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Korean designer goes Free.Radical.

A Friday evening in London in autumn. The pubs are packed, people drinking their pints and large glasses of wine, relaxed chit chat – a smooth start to the weekend ahead and I was waiting fort the Korean fashion designer Chloe. I made myself at home in a massive armchair at Dover Street Market on the first floor and there were three times as many shop assistants as there were costumers, periodically harassing me whether they could show me something. I kindly but firmly declined each and every time, just eyeing over to the pretty leather ware and nice shirts- items I could not even afford, if they were on sale.

Finally she turns up and by the look on her face, I could tell that it was the sort of late, when the weather, the tube and the whole world seems to have turned against oneself. Chloe, between juggling her fashion label, a day job and moving house, squeezed in this interview and we both came quickly to the agreement that we rather have a ‘real’ drink instead of coffee and went gladly to the next pub…

The first thing which has to be clarified here is, that Chloe is not her given name, but a name she took on to accommodate the laziness by Westerners to remember Asian names. Her real name is Doh-Young Kim and let’s agree… it is not that hard to remember! Doh-Young studied fashion design in Korea and after working a few years as a design assistant for Levi’s she decided to do a Masters in the UK. This year she graduated, based on her successful degree she was sent as a representative to the Paris fashion week by the Korean government, to represent Korea. Also at last years fashion week, where she introduced her fresh and new label Free.Radical., she met the people behind NEEMIC.

My first question was, whether she sees her clothes in the context of a rather international style or whether they have something specifically Asian or Korean.
She replied: “Well,especially Scandinavian labels have a very strong influence on nowadays fashion, and many trends often emerge from there. However, if you look at traditional Korean dresses, they are very simple and clean cut as well and there are hardly any patterns involved – so… I think that in their simplicity my clothes have something very Korean about them.”

She went on, that she only designs clothes she also would like to wear herself. In general she avoids clothes, which are too tight or to revealing and creates slick, clean cut and elegant pieces, which can be worn for any occasion, what is the purpose of so many women in our urban and globalised world. Further to that, just over her dead body will ever be an animal print in any of her garments! She states: “As trendy as it might be, I just hate it!” and gives me a sly grin.
In general she describes the fashion and it’s future in a very mater-of-fact way. She strongly hopes that the new trends will be material, sustainability and fair-trade in the fashion industry and less of a fashion craze season after season, moving away from consumerism to quality. Having stated that, she pauses and adds: “…but there is still a long way to go to change peoples behaviour, but labels like NEEMIC make the first steps in this direction.”

My last question was, what piece of advice she would give a young fashion designer at in his or her first year at fashion school. “Read, listen to music, go to exhibitions, keep your eyes peeled for social issues and current affairs… You will find inspiration everywhere, but don’t read fashion magazines!”

Following some designs of Chloe for NEEMiC:

Posted by Daivd at November 7th, 2011 


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