INTERVIEWS

Dead Poets Society
To design dreams, emotions, and to link the future and the past with a single colored thread; that is the goal of fashion. Wake up, 2021 - trends do not exist anymore. Clothes live with a body to support them, and little more than emotions rule our choice of style nowadays.
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PHOTO COURTESY: PAINTERS KEEP IT UP WITH PAINTERS! SITE: WWW.PAINTERSFROMSEOUL.ART INSTAGRAM: @PAINTERSFROMSEOUL EMAIL: [email protected] ADDRESS: 3, 1ST FLOOR, 92, SEOBINGGO-RO 91NA-GIL, YONGSAN-GU, SEOUL, REPUBLIC OF KOREA
AVESSA has met with promising young designer Won Jeon, the mastermind behind painters from Seoul, an ultimately concept-oriented brand which genius lies in anti-trend making. Think not of silk slivers and patches of gold yarn; with dead poet’s society, the avant-garde maison spins fashion and life experiments further beyond the superficial illustration of life on a mannequin. With an eternally fresh way of seeing life and playing around its rules, won embraces the newness and instability of fashion as it flows around personalities. In dead poet’s society, the true concepts of sustainability and imagination unfurl in ultimate cuts that lend to anti-beauty and anti-fashion the very meaning of beauty and fashion.
HOW DO YOU DEFINE YOUR DESIGNING STYLE?
When I was in my final year at London College of Fashion, I found that I like creating various shapes and volumes as experiments. Not only showing the perfect looks and ideal garments on the catwalk, but I was also very inspired by doing the wrong turns too. As a result, I’ve been focusing on every B-SIDE which is not the utmost trend in the fashion industry or in society. Therefore, my every collection in PAINTERS aims at offering a new impact that different and eccentric people could accept within their own level of individual taste and identity. PAINTERS is putting the underestimated and unwelcomed theme or shapes in the design process and I think it represents clearly my tastes through the brand.
WHAT IS THE APPEAL OF FASHION TO YOU?
When it comes to art and fashion, I would define “something new” as the very first draft or try that I would do, or very fine combinations of elements. I think fashion itself has very strong different identities in every individual’s book. To show how people live, and the values they go by in life strongly appeals to me. Not only showing the visual look that people prefer but also the way that fashion conveys the way people think by illustrating their lives.
DO YOU ACCEPT LABELS FOR YOUR WORK OR DO YOU MAKE IT A POINT TO DEVIATE FROM SOCIETY’S STRUCTURES AND RULES?
I can say I try to take the routes that are not much selected from others even when they seem tough. It is also related to the background of the brand, as when I was younger, I didn’t follow the typical education that people usually get in my country. I was a home-schooled student and through my teenage years and early twenties, I could think more flexibly. I was able to consider a vast array of looks that can attract or repel, whether they are socially welcomed or not. This freedom in thinking and dressing really transferred to the way I work. It has led me to create some unique shapes by intentionally using the imperfect parts of the garments or the methodology and fabrics that I failed to use in the past.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THE NAME DEAD POET’S SOCIETY?
The collection is inspired by the movie called ‘Dead Poet’s society’. The film illustrates a group of students willing to work in socially underrated job areas with unsupportive parents and teachers who undervalue the classic underpaid jobs. I started to concentrate on these jobs and I wanted to present them in my own way. The collection includes a poet, a painter, a writer, and other professions. The goal of this collection was clearly to talk about new ways of looking at these underrated jobs.
WHAT IS THE BACKGROUND OF PAINTERS FROM SEOUL?
I grew up in Seoul and was home-schooled there. It wasn’t the typical pathway that people take for their education, but I was lucky enough to have parents that let me follow an alternative pathway. This allowed me to be in control of what I wore every day, instead of wearing the strict dress code demanded for students in school. That was probably the first time since I was little that I realized how tough it is to express individual identity through style in Seoul. After having the idea to pursue a fashion career, I became a college student in London. While I was in university, I thought a lot about how individual identity manifested in my work. I started to observe people closely and found out that people who pursue art and design are always seeking new ways of seeing, thinking, and respecting individual identity. It really dawned on me then that I wanted to be surrounded by like-minded people that share my values regarding this topic, and I decided to start the brand Painters in an effort to show different types of beauty in womenswear.
WHAT IS YOUR IDEA, THE MESSAGE BEHIND YOUR WORK?
Here is a sentence that speaks to this, ‘different accepted society’. I like the uncommon, weird, and eccentric things. At the same time, I also find accepting and understanding their stories of the utmost importance.
WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF PAINTERS FROM SEOUL, AND YOURSELF, WON, AS AN INDIVIDUAL DESIGNER?
I’m hoping and planning to have many experimental and diverse collections that deliver a variety of issues and contemplative stories. I still have a long way to go but I am making it a rule for myself not to just follow the trends or think about the common clothes. I want to create collections that can personify unnoticed, underrated values. I would love for people from all over the world to be able to appreciate those values I have instilled in Painters.
HOW DO EMOTIONS INFLUENCE YOUR WORK; FEAR, PLEASURE, EXCITEMENT?
Usually, I start my works from the lines and quotes that impress me personally or get inspired by the situation I’m in at that moment. The Dead poet’s society collection is also dealing with the thoughts and feelings I’ve been having since I started the brand, which is saying “Different is not wrong”. I also visualize the feeling itself, which I showed in my latest 2021 F/W collection ‘LOST’. I represented the feeling of the confusion I had while undertaking this journey with the brand, and I also tried to represent thoughts from others with the same mindset who are having a hard time seeing through the bulky shapes and mass outlines.
EXPRESSING IDENTITY IN FASHION; HOW DO YOU RELATE TO THIS WITH THE DEAD POET’S SOCIETY COLLECTION?
In a larger proportion, people tend to be safe, or follow the trends rather than building their own style because they are afraid to seem unusual, different and eccentric. But I think the sides which are uncommon and not preferable are just as impressive and important. In a similar aspect, from the movie the students don’t just pursue socially valued careers, but hope to work in creative professions. I wanted to show these jobs visually and express the value of underestimated people who work at unseen places. I also used the abandoned fire hose, old book, and recycled materials to share the same theme.
IN THIS LAST COLLECTION, COLORS USED ARE ON THE NEUTRAL SIDE - WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS COLOR SCHEME?
The jobs that I visualized are not socially and typically notable so instead of using vivid and striking colours, I chose neutral tones, because I wanted to represent the reality which I don’t identify with nor go along with.
WHEN YOU FEEL BLOCKED CREATIVELY, HOW DO YOU GET GOING AGAIN?
Almost all of my collections and works start from a word or sentence I think is impressive. I just keep making some stories and just casually play around the initial idea without thinking about the final piece. During that process, I can really elaborate drafts, research and my thoughts freely. When I don’t know what to do, I try to get to the bottom of that feeling, and use that feeling as an inspiration as well. I think I am good at learning from trials and errors, and I know these improvements in my personality can reflect in my collections, as it has in the past.
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