Going into their fourth season, J KOO is a brand led by duo designers Jinwoo Choi and Yeonjoo Koo who met while preparing for fashion school, became friendly while in London during which became close enough to not only start working together but eventually agree… to get married.
As life partners, they encourage and inspire each other while complementing each other as fashion designers and business partners. Having spent eight years in London studying Menswear at Central Saint Martins and launching J KOO, it’s easy to locate mannish elements in their collections, surprisingly but most definitely in a subtle manner. I may had been misinformed or it could have been my erroneous preconception but when I used to hear about a brand that incorporates menswear into womenswear, among the first images that came to my mind was Hedi Slimane’s rather direct reinterpretation of mens suits complete with wide-brimmed hats, slacks, an immaculately tailored jackets (ie Saint Laurent Spring 2013 RTW).
Shattering this image was J KOO’s fresh approach of incorporating menswear elements that are relatively subdued (requiring further observation to be noticed), such as using high quality wool used in fine menswear suits which can only be found at menswear textile shops, while using tailoring techniques and details only found in such. This is unique to the brand as Choi and Koo’s expert knowledge in menswear is what allows them to pursue a rather unconventional method. This concept comes from not only having been trained at a top notch educational institution but has a lot to do with their passion, talent, and practice since childhood days. What I found particularly inspiring was that all the clothes Choi used to wear back in college days were self-made, which by the way, are still in great shape, displayed along with his new collection pieces at his current studio. He mentioned that his love for fashion started naturally, as he was surrounded by art and fashion since the early days thanks to his father who had a great interest in painting, mother who used to avidly make clothes for him, and sisters who studied art. Coincidentally and fortunately for him, when he was in military, he made friends who were in the design industry who encouraged and inspired him to pursue fashion design when he was feeling discouraged and lost.
J KOO’s F/W collection touches upon many domains of fashion, ranging from classic to modernism, graphic prints, to cocoon silhouettes.
As someone who hasn’t touched baggy silhouettes since the 90′s, I must admit that I hesitated quite a bit before finally deciding on J KOO’s voluminous pieces, afraid that they would make me look large.
Though, now that I think about it, what’s wrong with looking big? Yeah. Exactly. Who cares as long as I’m having fun with it. Working on confidence as we speak- you knew this. Please be patient…
But more than anything, a great lesson learned is that I need to have more confidence in fashion designers, relying on their sense than my assumptions. Once I put the pieces on, not only did I look slim but felt completely comfortable, free, and beautiful. Oh, was I wrong… Go away, preconceived notions, Seriously. It didn’t take long to reconfirm the genius of the J KOO duo.
This dress… is everything, literally. The color and print is unique but pretty at the same time, the silhouette changes depending on what your body is doing, the material is extremely soft to touch while feeling even more amazing on, and it’s perfect for layering as the buttons allow for versatility- and you know how much I’m into versatility when it comes to clothes.
Another cool element is that the ventilation is amazing… what I mean is that because it’s so roomy, it allows wind to freely move around inside the dress hence being perfect for the hot summer days in Seoul.
Dress and Pants by J KOO. Shoes by Jeffrey Campbell.
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