Art and fashion at WOOYOUNGMI

This is another one of those art and fashion crossovers we love. No one can deny the Korean culture phenomena and WOOYOUNGMI is one of the many successful labels with both global outlook and unique Korean aesthetics. WOOYOUNGMI is founded by two sisters, Woo Youngmi and Woo Janghee and the essence of the brand stems from the unique perspective that comes from female designers creating menswear. They design for one man and it was explained that, “This man, as if a subject in a painting, need never change, he remains always as their ideal.”.

The sisters’ different personalities and styles, Woo Youngmi’s conservative and precise nature along with Woo Janghee’s unconventional and artistic outlook, create the perfect balance for designing together. They believe that “As with art and cultural experiences, fashion too can offer an escape from the mundane.”

What’s more interesting is WOOYOUNGMI’s campaign images. WOOYOUNGMI collaborates with an artist for each new season’s collection, allowing the artist to interpret the collection in his/her own way. The artist will produce a piece of work that will become the print advertising campaign, as well as exhibit their work in MANMADE WOOYOUNGMI, WOOYOUNGMI ‘lifestyle showroom’ which is like a flagship store, concept store and gallery rolled into one.

Lee Song, Around the City (detail), 2011, oil on canvas

Lee Song, one of Korea’s current rising artists, was chosen as the first artist for WOOYOUNGMI’s SS 2012 collection. Both the artist and designers express their desire to describe and heal their contemporary through their work and both parties examine the modern world and its on-going daily routine. Their work offers their viewers and/or patrons a break from the habitual.

The whole concept of how modern man lives all isolated without fulfilling the needs of being attached in a group and being loved, which is the third stage of the psychologist Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory, is what WOOYOUNGMI 2012 A/W Collection and Clemens have in common in their work.

Clemens Krauss, Laughter and Value, 2012, oil on canvas

The next artist chosen for WOOYOUNGMI’s AW 2012 collection is Clemens Krauss. In his series ‘Concepts of Isolation’, he explores the vulnerabilities of the individual in the social context; alienation and isolation. The artist distinctively painted modern men living their lives alone and isolated as they are alienated from their family and co-workers. How are they to recover when they suffer alone?

The latest artist collaboration is with Osang Gwon for WOOYOUNGMI’s SS2013 collection. Osang Gwon is a well-known artist whose works can be seen at major international art fairs. This collaboration probably the most recognisable one since the artist specialise in creating photo-collage sculptures.

As an artist Osang Gwon is very much inspired by fashion and lifestyle magazines, believing that fashion photography, both editorial and advertising campaigns, can reflect the current times in a creative and imaginative way. For this project Osang Gwon created two life-size sculptures Nuages Pattern and Aztec Pattern, both depicting models in WOOYOUNGMI SS2013 clothing.

Finally, some selected looks from WOOYOUNGMI’s SS2014 collection. I love the minimal design aesthetics, the stripes and the tailoring.

x Sybil

(Images from WOOYOUNGMI)

See for yourself: Fashion is an art

Former creative director of Kenzo, Antonio Marras is as much of an artist, as a fashion designer.  He is known for his sketches and his collaborations with artists.  Marras’ notebooks are filled with drawings and collages with lots of references to his exploration of fabrics and materials used in his creations.  He is a leading figure in the fashion industry and has shown his artistic projects in museums worldwide.  We enter his world through his notebooks. Antonio Marras Antonio Marras Antonio Marras
“Notebooks are my companions. Without them I am lost. And with them, I am never lonely.”
~ Antonio Marras
Antonio Marras Antonio Marras Antonio Marras

When asked about the border between art and fashion, he says “Today we have to bring into question this categorization; it’s not simply a matter of mutual influence or lending: the border between art and fashion is more and more faded to the point that an entire range of intermediate experiences is difficult to classify in one field or in the other. Personally, I have always been interested in working on spaces of creative autonomy. Freedom is a luxury but I want to create something crossing pure fashion, something born out of independent moments of life, as I did when I worked with Maria Lai and Carol Rama. Their approach naturally matches with what I have always created. For sure, I am lucky, I do what I love, my work allows me to mix everything: clothes, music, theatre, cinema… I remember a story about Maria Lai. Once, I confessed her I had stolen one of her drawings. She answered: “Art is stealing, continuously. Don’t worry: I’m always stealing too. When you steal it, the artwork becomes yours”: well, we can say that I steal something from a context to give it to the other and vice versa…”

x Sybil

(Images from

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