Young fashion designer Park Hwan-sung hosted his first main show at Seoul Fashion Week this season, but he is already receiving much attention as one of the top 10 Koreans in the industry.
Park flew to Hong Kong last Thursday to display his seasonal collection at popular fashion brand house I.T in Hysan One as part of Seoul Design Foundation’s project “Seoul’s 10Soul” to promote the Korean fashion industry there. In the second half of this year, Park will exhibit and sell his clothes at Selfridges in London.
Park’s expectation for his pop-up show in London is particularly high as his collections reflect his eight years studying in Britain.
“I lived in London for eight years, studying at Central Saint Martins College and earning a master’s degree,” said Park in an interview with The Korea Times at his office in Gangnam, Seoul, last Tuesday. “London is a city of culture where many fashion genres began. I am not a Londoner, but living there for a long time, I thought I can play a role as a bridge showing the merits of London from the viewpoint of a Korean to the people here in Seoul.”
All four collections Park presented at Seoul Fashion Week under his brand “D-Antidote” take inspiration from British musicians. The fashion designer’s recent runway showed the concept inspired by the band The Sex Pistols, while The Beatles inspired his last collection.
“My slogan for my brand is SEOULONDON. The reason why I take London as a base for my inspiration is because England is the Mecca of menswear. All fashion trends began in London such as punk, hippies, skinheads and Brit-pop. There are also many vintage shops and traditional elements in the city,” Park said.
What is the meaning behind the brand name “D-Antidote?”
D is the article “The” and I used the word “antidote” because I wanted to play the role of an antidote in the Korean fashion industry. The polarization between the luxury and SPA brands is serious and I wanted to make up the space in between.
Please tell us more about your career.
I left for London when I was 24. I studied at a Korean university until then and I transferred to Central Saint Martins. I took an internship as an assistant at Alexander McQueen for a year in my final year and worked at Tom Ford and Burberry too. Then I met Korean designer Lee Chung-chung in London, with whom I established a menswear brand under the name A. Hallucination. We participated in London Fashion Week for three seasons with collections taking Peter Pan as our muse. We wanted to do English dandy fashion that would suit actors like Orlando Bloom but many of the locals said they saw oriental elements in our clothes; something we had not intended.
What inspires your collections?
Music is almost as important as clothes for me. My collection takes fundamental inspiration from musicians. They were trendsetters who dominated the times. The Sex Pistols were popular for their punk style and The Beatles made hippy look trendy. I try to find common ground between what was popular back then and current trends, and add something new to make my clothes unique.
What kind of designer do you wish to be?
That is still a difficult question. If I was a passionate designer before, who wanted to become successful as soon as possible, now I want to become a designer who lasts for a long time. The trend these days changes fashion really fast. Fashion brands are doing well but people get fed up really easily. I want to have a brand that people can like for a long time.