Words Deserae McGlothen and Gissella Ramirez-Valle, Edit Summer Smith
Designer: Park Youn Soo (박윤수)
Where to Find: Big Park Showroom in Gangnam-gu
Park Youn Soo is an influential designer who majored in business and has worked in the Korean fashion industry for over 25 years. After many seasons of success with his signature line, Park Youn Soo, he decided to venture out by launching a fresh new label called Big Park, in 2012. His main goal for Big Park was to create something spirited and playful while carrying forward his signature elements of precision and tailoring from Park Youn Soo.
Youn Soo’s own daughters play a big part in the development of Big Park’s captivating visual elements. For the featured SS15 women’s wear collection titled Wish You Were Here, abstract paintings and childhood memories of countryside travels served as inspiration. The collection features biker jackets adorned with adorable images of bunny rabbits and pastures that exemplify the 'sweet but street' sentiments that the brand carries.
Big Park has achieved popularity amongst the younger generation through the virtue of being adventurous yet wearable. This is evident by the attention it has received from Hallyu stars and has been worn by idols like EXID’s Hani and Super Junior’s Heechul on fashion program "A Style for You." Items from the "Wish You Were Here" collection recently appeared in the Global Fashion Capitals exhibit at New York City’s Fashion Institute of Technology. Big Park’s first pop up store event in Gangnam concluded on June 7th, which included some limited edition pieces shown in Primary’s "Mannequin" MV.
At 21 years old, Kathleen Hanhee Kye was the first contestant to go home in Project Runway Korea’s 2008 debut season. It was only a minor setback since her label KYE has become one of the most recognizable Korean designer labels in recent history. In 2011, Kathleen debuted KYE as she graduated with an MA in Menswear Design from London’s Central St. Martins.
In the featured FW15 collection, Jackpot, KYE beckons the symbols of luck in her patterns and adornments. KYE’s innovative designs often have exaggerated proportions and silhouettes along with the use of bold patterns which resonate with trendsetters such as R&B crooner Zion.T, who reps pieces from the latest collection in Yankie’s “Sold Out” music video.
KYE has been stocked in global boutiques like Vfiles and Opening Ceremony and has been sported by foreign celebrities like American singer, Rihanna. The recent collaboration between KYE and Korean boutique Beaker also shows the label gaining in recognition right at home. In an interview in 2014 with The WILD, Kathleen had hoped that KYE would become an international brand. Based on the global recognition she has been collecting, it is clear that she is well on her way to achieving this dream.
Grace Jo originally studied Classical Music Composition at Ewha Woman’s University, but her trajectory changed after a semester abroad in New York City. Upon returning to Korea, she transferred to the Samsung Art and Design Institute ,where she graduated in 2009 with a degree in Fashion Design. In 2011, she furthered her education at Academie Internationale Coupe de Paris.
Bourie’s latest FW15 collection was the label’s first appearance at Seoul Fashion Week. The collection’s concept explores moments of finding light in darkness. Grace Jo intends for Bourie to continuously show contradictions and this is seen in the standout FW15 pieces - her construction experiments with proportions using dual lengths, tones and styles.
On June 5th, she hosted Bourie’s first Open Showroom Day at her Sinsa-dong office. Her handbag collection, FEUTRÉ PAR BOURIE, is currently available on the online boutiques Series and ÅLAND. The future looks bright for Grace as Bourie is slated to show at upcoming Paris and New York Fashion Weeks in the 2016 seasons.
For more on the designer, follow Madame Grace on Instagram.
Steve Jung and Yoni Pai met in Korea and decided to set off to London together in order to study and launch a fashion brand. Steve Jung was the first Asian student to graduate with honors from the Menswear MA program at Central St. Martins. Yoni Pai graduated with a BA in Fashion Womenswear from the London College of Fashion. After returning to Korea they launched contemporary womenswear label Steve J & Yoni P in 2006.
The featured SS15 collection, Reborn: 21st Century Renaissance, mixed antique statue imagery with modern graffiti. Their collections always showcase quirky concepts through the use of playful prints and color. Steve J and Yoni P’s own public personas match their brand’s bright and bubbly identity.
Loyal supporters of the brand are, among others, pop star Lee Hyori and actress Gong Hyojin. In addition to sitting front row at all of the Seoul Collection runway presentations, they have held special events in collaboration with the brand. K-pop darling, Miss A’s Suzy, also modeled pieces from the SS15 Reborn Collection in the May 2015 edition of Korea’s Dazed magazine. The designers have also teamed up with CéCi magazine to produce a trendy umbrella printed with their popular “leaf” pattern, perfect for the summer and set to release July 2015. The brand has also captivated international markets through global boutiques like ShopStyle, and Net-A-Porter.
Andee Kang, born Kang Seongdo in 1984, studied Fashion Design at New York City’s Parsons School of Design. Upon returning to Korea, he participated in Project Runway Korea’s 2012 season, placing 6th. He was well liked and given the nickname "Saint Seongdo" because of his calm demeanor and his perseverance despite a hearing disability.
Following his Project Runway appearance, Andee Kang launched a slew of successful fashion ventures. In 2012. he launched Lovcat by Andee Kang, an accessories brand, Saint Jardin, a women’s shoe brand, and Re:Code, an upcycling brand. Finally in 2014, he launched Exclusive Seoul with the objective of showcasing androgynous aesthetics. Andee’s design inspiration for Exclusive Seoul comes from observing the convergence of global youth cultures.
In a 2014 interview with Awesome Groove, Andee expressed that by 2016, he hopes to have participated in Seoul Fashion Week’s emerging designer showcase, Generation Next, and in New York Fashion Week’s Concept Korea. Though he has yet to show at Seoul Fashion Week, Andee’s designs can be found in several Korean online boutiques such as W Concept, BUND, and Knocking On.