

4) Favourite piece you bought recently and why?

I didn’t purchase it but my parents gave me a beautiful Dior Saddle Bag for my birthday — I’m not really big into designer labels but I love the boho strap.  

5) What is the best fashion advice you have received?

Always be the most comfortably, chic person in the room.

6) Who are your style icons?

My mum! She is always elegant — we are the same clothes and shoe size and have similar taste so we often end up buying some of the same things or I borrow from her. Also Audrey Hepburn for her timeless elegance.

7) Personal style signifier

Anything that’s a set — an elevated sweat set (usually tonal) especially when I’m running around and want to be comfortable, or a silk pyjama set.

8) Less or more?

Less. I’m definitely more into a simple look.

9) If you were an item of clothing what would you be?

A hat! I find them a super, fun accessory.

Cara Li

10) Where do you love to shop?

I do most of my shopping online. I’m not really an impulse buyer. I enjoy browsing shops but will usually sleep on it and buy online. Truth be told, if I could I would spend most of my days in active wear or athleisure. I always try to get a work out in everyday and live in brands like Outdoor Voices and Nike — I find these to be the most conducive to my lifestyle. 

11) Favourite fashion apps?

Net a Porter and Matches Fashion.

12) If a museum asked you to donate one item from your wardrobe that represented you what would it be?

I don’t think I own anything museum worthy!

13) What will we never find in your wardrobe?

Bright or printed workout clothes.

14) What’s your number one fashion rule?

Wear what makes you feel good and comfortable.

15) What’s your dream project?

My cousin and business partner, Laura and I, recently launched Matchali, a contemporary matcha tea brand that offers classic and innovative matcha drinks. This project has always been a dream of mine and it’s been so exciting to see it come to life. It’s in the pretty early days and we look forward to continuing to develop the brand with more pop-ups and our own shop.

Cara Li and her cousin Laura Li launched Matchali

Photo: @matchali_hk

16) Who’s your favourite collaborator?

We have been really lucky to have collaborated with great Hong Kong brands so far and had the opportunity to launch Matchali with a pop-up at The Upper House. We recently did a limited two week collaboration with Cookie DPT — a Matcha Pineapple Bun Cookie which we are excited to bring back to our pop up this week!

17) Your favourite accounts to follow on social media

Bon Appétit @bonappetitmag — their imagery is always so nice and usually my go to for cooking inspiration.
Athena Calderone @eyeswoon— love her style in culinary and interiors. 

Follow Cara Li on @cara_li91 and her matcha tea brand Matchali on @matchali_hk