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Suitcase Series: Joanna Dai of Daiwear in London

Joanna Dai is a former investment banker of 8 years in New York and London, turned fashion entrepreneur and founder of Daiwear.

Daiwear is a range of performance wear for the Professional Woman launched in July 2017, combining smart, technical fabrics with elegant tailoring and minimal design. Dai promises to become the new leading fashion firm for business women in any city globally!

Joanna was inspired by her career in banking. “Long days, continuous hustle, constrictive waistbands and arm movement, and lack of functionality like large pockets were a few of my frustrations. I saw the athleisure trend take off and smarter textile technology readily accessible for casualwear. So I asked myself how I could create a solution for working women?” And so, Daiwear was born.

Beyond innovative, easy to wear, versatile and contemporary womenswear products, Dai advocates for sustainability and positive social impact that empowers women, partnering with Dress for Success Greater London, a chapter of the global non-profit organisation that promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and career development tools. Dai has also partnered with the Positive Luxury community, with commitment to sustainability and positive impact.

What is the first trip you remember taking?

When I was 6, my mom and I took a one-way flight from Shanghai to LAX when we immigrated to America. My dad was already living in the states for 3 years before our family reunited. I remember the hallway coming out of customs, and our first breakfast at a very American diner called Bob’s Big Boy.

If you could sit next to anyone – dead or alive – on a long-haul flight, who would it be?

This one is so hard. I’ve been fascinated by space and the universe, so I’d be very captivated if I had to sit with a theoretical physicist like Stephen Hawking or Albert Einstsein, or an astronaut like Neil Armstrong or Sally Ride, the first American woman in space. My second choice would be a visionary entrepreneur such as Walt Disney or Steve Jobs, for how they combined creativity at such a grand scale with building a successful business.

How do you recover from jet lag?

No naps, power through until local bedtime. Ideally, I would preempt jetlag by starting to adjust before take-off, like eating earlier and passing out as soon as I take my seat, but I’m not so disciplined.

Your flight’s delayed an hour and your phone’s out of battery. How do you pass the time?

Window shopping. I could definitely browse leisurely through nice airport shops and boutiques to kill the time.

Biggest lesson from your travels?

Being realistic about time and not jamming too much into a packed itinerary. It’s much more enjoyable and less stressful that way. For food, always cross check restaurant reviews and look for local food bloggers/websites to ensure you find the local gems and avoid the tourist traps.

Do you travel for food, leisure, culture or something else?

Food for sure, peeking into how the locals live, catching the main attractions and a few off-the-beaten-path ones too.

Favourite Hotel? Why?

Hanging Gardens, Ubud, Bali. The entire resort is constructed on a steep and narrow jungle valley with one road leading to the entrance at the top, so every villa cascades down this cliff, looking out into 360 degrees of jungle forest. With the sounds of the birds, insects, and nature all around, you feel very secluded and one with mother nature. Lots of hotels have a beautiful ambiance, décor and amenities, but the settings surrounding Hanging Gardens is a whole new level.

Favourite airline?

Being London based, I’ll go with British Airways. It’s their home hub, has a vast range of destinations, and Heathrow Terminal 5 is like a mini mall. Their first class on Amex companion vouchers is a not bad way to go.

What’s on your travel playlist?

I’m not a huge music junkie so global charts or 90s/00s pop hits do the job. For working on a plane, classical music helps me focus.

Where next?

Peru. Inca Trail, Machu Picchu and Lima are high on my list.

Must-have travel picks?

For work travel, I’d definitely wear the Dai Power Move Trousers and Now and Forever Blouse in Technical Sky. They feel like yoga, are tailored like a powersuit, have amazing wrinkle resistance and are easy to care.

For a beach trip, Rainbow sandals and vintage Levi’s cut-off shorts.

First thing that comes to your mind?

Hand-luggage essential?


Packing: roll or fold?

Combination of both. Silks rolled, definitely.

Time killer on a long-haul flight?

Movie marathon or binge watch a whole new series

On-flight tipple of choice?

Bloody Mary

Bucket list top destination?

Peru, Patagonia, Serengeti

Best shopping gem found abroad?

Small boutiques in Milan with hidden Italian designer pieces for a fraction of the retail price

Beach or City?


Ultimate hideaway?

Private island in Fiji


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