Founded by Hyun-Min Han, Münn is a young Korean fashion brand with an eye for special details and flamboyance. It’s not mainstream nor has it fit the mould since Han launched it back in 2013. The brand prides itself on abstract sewing techniques, gender-fluid clothing and unconventional silhouettes. We hear from Han about the brand’s conscious strive to accept responsibility for our damaged planet and become more sustainable, how they were affected by the pandemic, their Spring/Summer 2021 presentation at Seoul Fashion Week, and what the future of Münn looks like, digital or not.
Münn is an incredibly successful clothing brand in Seoul and across the world. I have watched your shows at LFW over recent years and understand you just showcased the Spring/Summer 2021 collection at Seoul Fashion Week, featuring luxurious high-fashion pieces on an industrial-style runway. Would you say the style of this collection has evolved or grown from Münn’s first Spring/Summer collection in 2017? Or has your vision changed since then?
For the Spring/Summer 2017 collection, I wanted to show the identity of Münn as a brand. But that collection had so many pieces that were not reproducible. So even if buyers would have ordered specific styles/items, there would have been many pieces that couldn’t have been created or produced. Nowadays I put a lot more effort into creating more commercial designs. And as our brand is now a lot bigger and continuously growing, the number of stockists has increased a lot as well. So the responsibility as the CEO of the brand is also heavier.
If you could describe this collection in three words, what would they be?
Defamiliarization, Korean and irreplaceable.
I understand each collection is designed in advance, but how did the design team cope with the pandemic this year? Was planning, production, or in fact motivation affected in any way?
Of course. I guess it affected all of us but in different ways. For our brand and recent collection, I would say we missed shows the most because of cancellations. For example, we’d been participating at London Fashion Week for years, but it was unfortunately cancelled this season. But gladly, we had the opportunity to participate at Milan Digital Fashion Week in July. As we are already planning for the upcoming Fall/Winter 2021 season, we are planning digital showings again. One schedule will be the Milan Digital Fashion Week in February.
On a positive note, as the sales situation on the Chinese market is still working well and the market is focused on sales during Shanghai Fashion Week, we are still able to sell our products continuously.
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An aspect of Münn that intrigued me was how you openly accept responsibility for the brand’s contribution to the environmental damage done by the fashion industry – writing that you are now coming before sustainability “as students” and making a conscious effort to be a more ethical brand. What are some of the main actions you are taking to reinvent the production process?
I would say focusing more on conscious material choices and including recycling/upcycling projects in our collections (like creating garments out of vintage ties or producing bags out of tires) are some of our biggest actions.
Who are your fashion icons? Who, or what, inspired you to design this collection the way you did?
I mainly get inspired by exhibitions from different artists as well as music. Music and art are my main sources of inspiration.
The Spring/Summer 2021 collection features textured mesh, diverse silhouettes, detailed fabric accents and statement headwear among other design features. Can you talk us through the process of how Münn selected/designed the centre pieces of this collection?
The silhouette is always important when designing the first looks. For this season, I focused especially on the details of sewing techniques. The main concept was intended to use (and play with) pinched, fixed and pressed details, and to well visualize those details in unfamiliar ways in the garments.
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Following on from the topic of centre pieces, Park Shinjeo designed the statement headwear for this collection. Do you often work with external designers for specific parts of your collections, such as accessories? How are these designers commissioned?
Yes, Park Shinjeo is an external designer I worked with for three seasons since our first collaboration, which was for London Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2020. I saw her designs in a magazine and proposed a collaboration afterwards.
The brand uses different materials and creates very special new designs and shapes. For one of our collaborations, I remember they included weaving techniques and used materials like paper or Sinamay, which is a natural straw fabric made out of abaca fibres that get steamed over one hundred degrees and carefully handwoven. The designs of Shinjeo always support Münn’s Korean and avant-garde designs very well.
Many garments in the new collection could be worn by men and women in different ways, and I admire that. Was your Spring/Summer 2021 collection intentionally unisex from the planning stage or was this something that developed unintentionally during the design process?
I would say it was kind of a developing process. As Milan Fashion Week in July was for menswear season, and womenswear season is in September/October, we adjusted and tailored the final menswear collection on women's bodies. So I guess this worked quite well. The buyers also responded very well and liked our ‘masculine’ womenswear.
In the Münn philosophy, it details that the brand does not use traditional garment sewing methods and opts for actively switching-up the order in which they are sewn to discover new silhouettes and angles. Can you talk us through how you discovered this untraditional method of sewing, and how this inspired you to take the method further and make it part of the Münn identity?
I have worked for big brands like Wooyoungmi for many years, but I’ve worked for much smaller designers as well. In my opinion, a designer of a ‘small’ brand should be qualified and able to manage every single part of the company. I have learned all the processes, including sewing, pattern making, and production control. So, I guess this helped and still helps me a lot.
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Referring back to the Spring/Summer 2021 collection, how was it received by audiences and critics at Seoul Fashion Week? Are there pieces you already know are going to be most popular?
The feedback was quite positive. It was an unfamiliar way to show our collection on another platform, but we enjoyed this new experience. I think the first item that comes to my mind when I think of this collection would be the black fixed lapel blazer with white buttons.
To finish, as the future is still uncertain, what are your future projects?
Our next project will be our next collection and the upcoming showcases, like Milan Digital Fashion Week. We truly hope to show physically on the runway in the future, as soon as the pandemic situation improves. We hope for everyone’s safety and health during this time.
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