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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Q&A with men's designer Juun J., Seoul's answer to Hedi Slimane (circa Dior Homme), by Virginia Jackson-Reed...

The Seoul fashion scene has yet to reach the level of global notoriety of cities like New York and Tokyo. Why do you think that is?
You're right, there isn’t a designer in South Korea who reaches that level, but the Korea fashion scene has just begun. I, too, have just begun.

Your Lone Costume line has garnered comparisons with Dior Homme and Raf Simons. Would you say this is fair, and in what ways do you stand apart?
Although I now have my collections in Paris, I had my first collection in Korea in 2000. I showed were very slim suits. I think that's why I'm compared with these two labels. But my first collection in Paris was totally different. The silhouettes may still be similar, but I guess the origin of design is different.



Early on, Lone Costume had a womenswear component. Why did you stop?
Actually, there's never been womenswear in my collections. However, I used to let the female models wear men’s outfits or make a little bit of women's just for the men's show. At present, my women clients wear small sizes of my Juun. J men's collection.

Your line balances both refinement and edge. How do you achieve this?
Before I started my own line, I worked at other brands for ten years. I worked hard to bring out the true spirit of those brands rather than always creating something new. It was a great experience for me and I have a firm belief that fashion is an art and a business at the same time.

You've collaborated with English artist Simon Henwood and Japanese artist Nuts several times. What draws you to their work?
I’m a big fan of these artists, especially Simon. My inspirations are from people always. And as you know, Simon draws the “Real People.”

Trench coats are a recurring theme. Are they your signature?
I love trench coats a lot. When you are styling with a trench coat, all the other items have to be very simple as it has a fairly unique presence by itself.

What three things would you say sum up the vibe of your label?
Trench coat, structural transformation and novelty.

Who best embodies your aesthetic and why?
Ironically, my muse is Charlotte Gainsbourg. Her tomboy image is very attractive and has strong power in it.

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