3 October 2016

A New Wave of Classicism

Since its birth in 2009, LOW CLASSIC has been growing and finding its identity under the watchful eye of both its creators and cult following, alike. The brand has taken its motherland –Seoul– by storm and is set to conquer the entire big, bad world, as we know it. With stockists including Opening Ceremony and coverage in magazines like Dazed and Vogue, the transition has begun and European expansion is on the ever-so-near horizon. Lee Myeong Sin, Hwang Hyun Ji and Park Jin Sun, the trio who formed the label, spoke to me about the influence of Seoul itself, Korean culture impacting Western trends and how the long-term is what will define Low Classic.


With backgrounds in fashion buying, design and editorial, how did you guys meet each other?
The three of us who created Low Classic are all different to each other in our own ways, but came together through the pleasure of understanding fashion. We were majoring in Costume at the same university in Korea, and had been talking about fashion for years together. A few years ago, we were gathered together again; we noticed that so many existing Korean fashion companies had limits, and so we wanted to create something new. Now one of our friends has gone to study abroad in Berlin – if eventually we think that we need to study more, we will not have any problem with taking time out to study again.

What do you cite as the main inspiration behind your design process?
I was born in Seoul, grew up in Seoul and studied fashion in Seoul. Seoul changes rapidly from day to day and has become an important place for fashion. Rice paddies and fields surround huge buildings, which rapidly consume the digital and unique historical background; so not falling asleep at night in Seoul brings us excitement and inspiration.

Your collections have been quite varied over the years and have managed to balance sleek and clean with fun and quirky. Was this a conscious effort or was it just what you felt you wanted to make at that time?
Low Classic represents youth, so it’s aimed at people who are struggling to cement an identity while experiencing a huge variety of situations and emotions. The designs reflect the era and I don’t pass the chance to design something that can express emotions and the current situation.

What is your favourite thing about working in fashion?
Through fine arts, music and architecture, we can collaborate with new artists in a variety of fields; it’s always interesting to create a new aesthetic rather than simply fashion. Every season we are entranced by different artists with original ideas and ways of working – it helps us to gather information and gain new inspiration.

 

Alongside Low Classic, you have the Locle line, how do these differ?
We wanted a project more interesting than the Low Classic line, and it was actually a T-shirt line that first started Locle. Low Classic’s main point is the collection, whereas Locle is based on a variety of activities such as lifestyle pop-up projects.

Your online lookbooks, or “lowbooks”, really put an emphasis on innovative photography. How important do you think photography is and has become in fashion?
Many brands showcase the personality of each collection through photography to share their ideas and help customers to understand them a little more, so Low Classic also needs this space. The season’s concept can be explained and it also brings together the elements that inspired us.


You have a wonderful Instagram account with a huge following, has social media played a big role in the expansion of Low Classic?
The ripple effect of social media is a bigger and more powerful piece of the puzzle than words. Low Classic has not undertaken aggressive overseas marketing activities yet, but naturally introduced Instagram and Tumblr – that was an important platform to announce our presence.

Korean culture has seeped into Western society through fashion, beauty and music, do you see this as a good thing or something you’d rather protect?
The Western use of Korean fashion, music and culture is warmly received. Recently, traditional Korean clothes inspired the Chanel collection with Korean celebrities frequently sitting front row. There’s less awareness than China and Japan, but South Korea also has a unique culture with beautiful colors and fine detail. Through frequent exchanges and more promotion, the Korean culture and South Korea’s designers will also have a lot more love in the West.


Low Classic is garnering a lot of attention in Europe and left us all wondering: when will you start shipping here?
It seems that it will be as early as this winter season that Low Classic can finally meet Europe. While we focused on the Korean domestic market, from this fall/winter we will go all out with our overseas sales and marketing. Long term, we are looking for a local partner to join us in European business.

What can we expect from Low Classic next?
Our goal is to become a better brand than just revenue growth. Fashion is not limited so we’re always interested in new lifestyles and we will be trying to appeal to the new woman. The long term will define Low Classic, so we hope many women can find themselves and be happy through our designs.