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Boundary pushing is at the centre of the Wooyoungmi man

The power of self-invention
Seoul-based label, Wooyoungmi is known for detail-orientated menswear, often with a futuristic edge. We speak with Creative Director Katie Chung on the current collection and how the brand maintains its boundary pushing agenda as well as its respect for high quality craftsmanship...

What made you want to become a fashion designer?

My mother – who is a fashion designer herself and is the founder of Wooyoungmi. My mother was inspired by my grandfather, so the family has been a huge influence on me in this respect. 

What has changed the most in the past since you’ve been designing?

Wooyoungmi has a softer and younger feel in comparison to its previous collections. There’s more romance.

Who is the Wooyoungmi man?

The Wooyoungmi man lives a lifestyle unique to him. His style is unusual and he is sensitive to his surroundings. He is a free spirited, similar to an artist in his mind-set. He is constantly in search of the beautiful, and reflects on what that means.

What motivated you to start your own label?

It was my mother, Madame Woo, who started the brand. Since joining as Creative Director, I’ve worked towards evolving the collections in a different direction, and I feel you can tell that there’s a new vision taking place at the heart of the brand. However, I always want to stay true to the identity of the brand, it carries very unique DNA.

What is the ultimate signature style of the brand?

At the moment, it’s all about the elegant oversized coat, worn over a beautiful frilled shirt. We are also known for our trousers. They are very well cut. 

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What is the best part of your job?

Being consistently challenged and questioned. I’m always so inspired, and having the opportunity to express this in my work is amazing.

What inspires you as a designer to be strong every season?

The work of the British Writer Virginia Woolf is a huge source of inspiration and strength for me. Similarly to her, I have always been fascinated by the social construct of gender, where the line between the masculine and feminine sits, and what that nuanced area is in between the two.

Your favourite star?

Tilda Swinton in the film Orlando.

What is your vision for the brand today?

To continue creating pieces that draw out the delicate and the soft side that exists within men.

How do you keep your ideas and the creative dialogue fresh?

By doing things that have nothing to do with fashion! Diving, bowling and swimming are my go-to for re-energising myself. As long as I have energy, I can create new ideas.

How would you describe the style of Wooyoungmi?  

Nonchalant but sensitive, and delicate. The designs are non-conformist, disruptive but at the same time traditional. 

What are your favorite colours ?

Dark blue and navy.

Your favourite fabrics?

Felt, especially the type that can be split.

What does luxury mean today?

Luxury means personal, individual, and it insinuates the highest possible level of quality and craft.

What about your new collection trends, vision and inspirations? 

I want to present a beautiful collection that remains artistic but has glamour. Perhaps a more glamorous take on romance.

What do you think about Middle Eastern markets?

It’s is a very important market for us, which we must make sure to keep focusing on. I have great expectations for us in this market.

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