ERROR NYC’s Creative Director Pul Sheen has listened to his clients' claims and worked to give them what they were asking for. Having opted so far for presenting his design by using achromatic colours, he has started to use colours this season proving to be very connected with his audience and stepping out of his comfort zone in a plausible exercise that shows once again his artistic and technical talent. Their new collection, RGB, takes its name from the acronym of the colours whose light is used to represent various colours: red, green and blue. We sat down with the founder of the brand whose motto is “we are making culture” to chat about this latest release, his vision for fashion and his plans for 2023.
Not only have they decided to incorporate new colours in their latest collection, RGB – already available on their website –, but they have also developed their own sartorial platform for standing assertively against design normalcy. Seeking to create an inclusive brand culture and they're giving meaning to the word ‘community’ as they already demonstrated with the launch of their fifth Peek Fall/Winter 2021 collection that we told you about in METAL a few months ago, Sheen tells us more about his experiences in the fashion industry in the conversation that we now have. From when he suddenly got ADHD at the age of 18 and how he made his handicap his greatest strength, to his stage working for a fashion vendor company in South Korea and all the knowledge he gained.
ERROR NYC thinks communication with customers is the most important and collaborations are one of its fundamental axes. We of course now talk about it, in addition to their upcoming projects, including a very interesting campaign titled What's Your Error? and a capsule collection with artist Kamauu scheduled for March. Keep reading to know more!
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2022 has undoubtedly been a year of changes in which, little by little, we have been able to get back to our long-awaited normal lives and resume some projects that had to be paralysed. Have you noticed changes in the way society understands fashion since the pandemic began? And regarding your clientele, have you noticed any trend or change in their buying behaviour, in their concerns?
Yes, I realise there are a lot of changes in the buying behaviour of people. First of all, a lot of people start to think about their health and start to exercise every day. This pattern reflected the fashion trend. So, more active, comfortable, and functional design became a trend.
ERROR NYC has promoted, from its beginning, a perfect mix between functionality and design. How do you achieve this balance?
Before I came to New York, I worked for a fashion vendor company in South Korea for 3 years. And there are a lot of clients having different styles. At that time, I worked on the design and technical design part of the brands that were requested and I had a chance to work with really a lot of different kinds of clients. This experience at that time was very helpful.
“We are making culture” is the motto you champion from the brand. Could you tell us more about this claim and what you intend to say to the world through it?
When I was young, I only thought about my shortcomings, complained about them, always made excuses and lived with low self-consciousness. But, when I accepted my own shortcomings, accepted them, and acknowledged them as a part of me, it was no longer a shortcoming and became an advantage depending on how I used them.
For one thing, I suddenly got ADHD when I was 18 years old, so I got a really hard time focusing on one thing. This was really stressful for me, and it sometimes led me to panic, so in my early 20s, I always avoided something that I had to sit down and concentrate on, and I always did active things. After some years, I got a job taking charge of design work at the company, and when I was working overtime at home on weekends, I randomly happened to do cooking at home, and I realized I could concentrate on the design well and cooked very well.
So, after finding this method, whenever I design, I take turns doing other things every 10 minutes and repeat it. Then, I could finish two or three things at the same time. This disadvantage is no longer a disadvantage, but my advantage. So, I wanted to let people know through ERROR NYC what I felt. The shortcoming you think is not a mistake, just an error, it is not wrong, just different. Don't hide it and use it with confidence. The moment you accept and utilize it as a part of you, you can make your own culture.
In that sense, we chose our slogan because the clothes are worn by the creators of culture. This is the reason why I worked with Shaun Ross on our first collection.
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Now you’re releasing your new collection, RGB. And there is something that catches our attention quickly, the new colours that you incorporate into the garments. What message do you want to convey through this new release?
As our collection has many details that are differentiated from other brands, I thought one of the best ways to present my design is to use achromatic colours. However, for 4 years, countless customers have been asked to use colours and I thought that communicating with customers and meeting their needs is the most important thing for a brand to do. This is the reason why I started using colours this season. All the colours in the world are made of red, green and blue, so I named this collection RGB.
You have developed and used your own seams, using the fabric in their own way, haven't you? Could you tell us more about the techniques you use and the creative process of the different pieces?
Some parts of the product use the wrong side of the fabric to the outside to make a difference in texture, giving the effect of mixing two fabrics with one fabric. Some seam details look like the inside one, but it has a more vintage effect on the design side, and the durability is also actually strong. So customers who see our products for the first time think, “Is it an error?” but the more they see it, the more they use it, and the more it feels cool and convenient. The characteristics of these products are also linked to our slogan mentioned earlier.
How many people are involved in the ERROR NYC team? How do you divide the tasks?
I personally manage the overall process from design to production to marketing. At the beginning of the launch, we hired people in different positions, but we felt that this was unnecessary, and we only hired them when we needed them by contracting according to the situation.
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You’ve developed your own sartorial platform for standing assertively against design normalcy. Please tell us how you fight uniformity through your most personal project and what importance social media and online communication play in your business.
Every two weeks, we invite artists or models who have their own characteristics and conduct simple campaign shoots and interviews. It is constantly posted to artists and ERROR NYC's social media. In addition, we think communication with customers is the most important, so before Covid-19, offline pop-up events were held once every two to three months online/offline to keep communicating with customers. Also, we have collaborated with interesting brands such as Sweet Chick (NYC-based Chicken Place owned by NAS), SXSW (Music Festival in Texas ), and VHTS (Jiu Jitsu Uniform Brand) to strengthen our customer base. Finally, for Black Lives Matter, Covid-19, and the Ukraine war, we ran a meaningful campaign and donated all the profits.
What do you think of the current fashion scene internationally? And what about the fashion industry?
The fashion industry is becoming increasingly accessible to people. Because of the development of the Internet and transportation, fashion trends can be easily identified anywhere in the world, and fashion knowledge can be shared. Currently, the Internet and transportation are developing more and more, and the fashion industry is expected to develop further based on this.
Do you think that everything is invented, or is there room for the most absolute innovation?
I think human imagination is endless, so there's enough space there, and this innovation is endless.
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“ERROR NYC seeks to create an inclusive brand culture that empowers the disenfranchised and socially outcast by celebrating our differences and unique qualities,” we read in the brand manifesto. Who is your customer, what countries do they come from and what is their age range?
Our target is the creative young people who make their own culture like fits our slogan. Currently, most of our customers are New York-based people in their 20s and 30s, but we have started to attract attention in Asia and Europe.
Finally, where can we buy the pieces that make up your new collection, RGB?
All products are available for purchase at our online shopping mall, and some products can also be purchased at monthly pop-up events starting from March 2023.
Is there anything you can tell us about your upcoming projects? Any dreams to fulfil in 2023?
We are preparing a campaign and the title is What's Your Error?. We will ask this question to one hundred people who have different jobs, including artists, actors, cleaners, designers, ballerinas, and so on. In addition, we have a capsule collection scheduled for collaboration with artist Kamauu in March, which will be held every two months with different artists. Also, in April, we have our showroom/store on the New York Lower East Side, which will also have a nice bar/restaurant, making it a space for young people who love fashion and culture.
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