A 10SOUL FEATURE: KOREAN FASHION COMES TO BERLIN

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This fall, ten eclectic young designers from Seoul were chosen by ’10 SOUL,’ a project that selects and supports 10 of Korea’s most special, up-and-coming fashion designers every year.

The 10 Korean fashion brands we should be looking out for this season are: BOURIE, D-ANTIDOTE, D.GNAK, KYE, MAXXIJ, MOON J, MÜNN, SEOKWOON YOON, THE STOLEN GARMENT and YOUSER.

Already having successfully set foot in fashion metropoles like Paris and London, the young Koreans now showcase their collections at VooStore in Berlin, and will be available for purchase through the end of the year.

We spoke with each of the featured designers and share with you their ethos behind designing, their inspirations, their fears as creatives, their hopes in the new year, and some of their favorite looks.

SEOKWOON YOON

Your favourite piece that you’ve designed so far?

My favourite piece so far is the jacket with silicone and real flowers, it was in my graduation collection. I collected flowers at Brooklyn factories that had fallen onto the floor, sewed them onto the jacket, and covered them with silicone. This jacket can be unzipped and turned into a two-piece skirt and a jacket. I wanted to stimulate people’s curiosity. I printed ‘NOTHING INSIDE’ over the zipper as a paradox to the extreme details.

If you had to choose one designer that inspires you, who would it be and why?

My favourite artist is Robert Rauschberg. I enjoy seeing his work of mixing different materials together. His impact on me is huge, especially when I work on textiles and silhouettes.

‘Fashion can change society’, would you agree?

I think that the fashion industry is deeply related to our society. We can convey powerful images through fashion.

What is your very own goal of your fashion brand? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I would love to show my collection on the catwalks of London, Paris and New York. I want to stock major stores with my pieces. In five years, I want to be able to reach more people by sharing my work and my working process. I would love to have more opportunities to show my collection.

What are you currently working on?

I am working on a personal art project. For my next collection, I am striving after my own aesthetic truth.

D-ANTIDOTE

What was your first ever design?
When I was 20 years old during my military service, I was feeling sad that we didn’t have a nice uniform. I persuaded my commanding officer to allow me to design a T shirt as part of our uniform.

Three words to describe your style?
Youth, NEWstalgia, Gender-Fluid

Which designer is inspiring you?
It is a difficult question, but if I must choose one, I choose Virgil Abloh. Although he is representative of high-end streetwear with his unique signature and character, his works in lifestyle and trends are not limited to fashion and spread across genres.

A message to our Fraeulein readers?
Everyone is having a tough year because of Covid. It is hard to get back to before, but I hope you will find and enjoy a new lifestyle that fits to this era of New Normal.

D.GNAK

What was your first design?
I have always been drawing something from my imagination, since childhood. I don’t know exactly what my first design was. As far as I can remember, I made my own clothes starting in second grade by drawing on white shirts.

Three words to describe your style?
Black. Pattern. Continuity.

„Fashion can change society“ – do you agree?
I think it can have an impact. Each of us has our own individuality, but there are people who have the same interests. I think if those people gather and share their thoughts, they can have a sufficient impact on change.

What is the goal of your fashion brand?
The goal is to work happily. I dream of working tirelessly.

THE STOLEN GARMENT

What was your first design?
In my early years of elementary school, I had to design a pouch for home economics. Together with my grandma, I picked out bright yellow and sage green fabrics. I was very inspired by whales, so I stitched a whale on the outline. The bag looked a lot like this season’s jacquard gym bags.
Your favourite piece that you’ve designed so far?
The piece I’m most attached to is, unfortunately, the one that was stolen from my exhibition in London. (The brand name is in memory of this piece.) After a bleaching process, unpicking, foil-printing, and hand-painting the raw denim (which was sponsored by Teijdos Royo) on all angular corners of the pattern and sewing it all back together, I hand-painted it again. Not only was it the most time consuming piece, but it was a piece I put a lot of thought into.
Three words that describe your style.
Raw, delusional, poetic
What is your future vision on fashion and its industry?
I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself being optimistic in regards to fashion and its industry. I often times discuss with other designers (who I am close with) about how we as small independent designers can contribute to the change the industry is going through. We are aware of the issues, and are patiently working towards a goal we can be satisfied with. Currently we are playing around with plant-based leather alternatives but we are nowhere close to what we want yet.
Any message to our Fräulein readers for 2020?
Ever since the theft that kickstarted the brand, I have seen strange and unwelcome things happening every year, that have played important roles in creating the narratives for my collections. In 2020, we have witnessed every part of our daily lives turn on its head. I hope for everyone to stay healthy in these times of unexpected changes.

MUNN

If you had to choose one designer that inspires you, who would it be and why?

Alexander McQueen. Looking at his avant-garde collections, I began to get interested in fashion design and he made me change my major from graphic design to fashion design. He instilled a fashion fantasy in me.

