Despite missing out on watching this year's crop of talented LCF BA graduates showcase their collections on the catwalk, I'm keen not to overlook them. Thanks to the backstage images we've already featured and for the students informative Showtime pages, my appetite to learn more about this exciting bunch has certainly been whet. As ever, the menswear is a real highlight. In recent years we've been introduced to the likes of Baartmans & Siegel and Asger Juel Larsen and I'm certain that there are a few similar stars in the making here. Sungkyun Yuk could well be one.
Entitled 'Arise, shine, for your light has come' Yuk's final collection documents the process of design development and transition of various staples of formal menswear. Inspired by an insects metamorphosis this is a collection that narrates its own story. With each design, more function and complexity are added in a measured way. With anatomical exploration at its core, Yuk offers a structural inquiry into the articulation of the human body, and its direct relationship with clothing. Influenced by Aitor Throup's approach to design, this young design talent is keen on creating garments that mirror the movement of the body. Before we take a look at the collection itself and speak with the graduate about their work, Yuk offers a glimpse inside of her sketchbook...
The metamorphosis of a collection as documented by Sungkyun Yuk's sketchbook.
For menswear to constantly evolve, it needs designers like Sungkun Yuk who approach the design process in a different way. Designers who experiment. Who push textiles and techniques in new directions and challenge the typical and accepted way of how garments should be made. Here we talk with the designer to learn more about the collection and processes behind it...
SS: Congratulations on the show! How did it feel seeing your finished designs on the catwalk?
Sungkyun Yuk: I couldn't see well because I was backstage. However, I did see a selection of photos that my friends took. I'm very happy with my final collection anyhow.
SS: What attracted you to the LCF BA course in particular?
Sungkyun Yuk: During my Foundation course, my tutor at the time suggested that I apply to the LCF. She said that LCF is the best for menswear in the UK.
At the time, I did not mind where I went, I just wanted to study fashion at a good college.
SS: What was the Best thing about your course?
Sungkyun Yuk: Tom Adams, our head tutor, let me do whatever I wanted and was extremely supportive. He approved of my originality and allowed me to get on with it. Also, I met amazing friends whilst I studying.
SS: Describe the moment you realized you wanted to be a menswear designer?
Sungkyun Yuk: I never imagined that I want to be a fashion designer before I was twenty two years old. Prior to menswear design, I studied Bio-Technology but in the end I lost interest and needed a change.
I tried to look for something that I could enjoy eternally. The answer was "clothes". Ever since I was a child, I loved clothes and shopping. However, one day I realized that it is hard to find the clothes that I wanted to wear. The simple solution was to make the clothes I wanted. This made me study fashion.
SS: Entitled 'Arise, shine, for your light has come', the collection takes its inspiration from a bug's metamorphosis. What attracted you to this idea?
Sungkyun Yuk: For me, clothes are the second skin and an extension of the body. Fashion for human beings is the same as a shell, unique features and beautiful colours which can help distinguish us from others, from creatures such as bugs. In essence, garments protect body from external dangers and replenish people aesthetically. Furthermore, they provide people with the opportunity to express their individuality through styling.
The title of final collection is “Arise, shine, for your light has come,” is influenced by an insects metamorphosis. The larvae waits for a long time, it has the power to survive in nature and has several metamorphoses before completion. When I first became acquainted with the idea of metamorphosis, it resonated with my own story. It links to my own journey and status, to what I have already accomplished, what I can achieve, the level I am at and what I intend to do as a fashion designer.
SS: The design theme of the collection is 'development and transition’ and there is a sense of exploration and metamorphosis throughout. What was your starting point and how did the collection evolve in to the finished collection?
Sungkyun Yuk: Taking inspiration from the stages of metamorphosis, the design theme of the collection is “development and transition’ throughout. The collection is described as a story of progress. The final collection is for the A/W season and is high-end menswear based on 3D anatomical design, functional details and layering. The design process is shown from the first outfit through to the sixth outfit. With changing cut, volumes on sleeve and leg, subdivision of patterns and the development of functional designs. There is unique fastening methods to assist with the design development.
SS: Could you talk us through some of the innovative patterns and 3D methods?
Sungkyun Yuk: I was drawn to 3D shape and anatomical design in order to pursue the essential function of clothes comfortable and fit perfectly. The unique 3D anatomic shapes were used to consider silhouette and to track how joints and muscle move.
I did not want to follow basic patterns, the unique design (pattern and seam line) produced through 3D work process provides distinct signatures for my originality without logos. The original shoulder for the final collection which is a type of half raglan with twist sleeve seam was developed from my second year project with the Ballet Russes. The scarf hood for the fourth outfit was able to fit on a head perfectly without any fastenings because the drawing pattern was the shape of skull. There are six different types of gloves which assist design developments. I created original pattern for gloves. Instead of the usual pattern for gloves which consist of thumb, palm and the back of the hand. I made 3D model of my hand and tried to find new lines which could hold shape. After several tests, I found the new curved line that can keep the shape I designed. Each process involved a great deal of experimentation.
SS: How would you describe the collection in your own words?
Sungkyun Yuk: Innovative Evolution
SS: What type of man can you see wearing it?
Sungkyun Yuk: Anyone interested in my collection. I would love to communicate my philosophy of fashion with the people who like my style by my clothes. As a designer, I’m interested in anatomy and evolution because of my bio technology past.
SS: I know this is difficult question to answer but have you got a favorite, anything that you were most proud of?
Sungkyun Yuk: How I approached my work. I found what I really want to do when I was twenty two years old. It was totally different subject I had done. So I did not want to waste time to achieve what I want. I did more tasks than I was given, for example design sketching, pattern drawing and making toiles. I have strong pattern cutting skills that help making flat pattern from any 3D shape, which I learned from Aitor Throup.
SS: What advice would you give a prospective menswear fashion student?
Sungkyun Yuk: Keep drawing and thinking every day and secure work experience as much as possible.
SS: Finally, what's next. What would you like to achieve in latter half of 2011 and beyond?
Sungkyun Yuk: I desire to acquire more experience in menswear, which will help take me to the next level as a fashion designer. I will apply for work from brands which I have been fascinated by for some time.
As mentioned in the recent Wooyoungmi post, the inherent challenge of the evolution of menswear is balancing innovation with wearability. For me, Sungkyun Yuk works the balancing beam perfectly here...
Not only does the idea of metamorphosis run through the very seams of this collection but it resonates with him and a graduate. It links to Yuk's own journey and status and this collections hints at what is to come. I look forward to watching the continued metamorphosis of Sungkyun Yuk.