During MB Fashion Week in NYC I had the chance to see her work and appreciate her talent and whimsical, magical approach to fashion. Now I can share her fashionable vision with you through a very interesting interview. Ladies and Gentlemen… this is Son Jung Wan, one of the most important Korean designers of our times!
F: What’s your relationship with fabrics? Do you try to take advantage of their qualities or to tame them and transform them into something else?
SJW: I think a fashion designer has similar elements to a chef, fabric is the ingredient and we are chefs. With the fresh ingredients, we mix, combine, cut, and interpret them at our atelier.
F: Which elements helped you during the last two decades becoming one of the most important Korean designers in the market?
SJW: For the last two decades, I tried to keep my identity, feminine, romantic, and elegant. They are the strongest elements of my collections. I attempt various and dynamic alterations in the bound in each season. If I lose these elements, Son Jung Wan will not exist anymore.
F: This September during the MB Fashion Week in NYC you had your own catwalk show as well as a participation at the Concept Korea presentation with standing models. Can you tell us a few things about this marvelous double presence at Lincoln Center?
SJW: I’m so lucky that I can have two big events in one week. It’s like killing two birds in one stone! In the concept Korea, I can present my self as one of the Korean designers. It’s a good thing that makes me proud of being a Korean designer. As a group, we can let people know about Korea and our full talent. On the other hand, I can introduce my aesthetic and ability as fashion designer with my collection. In the collection, people think about me only as fashion designer not a certain nationality and race. It was a really good opportunity to present myself in both ways.
F: Which is the inspiration behind your Fall/Winter 2011 and Spring/Summer 2012 respectively?
SJW: For 2012 S/S collection, traveling to Capri was the inspiration. Their fresh atmosphere, environment, and beautiful landscape were totally enough to inspire me.
And for the 2011 F/W collection, I was interested in two opposite characteristics, lightness and heaviness. I mixed up two contrasting elements in one garment and it was a successful collection.
SJW: In these days, designers don’t care about trends very much. Their creativity is the trend in itself. I’m also one of the designers that are not stressed about trends. Also, uniqueness is very important. It expressed my creativity and characteristics in the collection. It’s important to know and catch trends and “IT” items. But if a woman has her own distinctive style, then that’s her uniqueness.
F: Do you see your looks as works of art or wearable pieces that respond to every day practical needs?
SJW: I think my pieces aim to be something between works of art and wearable pieces. It’s important to keep both ways and apply to everyday look. If only wearable pieces existed, people wouldn’t go crazy about designers. But as they want uniqueness, designers instill their artistic point of view in the garment.
SJW: Totally yes! I like combining different items in one look. When I create a look, I try to find what the best combination is.
F: Which are your favorite colors and embellishments for elegant Holiday looks?
SJW: I can’t pick only one color, I love all the colors that exist in the world! Depending on each season, my favorite colors have changed. But for the holiday look, I love sequin dresses with fur trimming hem! Sequin dresses express a sexy mood. With it, I like to add lace and fur trimming and it shows a romantic, elegant, and sexy mood at the same time.
F: Which type of woman and/or style icon do you have in mind when you are in the process of creating a collection?
SJW: I love Mary Quant. She is the icon of 60s and created extreme looks and styles at the time. She understood the characteristics of fabric and interpreted them to her own style. I respect her creativity and sense of style.
F: Which fashion designers have influenced your work throughout the years?
SJW: I love Givenchy! Especially I’m so addicted to the movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” All the looks Audrey Hepburn wore in the movie, they inspired me aesthetically and design wise.
F: I realized – both at the Concept Korea and at your personal show – that Korean people have a very distinctive, avant-garde and sophisticated style as well approach to fashion. Can you describe it in your own words? (I came across some very impressive looks both among the models and the Korean guests).
SJW: Korean people are very sensitive to trends and fashion and they like to find out their own style and distinctive point. Also, many Koreans are not afraid to wear experimental and unique clothes, therefore, they love to wear avant-garde and sophisticated styles which are very distinctive compared to other people.