We11done Spring Summer 2024 fashion show at K-pop Square Media (September 7, 2023).
The worlds of fashion and art converged in Seoul this week, as Seoul Fashion Week and Frieze Seoul joined forces for the first time. At the heart of this unique collaboration was We11done, a fashion label that hosted its highly-anticipated debut runway show in the vibrant setting of K-Pop Square in Coex, coinciding with the Frieze Seoul event. But, interestingly, this wasn't We11done's true debut, as they had previously showcased their work during the fall 2020 menswear season in Paris. The journey from that point to today's show was marked by a series of internal changes, but now, We11done has fully embraced its identity and is ready to make a lasting mark.
"I feel like this is our first show," expressed brand manager Youngjin Kim from their Seoul studio, "we don’t even remember what it was like before 2020." We11done had often distanced itself from the South Korean fashion scene, choosing to present its collections in Paris and positioning itself as a label outside the traditional Korean fashion mainstream. However, the decision to stage their comeback show in Seoul carried a clear message: "Everyone is looking at Korea right now," Kim noted, alluding to the global fascination with K-Pop and the recent trend of Western brands hosting shows in the country or collaborating with Korean pop stars. "We decided to have a show here because it's our hometown," she emphasized. "It's the right time for us to do a show, and it felt right to do it here."
The theme of "home" resonated deeply throughout the collection, as Kim described it, celebrating their childhood memories in Korea, which were intricately woven into the fabric of the garments. Creative director Jessica Jung, known for basing her collections on art references, drew inspiration from the work of artist Do Ho Suh this time. Suh is renowned for his architectural pieces that transform memories into tangible spaces. Kim explained, "We want to turn memories into clothes."
The runway itself became a blank canvas, representing the mind's empty gallery where memories take shape. Art pieces transformed into wearable memories, and the results were astonishing. A heather gray dress emulated a childhood blanket, draped lovingly around the body as if recalling the comfort of youth. Linoleum wood printed flooring patterns adorned both jersey fabrics and boxy tops, resembling the floors of family rooms from days gone by. A circle skirt, presented without a waistband, evoked the process of pleating fabric as a child might, with an innocent touch. A series of optic white separates featured crinkly fabric with inserted paper, creating a delightful texture that added depth and dimension to each piece.
The collection also included curvaceous yet flattened jeans and knits, maintaining a playful, paper doll-like quality throughout. These were garments that may be hard to envision outside the runway, but therein lay their uniqueness. Niche and charming, this We11done lineup garnered attention not only from fashion enthusiasts but also from celebrities in attendance, including rapper G-Dragon, influencer Irene Kim, and model Lee Soo-hyuk.
"It's a celebration of the mix of something real and something that will disappear, familiar things turning into memories or going away," Kim reflected on the collection. Several boxy trompe l’oeil jackets and skirts featured embossed details, such as flowers, pockets, ties, and belts, each encapsulating a cherished memory. These items, like memories themselves, didn't always present themselves in their truest form, with proportions that seemed reimagined by a child – slightly off-kilter and endearingly naive. Just as we misrecall details in our reminiscences as we grow older, We11done's collection captured the essence of cherished memories through its own unique lens.
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