Jongho Kim
on behalf of the design team: Minjoon KIM, Jisang PARK, Seoyoung BAEK
Hansung University Design and Art Institute, Korea

Be Covered with Mystique

Emerging Fashion Designer of the Year 2020

Until the early modern era, under the influence of Confucianism it was taboo in Korea that the body silhouette of a female was visible. With this perspective and the current influence of the pandemic in the modern era, these days, when direct interaction with people is limited due to the corona outbreak, we gained similarity in the way that each other is covered.

Despite being hidden and not exposed, the grace of being obscured is maximized by the mystery of the ‘hanbok’(Korean traditional clothes). Introducing ‘hanbok’ that has to be hidden and the modern appearance that cannot but be hidden.

View the Winning Entry by Jongho Kim

What kind of questions do you ask before beginning a design project?

The very first question I ask is whether the work can reflect the social contexts of current time. The designs are only as useful as their abilities to recreate and represent the current social phenomena. It is imperative that these are met before creative ideas are pulled in together. In addition, I think that philosophical ideas are detrimental in designing. Designs without any philosophical agenda would simply remain as commercial products. It is only when the designs encapsulate the philosophical ideas that they can truly touch people’s emotions.

What kind of culture or structure needs to exist to foster successful team collaboration?

It requires a culture where the opinions of individuals are accepted based on clear objectives and disciplines. A presence of a strong leadership is also essential, who would decisively remove any obstacles that are deemed a waste of time or energy for the team. Therefore, decisiveness and acceptance, disciplines and purposes have been the essential factors for the team to be successful.

What are you working on, what is in the pipeline for you?

I am currently preparing to transfer to Japanese corporates as I have been interested in learning to work with technologies and materials explicitly produced in Japan. After that, I would like to create a brand that can provide a shift in paradigm for the fashion industry.

What I am passionate about is combining subcultures, especially the niche genres, with fashion. Products based on niche genres not only tend to have loyal bases, but they also have little competitors in the fashion industry, allowing more robust brands to be fostered.

What would be your dream design project?

I want to try a men’s collection by unraveling our beautiful tradition with a new modern perspective. The goal is to show that men’s clothing is never like that for people who think it is boring and ordinary.

The mix of old and modern always seems to show interesting results not only in clothes but also in everything else. Since I have been interested in two mixes since I was young, I want to try a new version again.

I still have so much to learn now, but I want to try it if I have a chance after learning enough.

Where do you get motivation and inspiration from for your work?

I think I usually get inspiration from my daily life. I like painting, so there are many times when I start designing from it, but when I want a new design, I get inspiration from the things I’ve encountered while living in a photo book, exhibition, or daily life.

I start with these inspirations and get motivated by doing all the processes myself. It is because I am happy to gain knowledge through all the processes and to feel a sense of accomplishment that I have done it myself. I think I work harder because I think I should be satisfied with myself.

What do you see as the strengths of your winning project and what does this award mean to you personally?

It might seem like we just tried to simply modernize Korean traditional clothes, but when you see in detail, it shows the situation of these days in fresh and trendy way and I think that is why we won.

From this award, it was a pleasure that we could get a chance to show the fashion culture of Korea globally. Also, this experience has been a big driving force in my fashion philosophy.

How do you decide to take on certain projects?

I always enjoy challenging life and feel a sense of accomplishment when I succeed. The same goes for this project. Before I graduated, I wanted to try to stretch to a wider stage and we proved we could do it. We sometimes got tired and we thought deeply about the design. But we were able to do it through individual team effort and teamwork.

What was most important for you when planning the project and what were the biggest challenges you faced?

I think the most important task was to illustrate the beauty of our traditional clothes in the present time, and to create a new design by connecting Covid19 with the big issue in 2020.

There were some difficulties in setting the concept and making the story, but I worked with the team, so we ended up with no big problems.

How do you think your own culture and environment has shaped your personal and professional creative vision?

Korea is a country that has continued its delicate and beautiful traditional culture. Also, Korea is a country with a strong passion for education and a highly competitive spirit.

Therefore, I also studied a lot about our culture and I think I was very strict with myself so that I could not fall behind my friends who have the same dream and study together.

I think it was a result of all my actions that I tried to develop and grow in such an environment that made me who I am now. I am proud that I am Korean and I love various cultures of Korea.

I think the traditional culture of our country is really beautiful. So, as a person who dreams of becoming a designer, I had a strong desire to create a new design that melds our cultures, I think I can have this idea because I grew up in the experience of Korean culture.

What’s your creative process and what creative software do you use?

I try to get ideas from my experience or memory when I set a concept or story about design. I always get ideas from a scene in the movie, a verse of a song, or a street view of the house, people passing by, etc., but what I always see and hear is different depending on my emotional state and perspective.