Designer Spotlight: Ji Oh

Designer Spotlight: Ji Oh

In A New Column For V, Mathias Rosenzweig Highlights Up-And-Coming Designers To Know Now. Here, He Catches Up With New CFDA Fashion Incubator Designer Ji Oh

In A New Column For V, Mathias Rosenzweig Highlights Up-And-Coming Designers To Know Now. Here, He Catches Up With New CFDA Fashion Incubator Designer Ji Oh

Text: MATHIAS ROSENZWEIG

Each year, the CDFA chooses ten emerging designers to join its Fashion Incubator—a class designed to help new talent develop their craft and parlay it into a successful business. On May 25, the prestigious and highly competitive program announced its new batch of designers including Korean visionary Ji Oh, a former student of London’s Central Saint Martins and NYC’s Parsons School of Design. Oh’s work explores the contrast between dramatically oversized pieces and more slender silhouettes, blending practical clothing with items that make a larger statement. It’s a unique take on individualism, using the mentioned contrast in clothing to express that simplicity (like the unassuming tees and trousers Oh often sports herself) is a stylistic choice, regardless of it subtlety. Furthermore, she adds an element of androgony to her line, joining the movement to further break down fashion’s crumbling gender barriers. V spoke to Oh about moving to the States, her love for model Larissa Hofmann, and the meaning of success.

When did you move to New York and why?

Ji Oh I lived in London for about a year and then made my move to New York in early 2005. London was a great place to be, but I always thought New York would be a better fit for me. I like how fast everything moves and the color of the city with its diverse characters.

Why did you choose to produce your clothes in New York?

JO I don’t mass-produce my collections so it makes more sense to control a smaller production here. It’s also easier to oversee the process!

What do you think of androgyny in today's context, when fashion is pushing the boundary between genders further than ever?

JO I think we live in the era of no boundary. With the Internet, we can communicate with almost any and every body in this world by posting something. Also, gender doesn’t really mean much anymore. There are less expectations and rules based on gender, and there are a lot of people who move in between the lines. I think androgyny provides a place for those who didn’t fit in or identify with one specific category.

If you could pick anyone, who do you think would be the best face for your line?

JO Currently I love the model Larissa Hofmann—she has a clean, natural face with strong features. She can be feminine yet boyish. There’s something very bold about her.

What's your favorite item in your personal closet?

JO White t-shirts! I own so many different cuts of t-shirts, but I always need more. And I love my jeans too.

What current fashion trend do you think will be embarrassing in years to come?

JO Big cuff sleeves? (Laughs) It’s very cute; but because it’s so exaggerated, I think it might look too trendy.

What does NYC have in terms of fashion that other cities don't?

JO There is so much overlap now so I can’t say for sure that other cities don’t have these qualities, but NYC has the most shades of black and skinny silhouettes. It’s very practical and rebellious, too.

What has been the most difficult part of being a designer thus far?

JO Understanding customers’ needs while staying true to my own aesthetic. It takes confidence, location, and purpose.

What has been the most rewarding part?

JO Being understood and acknowledged by industry professionals. They are exposed to so many designers, and seeing them have interest in my collection means a lot.

What music are you listening to (if any!) while working and being creative?

JO I listen to a lot of French electronic music to get in the mood, but I listen to almost all genres of music on a daily basis. It changes depending on how I feel.

How do you describe your own line?

JO Boundary-less; bold, yet subtle.

What would make you feel like your work has been successful?

JO I think continued recognition by others in the industry, and new interest from stores I respect and admire means a lot me.

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