Drawing inspiration from the memories she cherishes, Korean born designer Harim Jung transcends the past and the future in design. Now based in New York, the designer’s ability to travel through time earned her the title of Parsons Womenswear designer of the year at the school from which she graduated in 2013. We recently had the opportunity to speak with Harim about her work and she revealed to us from where all her new inspiration is coming.
Tell us, when did your interest in the world of fashion begin?
To be honest I don't quite remember when my interest in fashion begun, but I do remember having the urge to create something and being the happiest when doing so. As for now clothes do the trick and fulfill my need. But I don’t limit myself to just fashion; it can be anything as long as I feel inspired while on it.
For your graduation collection you recreated your memories from growing up in Seoul, does living in New York inspire your designs too?
Yes, I think every experience can inspire me to design. It's just a matter of what kind of story I want to tell. Whether it is my experience in Seoul or New York, they both help me express whatever I am into at the moment and allow me to translate it with the medium I do best. Our experiences are what define us and shape our perspectives so I think it is an important asset for one to be inspired through one’s own experience.
There are a few constant features in your work, among them the deconstruction of garments. Tell use more about that.
Deconstruction happened to be the method that suited my intentions best for my collection. My graduate collection was based on uniforms. It started with the memory of my uniform, which I wore during high school back in Seoul, Korea. It had so much sentimental value to me that I didn't throw it away and kept it in my closet even after graduating from school. Whenever I tried to get rid of it I felt like I was going to forget that time and the many great memories I had accumulated. I know it sounds silly, but I have a hard time throwing away stuff I have fond memories of. They just bring back so many memories! So for my collection I wanted to remember and cherish my past, yet create something new out of it without losing the essence of it. The initial concept was to create a time machine; in order to execute this, I decided to deconstruct my garments as pieces of my memories and reconstruct them into new ones, yet creating details which were close to my school memories. I guess you can say that through the design process, I figuratively travelled through time.
What materials do you feel most comfortable working with?
Paper, I have been using it ever since I can remember.
Do other artists or designers inspire you?
I know this sounds quite like a cliché but I am a believer that there is something to learn from every artist or designer. It might not always inspire me in a positive way, but I think it is important to be able to learn what works for you and what doesn't. In my opinion, every artwork and design you come across can become a lesson one can apply to oneself.
When you’re not busy designing, what do you like to do in your spare time?
Traveling to places I've never been to, literally and figuratively. I mean, who doesn't like to?
You were titled Parsons Womenswear designer of the year, what can we expect from you in 2014?
I have a few personal design projects and goals lined up for this year. Hopefully they will be able to make it out on time into the world for everyone to enjoy.