Wooyoungmi is undoubtedly one of the most recognizable names among seasoned men’s runway attenders and other industry vets. While her name may be lesser known to the average shopper, her collections have graced the venerable stages of Paris Fashion Week for over a decade, continuing to impress with bold, architectural designs.
The South Korean designer now seeks to expand her namesake label further, recently hiring a new business-minded COO. Also at the forefront of this expansion is a new capsule collection, exclusively for MR PORTER; It’s no secret that the online retailer offers a sizable platform on which brands can release exclusive designs that are both covetable and accessible (See: Marni, WANT Essentiels and Hentsch Man to name a few). We had the chance to converse with Madame Woo herself on her small capsule with MR PORTER, which launched today.
This interview has been translated from Korean.
How did the collaboration with MR PORTER begin?
We’ve been working with MR PORTER since 2012, selling our collections on the website, but this is our first time collaborating [on a capsule]. For the last two years, we’ve built up a trust for each other, then MR PORTER approached us with the idea of a collaboration.
Was MR PORTER involved in the designs?
We did the designing. We took our Spring/Summer 2014 collection that we presented at Paris Fashion Week and reverse-designed exclusively for MR PORTER. MR PORTER did offer suggestions on what kinds of styles and designs work well for online and we adjusted accordingly. We didn’t change the Wooyoungmi aesthetic much but we developed a capsule of styles that you would only find on the site.
Where did you get your inspiration for the color palette and materials?
The main theme was the desert. We used real images of cacti and the sky, with sky blue and white. Because it’s a summer collection, we used light cotton and jerseys appropriate for warm weather. Generally, I’m inspired by all young and contemporary men around the world.
Is this capsule more affordable than Wooyoungmi’s regular collection?
It’s comparable to the mainline collection. It’s just another special way [for MR PORTER] to work with brands more uniquely and bring something to customers that no other retailer has.
You are coined as Korea’s first men’s ready-to-wear designer — How does that feel? Do you think there has been a change in international focus on Korean labels sand designers?
I have a lot of pride on being Korea’s first men’s RTW designer. As the first [to show at a major Fashion Week], there were a lot of trials and tribulations. I think that the world has become a better place since then, and there’s a good stage on which Korean designers can perform today.
The brand has not been so global because we’ve been focused on looking after the creative side. But now, because menswear is growing so much, we’ve decided to take Wooyoungmi even stronger into global markets. We are concentrating on Europe and the US is going to be the next big market for us. We are doing a whole China focus as well. Within the next few seasons, you’ll see a lot of Wooyoungmi.