Tell us about your first show, how was it? What are your best/worst memories?

The only memory of my first runway show is that I had to run around. A lot. It probably was the worst show for my models! They had to take turns putting on the pants because I didn’t have money to produce more. But regarding my best memory, I’ve been selected as one of the 10 SOUL members consecutively for the fifth time this year. I can recall the collection that I won the first place trophy and substantial grant. I was glad to achieve recognition as a designer. I felt rewarded for all my hard work.

YOUSER

If you had to choose one designer that inspires you, who would it be and why?
My muse is Martin Margiela. He inspired me in many ways, especially when I saw that he applied conceptual art to his fashion and him intentionally using mould, which inspired my graduation work.

Tell us about your first show, how was it? What are your best/worst memories?
My first show was a Spring/Summer show in Seoul in 2015 and I was incredibly nervous because backstage was a mess, but when it was over I knew that I did the right thing.

‘Fashion can change society’, would you agree?
I agree because I think that we can deliver messages through the art of fashion which will hopefully result in a change of our society at some point.

What is your future vision on fashion and its industry?
Due to COVID-19 the fashion industry has undergone a lot of change. The masks we wear on a daily have become a fashion item and most of our shopping is now done online. Our brand’s focus is on developing new innovative items according to the changing times.

BOURIE
What was your first ever design?
In high school, our uniform was a 3-piece suit, made of dark gray wool fabric with a black pinstripe, and a coordinated burgundy tie. All three items I reformed to the length and silhouette that I wanted. Since it was against the school rules, I always carried a complete extra set of a school uniform in my fanny pack.
Three words that describe your style?
Bold. Opulent. Self-possesed.
If you had to choose one designer that inspires you, who would it be and why?
Rei Kawakubos. She thinks the most important thing of someones clothing is the person inside of it.
Tell us about your first show, how was it? 

Seoul Fashion Week FW2015 Generation Next was my first runway show. We invited actor Bae Doo-na, but later there were only photos of her, none of the collection!

MOON J

What was your first design? 

I remember learning how to make flower biz bracelets when I was 11 years old, which is still popular in Korea these days. I created my own accessories in a new combination by learning simply two or three ways of making them.

Your favourite piece that you’ve designed so far?

The ivory, red, and blue block sweater of my first season which was FW15. At that time, it was quite difficult for me. I couldn’t major in knitwear. I was unfamiliar with the whole process of selecting the yarns, dyeing, weaving, and mixing and matching the colours, so I put more time and effort into it. As a result, it turned out to be a refreshing design. Many people liked it, it was shared on multiple social media platforms. I was excited to see that my design was used as a reference in my college graduation portfolio. But sometimes, I still find websites overseas that copied and sold this design.

‘Fashion can change society’, would you agree?

Yes. Take a closer look at the gender-neutral movement. Pink is no longer exclusively reserved for women and the boundaries between men’s and women’s clothing have been removed.

What is your future vision on fashion and its industry?

As long as we live within the ‘Big Blur‘ phenomenon, online communication is indispensable. It is the time for various innovations, especially regarding the boundaries between the tangible and non-tangible. I think that events, big and small, in which consumers participate will become essential. We must think about how to create various visual contents and turn them into digital experiences. It will be the only way to survive. In regards to environmental issues, I think it is almost impossible to rapidly change a brand to be totally sustainable. But with small steps, such as replacing packages to eco-friendly ones or providing a new way of using packaging, are a good start.

KYE

What was your first design?

I guess when I was 10 years old, trying to emulate my mom’s clothing DIY.

Tell us about your first show, how was it?

My first official runway show was the Central Saint Martins MA show back in 2011. I designed a piece that resembled a giant gorilla fist that gained a lot of press attention,  which actually led me to launch KYE.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Right now I’m working on another diffusion line of KYE called eyeye. And my next goal is making eyeeye into a homeware brand…

MAXXIJ

What was your first design? 

My first design under the MAXXIJ label was a multi-printed jumpsuit that I made in 2012. It was part of my graduation collection at London College of Fashion. The collection was named ‘The Masquerade Collection’ and since then, idea behind this collection has been imprinted in the brand’s philosophy.

Tell us about your first show, how was it?

Runway shows are always overwhelming, but especially the first show. Feeling the air of tension from the intro, and then the dominant atmosphere when the first model walks out all the way to the finale… In this short amount of time, you straightly get paid back for all the efforts and time invested.

‘Fashion can change society’, would you agree?

I completely agree. Fashion has always reflected historical changes, and leads to the most powerful impacts. Currently, we are forced to adjust to this world in a pandemic where not only our ways of communication have changed, but our whole life. Fashion has the power to have a positive influence on making the world a better place in spite of worldwide crisis and confusion.

Interview by Barbara Anthofer
Images Courtesy of the designers and V Communications

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