Today, there are even plenty of fashion designers who have become familiar television personalities who appear on TV regularly recommending the latest fashion. It is important for designers to stay ahead of everyone else in fashion, and one such person is doing just that. While at high school, she won the reality TV show, ‘Scout’. She is now majoring in fashion to hone her skills and establish her own brand. Her vision for fashion captures consumers’ tastes as well as the current fashion trends in society. SMT reporters met up with Park Juhyeon, undergraduate student in the department of clothing and textiles.
What motivated you to dream of becoming a designer?
While at middle school, one of my friends attempted to enter a contest in which she had to create a pair of shorts using a sewing machine. Due to personal reasons, she wasn’t able to participate, so I entered the contest as her substitute. In spite of little time, I did my best to make a pair of shorts, and it was through the experience I became interested in clothing. I did my best, and in the end, I received a prize at the contest. A long time ago, I was only interested in wearing fashion, I never imagined creating it. However, I soon started making my own clothes and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I made clothes that fit my aptitude. My middle school experience made me take fashion design at high school.
Why did you decide to enter Sookmyung University’s Department of Clothing and Textiles?
At first, I’d planned to spend about 3 years working at a company before entering university, but my senior classmates recommended I go to university earlier and better my technical skills. Also, the head of the department said it would be possible to return to work after graduation. Moreover, a firsthand view of my future classmates seemed to indicate they were very happy and satisfied with the school and major. So for all these reasons, I decided to apply to university, especially Sookmyung. Because I focused on fashion design in high school, I only applied to departments of fashion design and clothing, but it was my senior classmates who really urged me to apply to Sookmyung’s Department of Clothing and textiles.
Has life at university been helpful to your dream of becoming a designer?
As everyone knows, in high school, students must take a variety of subjects like Korean, English, and Math, so I didn’t have as much time as I would like to have had to practice and focus on design. Also, the classes at high school were very basic. Despite the multitude of design possibilities, when I worked at a company, I was confined to children's wear. However, at university, I am able to tap into women’s clothing and hanbok. Studying these two distinct areas, I was able to also expand my talent into men's wear all on my own. I am really interested in creating a line of clothing that suits both women and men, so studying fashion at university has and will continue to benefit me on my way to my dream.
What made you audition for ‘Scout', and what were some of the projects the producers asked you to perform?
My high school teacher recommended I audition, saying it’d be a great experience for me. At each stage, from the preliminaries to the finals, I should be interviewed by the judges. And, during the semi-finals, I was asked to amend some clothing by first buying materials from Dongdaemun Market. With the items, I fashioned a dress. The dress was put on display at the theme park, Everland. Sadly, the public did not seem to like it as much as the judges had. For the finals, the central theme was to design clothing for a child to wear on Children's Day. I decided to use the child I’d been helping as my muse. I knew she wanted to be a painter, so I aimed the style of the clothes for her and her dream.
What do you think is the most important factor in designing?
I believe the most important factor a designer must consider is the consumer. Recalling the contest, I received good reviews from judges because I made the clothes with the idea of the child in mind. The child wanted to become a painter, but due to her family’s financial situation, they could not afford to buy her a skirt. I decided to make a skirt for her. Because she was only 11, I knew that she’d grow fast, so I made a Velcroed skirt. She would be able to wear it for several years. Also, I added a famous painting inside each of the Velcroed parts of the skirt so that as she grew and expanded the size of the skirt, the paintings would appear. My initial goal was merely to win the contest, but my design sketches were not very good. However, I think since I focused on a child, judges liked my direction and voted me the winner. Therefore, I believe that the consumer is the most important factor in design.
What is your ultimate goal?
First, to enjoy university life, focus on my studies, and learn from trying various activities like volunteering and club events. Also, I plan to spend a lot of time buying fabric from Dongdaemoon Market and making clothes that I will sell every vacation. Sadly, up till now, I’ve only been out shopping for materials. I haven’t been able to create any pieces to sell yet. Eventually, I want to have my own fashion line under my own name, so I hope to start as an intern or parttimer at a famous brand. From here, I hope to gain more knowledge about designing and company brands.
Would you please leave some final words for Sookmyungians?
I would like to recommend Sookmyungians experience all that they can at university, especially camp opportunities. I joined many camps while in high school. People always ask why I joined so many camps and contests and about the prizes I’ve won. However, experience comes from everywhere. Also, I have lost a lot of contests as well. I realize, now, that failure is also an experience and that winning isn’t everything. All experiences help me to grown and are beneficial. It is my hope that Sookmyungians do not fear their dreams, but rise to challenges and experience lots of activities.
Park Ju Hyun
• Winner of KBS ‘SCOUT’
• Former Designer at Hansaedreams
• Student in the Department of Clothing and Textile ‘16