What’s your design philosophy? “I believe everyone has a unique form of beauty regardless of how one looks or how one’s body is. To me, good design is something that brings this beauty and elegance to the fore, and that’s the design I try to produce. My designs are not fantasy – they’re strictly for ‘real women’. Today, women in Korea are progressive, smart and passionate about their lives and my design reflects those elements to create a slightly different vibe from other brands.”

Why do you think Korean fashion is having its moment globally? “Korea as a nation is at a point where the pent-up cultural energy is about to explode. We went through war only half a century ago, and we achieved what we call the ‘miracle on the Han River’ [rapid economic growth] from the ruins of war. Through all that, we didn’t have the opportunity to spend our cultural energy fully, and the stories and energy collected across several generations have exploded, which has led to a variety of cultural content.”

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What is it about Korean fashion that resonates with Chinese customers? “Our cultural sensitivities and languages are similar. Although Korean designers might not intentionally mirror the characteristics of Asian culture, the thoughts we have, our culture and language all reflect an Asian brand and philosophy, which is something that touches a lot of people in the Sinosphere. Korean people are very interested in aesthetics. I think that sort of interest and energy creates good brands.”

Are you worried about the recent ban on Korean imports into China?“I’m already experiencing the effects. Chinese buyers are finding it difficult to engage in promotional and sales activities for Korean products because of the political climate. In fact, Customs proved difficult as I entered China for this year’s Shanghai Fashion Week. I hope we can resolve these political issues soon so we can resume our cultural exchange.”

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You are a success in Korea already – why go global? “Instead of simply representing an individual brand, I think it’s crucial to show­case the cultural sensitivity and dynamism of Korea as a brand in the global market. The appeal our brands have can penetrate deeper into the international market once we form a consensus about Korean culture and identity on the global stage. I hope that brands like mine can tell our own stories based on the unique traits we have.”