By Michelle Beaulieu
Jenny Choi reconnected with her heritage by combining modern design with cultural practices. Her collection is inspired by a traditional piece of Korean apparel called the hanbok. Choi’s purpose is to maintain traditional silhouettes to promote cultural appreciation.
Primrose, Choi’s graduate collection, showcases designs made from silk and polyester organza. Her intention is to play with colours and silhouettes through layering behind sheer organza. All of her designs can be layered and worn together. Wrap closure design details add versatility and volume.
Primrose will be unveiled at 2017 The Show presented by Tamoda Apparel Inc., on April 5 and 6 at the Imperial (319 Main Street). Twenty-seven other lines by Kwantlen Polytechnic University Fashion Design and Technology students will also be showcased.
Michelle Beaulieu: Describe your collection.
Jenny Choi: Primrose introduces a new concept of luxury through the intermixing of contemporary design and traditional practices. The concept is adapted from my heritage and Korean traditional dress.
In the past, hanbok was designed for the wearer and family class, gender, occasion, and age were all taken into cosideration. Hanbok was also designed specifically for longevity, a practice that I have adapted. I used the traditional Korean method of pattern drafting where most pieces start rectangular and are shaped by cutting away the fabric after it is sewn together.
MB: What is the story behind your line?
JC: Primrose introduces upscale everyday-wear that is influenced by traditional practices. It establishes an ethical system of ideation and production of garments. Primrose caters to the individualist who challenges the fashion paradigm of classic apparel through paradoxes of texture, shape, and fit.
My collection is inspired by hanbok as part of the slow fashion movement. I want to conserve and cherish what we have left.
MB: Walk me through your creative process.
JC: Colours and texture drives my creative process. During research, certain garments catch my eye and I instantly feel the need to design something that would either accommodate the garments or something that would be the complete opposite of what is in front of me. Then, I move onto coordinating outfits and brainstorming pieces to layer together.
MB: Who are your style icons?
JC: I am definitely into juxtaposed themed designs. Recently, Sandy Liang’s designs, including furry sleeves on parka jackets, wool and silk combinations, and a rich colour mix, have been filling my social-media news feeds and are inspiring me.
MB: What lessons did you learn while completing your degree at KPU?
JC: Challenge yourself, be persistent, experiment, and explore before taking no for an answer. Hard work does pays off if you manage your time and are a team player. These are the core qualities and values that I will take with me along the way.
MB: What are your plans after graduation?
JC: Upon graduation, I plan to gain international experiences in a merchant/buying role. During my work experience at Lululemon, I found that number-crunching and analyzing market reports to problem solve and forecast are satisfying tasks.
Working together with designers and manufacturers is one of the most helpful skills I have gained through retail management and design.
Michelle Beaulieu is a final-year fashion design and technology student at KPU’s Wilson School of Design.