ABOUT GAYEON LEE.
Born in Seoul, South Korea, Gayeon Lee is a womenswear designer who completed the acclaimed Fashion MA course at Central Saint Martin’s college in 2013. This was following her graduation in BA in Textile Art & Fashion Design, which she studied at the Hong-Ik University in Seoul, Korea.
Her interest in fine art has provided a firm basis of aesthetics in fashion. During her MA at CSM she focused on womenswear fashion design at a more creative and specialized level by experimenting with different methods and approaches within fashion design to create her own identity as a designer.
She gained great exposure with her graduation collection, in which her pieces featured in various magazines and press medias.
In addition the iconic pop-artist Lady Gaga rented out 8 outfits of her MA collection, and wore one whilst promoting her new album in New York in 2013. Having worked in London and New York for several luxury labels, Gayeon has valuable experiences and great knowledge of the luxury market, which has benefited the launched of her own label GAYEON LEE in 2014.
Lady Gaga wearing Gayeon Lee.
She defines her brand like “a luxury womenswear label that suggests a sophisticated simplicity for confident women” and it’s easy to see reflected Gayeon’s passion for arts and crafts or artisanal elements in each collection. It enhances the delicate finish in all her sophisticated pieces.
For example, the Autumn Winter 2015 it’s all about shapes, textures and proportions. The full collection was inspired by a book “Impossible Reminiscences” by Swiss photographer René Burri, and I love the way designs get Asymmetrical with combinations of different materials and textures like knit and color-blocking elements.
In special I love the wave shapes in contrast with the clean tailoring showcased in all her collection. It looks very sophisticated yet very feminine and soft.
INTERVIEW WITH GAYEON LEE
Thanks for the interview. I feel truly blessed to interview you because I follow and love your work since long time ago.
- I want to start the interview speaking about your background. Korea is becoming a giant of fashion nowadays and I am already used to read news like “Korean fashion giant taps Hong Kong market”, to be honest I am in love with Korean Culture. (I have to confess). What do you think it’s the biggest difference between Asian and European market?
The Asian market has been showing massive growth in the past few years, when I think about the strength of the Asian market from a designer’s point of view, there is an easier and cheaper access to the material and production. Whereas the famous European fashion brands have the history and rich cultural background. My studio is currently based in Korea but I am concentrating on business overseas too, mainly in Europe. This increases the possibility to make contacts with international buyers in pursuance of presenting the collection that will lead to economic support and improvement in quality of the collection.
There are many talented upcoming designers from Asian countries. When we look at LFW designer showroom or Fashion Scout supported award, there is a large portion of designers from Asian countries like Korea, Japan and China.
- Since “Concept Korea” Fashion lovers are meeting a new concept of fashion, effortlessly on-trend, very different than what we are used to. Can you name 3 designers from your country we shouldn’t miss the track?
It’s hard to name a few, but I would pick J JS Lee, Moonsoo Kwon and Edeline lee.
- Which designers(Brand) has been the biggest influence on you?
Roberto Capucci, Raf Simons, Marni!
- Who is your desired target?
A confident women who knows what they want, they enjoy dressing for themselves, not for anyone else, and enjoy expressing their fruitful life styles by dressing up.
- What’s the best you learnt after in London and New York for several luxury labels?
It was inspiring to work with renowned designers in fashion houses. They were passionate about what they do and never get frustrated by small errors. They are always looking at new things, and interested in the whole world. I have worked with so many talented designers from various backgrounds, and this was one of the most valuable, to work in an internationally renowned company. I think only strong, diligent and fast workers can survive in the modern fashion industry especially when you are in a collection design team.
- What’s the happiest memory you have about launch your first collection. And the hardest?
I was really happy when I shipped the first order after completing production of SS15 collection in December 2014, it means a lot that someone loves what I created and spend their hard-earned money for purchasing my collection. Hard times come more often than happy moments when the communication with manufacture or a fabric company goes wrong, always struggling to meet with deadlines, but all the efforts are paid off when the collection is finally released to the world and I hear good feedback from people all over the world.
- In your overview you said Modern art continues to be a source of inspiration for AW15/16, also I read your full collection was inspired by a book “Impossible Reminiscences” by Swiss photographer René Burri, what else inspires Gayeon Lee?
My inspirations come from all sorts of different things. A scene in a film, fashion designers of various decades, my own dreams, paintings or sculptures, a page of 50-60’s L’officiel and Vogue. The recent AW15 collection, I was inspired by the photography by Rene Burri and his colour expression, also Mark Rothko’s subtle use of colour. I love paying attention to details; use of different trimmings and frayed edge gives soft touch for the structural silhouette.
- I loved the details playing in every of your designs. In special I am a fan of patchwork and mixing fabrics, how did you started working in this technique?
I love collages! I do the sketches and illustrations in this way for each collection, this is based on mixing different materials and applying this aesthetics onto clothing. I found the beauty in playful details and sophisticated and refined use of various fabrics. I believe the attention to details make a huge differences to my pieces from fast fashion.
- Did you pick your fabrics by yourself?
Yes, I always do, fabric changes the mood of the look totally so it’s a really important part of design process. I go to the fabric market or contact fabric agencies to get samples. I also go to Premiere Vision to see the innovative fabrics from all over the world.
- The concept of empower women plays a strong role in your collections. Have you got any muse who inspires you this concept?
I love Diane keaton’s look in a film Annie Hall, her androgynous way of dressing and confident expressions, for love is rather femininely attractive as a women. I also get inspired by how a ‘woman’ dresses and expresses her life through their clothing. Inspiring a theme that women should dress not for men, nor even for other women, but for themselves.
- Now let’s focus in the future, what piece of advice would you give a young designer who just graduated from college?
I am still a young designer I would say, but I would recommend for a graduate to gain working experiences as much as they can. If you would like to build a label, you should know and experience how the real industry works, it’s not only about design but there are also other huge parts to learn.
- To close this interview…there is a difficult question, we always ask to every designer… What does Fashion means to you?
I initially loved two things, dressing up and drawing. My mum loved dressing me up with all the pretty clothes when I was a little girl, so fashion has always been around me. Gabrielle Coco Chanel`s quote ‘A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.’ had a big impact on how I think as well as my own strategy for design. Fashion makes a women’s life shine and I feel blessed to be a woman.
Thank you, Gayeon. From OnlyDopeFashion we will keep supporting you and following your work.