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05/06/2018 Interview > Alumni

Title

Reinterpreting Korean Culture Through Fashion

Designer for SET SET SET, Jang Yoon-kyung (Jewelry & Fashion Design, '18)

김소연

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Contents
 
“I love my design style because it is so direct,” smiled Jang Yoon-kyung (Jewelry & Fashion Design, ERICA, '18). News H met Jang, who is the designer for SET SET SET, on a chilly spring day. She was recognizeable even before she entered the café because of her unique earrings of her own creation and their catchy look. It was as if she was silently screaming, "I’m a fashion designer!"
 
"The brand name means three things; the three members (three in Korean, pronounced 'set'), the set clothes as we often design, and Sse-sse-sse (a Korean traditional hand-clapping game)," explained Jang Yoon-kyung, in a café near her office on Sunday, May 6th
 


A Vancouver Fashion Week participating designer
 
When asked how she felt about receiving the invitation to Vancouver Fashion Week in 2017, Jang replied “I thought it was a scam at first,” with a playful smile. Jang and her brand SET SET SET were invited to the Vancouver Fashion Show for two seasons in a row - 2018 Spring/Summer season and 2018 Fall/Winter season. SET SET SET is a designer brand that launched on July 28th, 2016. As the founder and the only designer for the brand, Jang places the emphasis of Korean culture as their core identity. “We use cultural aspects of Korea in making the textiles of our clothes. For example, our theme for last season was the new year’s blessing (bok) culture in Korea,” mentioned Jang. After receiving the dreamlike invitation to the international stage, Jang and her crew worked day and night for two months to complete the collection of 46 pieces. SET SET SET definitely made an impression on the fashion world, receiving love calls from Tokyo and Seoul after their debut.
 
Nonetheless, it has not all been such an easy road for Jang. SET SET SET started out as a start-up club on ERICA campus with two other friends. Hanyang University provided a lot of help and supplies before they launched the brand, but after the business registration, it was all up to Jang. “The biggest issue was money, of course.” Despite of the precarious situation, Jang did not want to make clothes that would just "sell well." She emphasized that SET SET SET was and still is a brand that pursues her design spiri: kitsch and direct. “The invitation to Vancouver arrived when I was devastated and had almost given up,” reminisced Jang. Pursuing her identity through the brand, telling the story of Korean culture through clothes, Jang was able to seize this big opportunity.

 
Left: Jang's personal favorite from the recent 2018 F/W collection.
Right: A skirt and a t-shirt from the 2018 S/S collection. The theme was Samul-nori, a Korean traditional instrument, so the pattern of the skirt (enlarged in the bottom right corner) has traditional musical instruments such as Jang-gu or Book
(Photo courtesy of Jang)

 
Do it to know it
 
“I was only able to discover my aptitude for business after I actually started,” smiled Jang. She recommends people "go out and do something" to experience for themselves what they like - and even more importantly - what they don't like. Jang herself was able to realize that she fancies designing more than actually making the clothes after joining the ELAB (Erica Lab) club that required her to intensely make clothes. Her thought on this matter became even clearer when she took a yearlong break from school after her first year and studied fashion design skills in depth. The same applied to her entrepreneurship. Jang mentioned that she was only able to venture into the fashion business because she was so young and naïve. Her friends and seniors advised against her launching the brand without experiencing the industry as part of a company, but she thinks that a loss of innocent brought about by experience in the industry would have kept her from actually starting her own business.
 
Is it for her experience-based career? Jang seemed like a person with ambition. She did not hide her passion and trust in her design style throughout the interview. “I want SET SET SET to be the first thing that comes into people’s minds when they think of Korean culture...I believe that my brand will grow big sometime in the future.” While striving to provide a unique and new standpoint in recreating Korean culture, Jang aims to debut in Tokyo, London, and New York in two years. News H also wishes Jang and SET SET SET success to thrive on a bigger stage.



Kim So-yun       dash070@hanyang.ac.kr
Photos by Kang Cho-hyun
 
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