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Designer to Watch: Rejina Pyo


REJINA PYO PROFILE crop.jpegRejina Pyo is a designer we'll be keeping our eye on. In two years, the Korean-born Central Saint Martins grad has already been an assistant designer at Roksanda Ilincic, collaborated with H&M-owned high-fashion store Weekday to sell designs from her graduate collection, had her work featured in the 'ARRRGH! Monstres de Mode' exhibition, and, after winning the Han Nefkens Fashion Award, was commissioned by the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum to show a collection that seamlessly fuses art and fashion. Inspired by modern art and architecture, Rejina's designs run the gamut between cool, easy outfits that wouldn't look out of place at on one of New York's girls-about-town, and cuckoo pieces that blur the line between fashion and sculpture. Read below to learn about Pyo's past and future and to see images from her ready-to-wear collection and museum exhibition.

When did you know you wanted to be a designer?

It was more of a natural thing. My mother was in fashion for a while when she was young and I always loved looking at her sketchbooks. I remember when I was a child, I wrapped some fabrics around me, which my mother bought for a curtain I think, and I then showed it to her as if it was an haute couture dress!

What was your experience like at Roskanda Ilincic?
It was such a great experience. Having worked in a big corporation in Korea, working in a design studio is very different. I worked very closely with Roksanda. I was responsible for assisting all the key areas of designing including research, coming up with ideas, fabric selection, draping, sketching, embroidery design, print design. I also designed the Net-a-Porter exclusive collection and Debenhams collaboration collection. The job was so broad so I get to experience almost everything, which was amazing.

What inspired you for the collection that received the Han Nefkens fashion award? How does it compare to your current season of ready-to-wear?
The boundary between art and fashion is always somewhat blurred, so I wanted to experiment with a more direct approach. I did not want to create fashion garments that could be worn and had just been inspired by the color, mood or design of an art piece, instead I wanted to create sculptural artwork that had been influenced by garments. So none of the pieces are wearable, although at first glance they look like dresses or garments to some degree. Then when you get up close you can see the pieces are made using metal and plastics, together with some fabric, creating sculptures in their own right.

What's next for your business?
I think you know it's really serious when you are in Paris meeting buyers and getting stockists. We had some great feedback from buyers from all over the world as well as editors and stylists. I am excited about next season too. [But] I try to think of my label as a life-long project.

What's next for you personally?
Going to Cambodia and Korea in May with my husband who is an amazing chef -- check out his cookbook 'The Guilt Free Gourmet' -- so we are just going to eat and relax! Then it's back to work!

If you could dress anyone, past or present, who would you dress?
Diana Vreeland, when you see her, she dressed so simply and effortlessly. She always looked so elegant.

How do you feel about the state of the industry for young designers today?
There are so many young labels these days, so it is extremely difficult to make a name for yourself, but at the same time I believe that if you are true to yourself then there will always be a place for your designs. When that happens though is another story, so much is about timing and luck!

Pyo's SS'13 Collection:

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Pyo's sculptural exhibit on display the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum:

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