Saturday 26th June

| BY Paul Toner

10 Picks of Paris: Wooyoungmi is Our Next Designer to Meet

After the global Covid-19 outbreak forced all menswear shows to be cancelled early last summer, a rescheduled and fully digitalised Paris Fashion Week Men’s, July 2020, was to be the guinea pig of what is now considered the new normal in our industry. Five days of solely URL fashions – where the kitchen table became the new front row and ticket-less shows democratised the catwalk – showcased the city’s menswear talent to an entirely new audience. Digital fashion week meant these designers were now operating on a global stage. The possibilities were limitless.

We’ve picked the Paris menswear designers who have taken virtual fashion in their stride, who have defied convention and used this state of flux to tear out pages from the rulebook and completely rewrite it. Each has made navigating this strange, on-screen fashion world we now reside in all that more exciting. Long live these digital shapeshifters.

“Romantic, bohemian, androgynous.” These are three adjectives Woo Youngmi uses to describe Wooyoungmi: the in-the-know cool label she founded in 2002. Born in South Korea, yet shown in Paris since the beginning, her brand specialises in louche tailoring, using the widely genderless approach to dressing that’s seen on the streets of Seoul as constant inspiration.

Now designing each collection with her daughter, Katie Chung, Woo finds harmony in combining rugged masculinity with feminine flourishes. This season saw the brand swap the catwalk for a “virtual dance of unity”, where a splendidly dressed gang of guys and girls came together for an experimental dance performance involving backbends, expressive hand gestures and the occasional book balancing on heads. They came in boxy suits and cracking denim in enlarged proportions, offering enough room to bust out the cha cha slide if the wearer pleased.

Please talk us through your SS21 collection.

“Due to Covid-19, when travel was banned, isolation began around the world and global ‘stops’ began, I felt it was time to take ‘things’ out of fashion. I felt that fashion had so far been bent on creating something that was most stimulating and most noticeable through all possible channels, but now it’s time to get rid of them and look at the basics again. I tried to get rid of loudness and too-much-ness but kept Wooyoungmi’s silhouette and tailoring.”

What one thing would you say your home country does better than anywhere else?

“I can say with confidence that Generation Z in Seoul has good taste in fashion and great energy and inspirations for fashion.”

What’s the best thing about showing in Paris?

“I think people in Paris are attentive to young and new things. So I would like to say [the people of] Paris are open-minded. They have recognition of diversity.”

What’s your take on digital fashion weeks?

“In my opinion, a physical show is the best method to fully concentrate on a collection.”

Portrait by Hyun Woo Min. Taken from Issue 53 of 10 Men – NO PLACE, LIKE, HOME – order your copy here. 

wooyoungmi.com