This project is inspired by the unconventional , talented beauties during old times in Korea, called ‘gisaengs’ . The history of Gisaengs started around the year 576 , as dancers and singers who performed during important ceremonies in the palace . The collection is portraying ‘oriental sensuality’ , looking understated and elegant at the first sight , but indeed very provocative . Unlike their counterparts in western hemisphere , gisaengs were pictured as shy and good-mannered , but the portraits depict their seducing eyes , always appealing to sexual imaginations suggested by a white sock sneaking out of the voluminous skirt or subtly revealed parts of underwear .
In cultural context , gisaeng is equivalent for hostess in the old times in Korea . Although they were present since 576 ( Shilla Dynasty ) , nowadays people specifically refer the term to those from 1700 - 1800 ‘s ( late Chosun Dynasty ) . During Chosun Dynasty (1392 - 1910) , gisaengs were raised in the specialist institution called ‘Gyobang’ from the age of eight to nine , then began their education when they turned 12 . Although they served alcohols and were subject to prostitution , gisaengs were perfomrning artists , and were sometimes accompanied to political and scholastic conversations .
Some gisaengs were chosen among slaves , while others were sold to the gisaeng-jip because of their fathers’ crime or debts . Some girls volunteered to become gisaengs to be taught various types of art , since any kind of performing arts were not allowed to women other than gisaengs . In contrast , upper class women were taught literature , sewing and embroidery instead of singing or dancing . They hardly went out , and if they needed to , they covered their face and were carried by sedan chairs . During Chosun Dynasty , women from higher class often got married in their early teens by her family’s will .
I am often more inspired by things from the past . For example , craftmanship passed down for generations , history and art history , ladies in the past , old fabrics and papers , or scenes from old paintings . This is what led me examine excavated costumes that were buried with dead bodies , looking like as if the costumes themselves are embracing the owner’s personal history . The exhibition of excavated costumes that I went to with my grandmother when I was 16 , at Seoul Museum of History , remained in my mind for many years . I was so impressed by the beauty of old Korean costumes , and the texture of the fabrics that were aged and discoloured during hundreds of years spent underground . From a visit to Seok Ju-seon Memorial Museum which specialises in excavated costumes , I started to trace the stories of women in the past , including the last princess Deokhye , and the most renowned femme fatale Hwang Jeenie . The tales of gisaengs were all about flirting and unbelievably interesting episodes , triggering the pistol of my imagination . There are many visual sources depicting gisaengs as well , since they were only women who were allowed to be exposed to men other than their husbands .
Although they were often sexual subject for men and belonged to the lowest social level , it is clear that gisaengs were talented artists who were passed on the traditional performing arts skills and were closely accompanied by the most significant figures of the past . Most of all , they were ordinary girls and women behind all the judgements and rumors .
My concept is to create a range of shoes bearing the story of a girl who likes to sing and dance , obssessed with pretty outfits and always longing for someone whom she is not allowed to see again . The shoes are not going to be symbols of lust but an old page of the talented girl’s diary . Rather than chosing brighter colours , I will focus on the natural properties of the material in softer tones and monochrome shades . Suiting fabric is also going to be used - gisaengs must have wished they were born in men in their after life , not exploited because of their social status and have more power and freedom .
H u r t / H e a r t
This project was focused on physical / psychological struggles against pain . Titled ' Hurt / Heart ' , as in two different vocabularies signifying two separate meanings but somehow make us think external / internal beings of human , closely linked to each other .
Research was taken starting from the history and structures of braces , the devices used to modify deformed body for medical purposes - to pictures of injuries , ancient tales about ' heart ' , and so on .
The shoes are made mainly from vegetable tan leather using wet-mould technique . Surfaces of the shoes are padded with cosmetics for texture , and the heels are carefully hand-carven from wood .
Fashion has always been accused of animal cruelty.
Now that people are talking about "sustainable fashion", they are aware how animals are killed to make a piece of mink coat , a pair of pony hair shoes , etc .
My initial idea for this challenge was to use wood , quilted fabric and hemp cloth for a pair of winter shoes that resembles an animal species called 'okapi' . Padded fabric is a nostalgic material that had warmed up our cold winters without any sacrifices of animals .
The final piece is produced using 3D printer , according to my original drawings from characteristics of okapi, and natural water flow generated by computer . The delicacy of the piece reminds us how fragile animal lives can be because of human forces .
The project was inspired by British pop star , Florence Welch . Now famous for her dark beauty , she showed her interests for terror and doom since her childhood . Welch quotes ' The Lady of Shalott meets Ophelia ... mixed with scary gothic bat lady ' as her stage fashion muse . She also mentioned 1970s American drag queen troupe Cocketts , French singer Francoise Hardy and rock singer Stevie Nicks as her fashion mentors .
Using goat fur and antelope horns , the shoes are almost implying dark magic , as if they are ingredients from a witch's pot . Different shades of white / beige makes contrasts to the dark images of a witch , adding sophisticated nature to the character .
Camper Project - Miro the Sculptor
Looking at Miro’s Sculptures at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, I was very impressed by his bronze sculptures. Unlike the bright colours of his paintings, the deep turquoise-like colour of metal, bearing some copper colour inside, looked very subtle yet powerful. Miro used method of bronze casting frequently, directly from the random objects he has found on the street. So the shapes are simple but harmonious among themselves.
Camper is a footwear brand famous for its comfortable shoes in its own style. My designs for Camper have comfortable mid-high ebony heels, curved towards inside for a little twist while reflecting Personnage bronze sculptures. Nubuck and suede are used for matte finish and more toned-down atmosphere, not trying to stand out too much, just like how Camper appeals to customers. The colour palette came out from the varied shade of bronze, and the back zipper puller is designed from the motifs of Personnage sculptures, looking like human figures.
I also tried to emphasise the 3D effect Miro's sculpture has, by cutting out surfaces in the shape of the round body, foliaceous holes, and random drawings he has often engraved on the pieces. Some of the parts are rolled inwards and hand-stitched partially, to reflect Miro’s image of Femme.
The leather experimentations represent my impressions looking at either the surface or the motifs of the works. The first experimentation for dyeing has produced a range of colours from bronze pieces. The wrinkled quality also gives the feelings of irony, looking rough but smooth in touch. Miro has repeatedly used the motifs of star, eye, holes, crescent, water drops, etc. I re-organised the elements to create a stensil, and applied them on leather to create embossings. They could be utilised as patterns for accessories, printed or engraved on the shoes (on places such as heels or toes), or even on the insole or lining.
SJSJ is one of the main brands of HANDSOME . The brand is renowned for its feminine / romantic teenage-girl mood , and our team was commissioned for designing a range of accessories to upgrade SJSJ style .
This is the proposal I have suggested , fun/tastic + sporty + lovely mood ! Looking at fashion stars who are famous for their playful mix-and-match look , I added up with neon / candy-like colour palette and current need for fun and sporty items .