Interview with the editor of Pictorial Project: How she created the biggest fashion project of Korea

My 6 centimeter heels pounding on the hot pavement of the thriving Apgujeong neighborhood in Gangnam with its upbeat music blasting out of clothing stores on every block, I frantically adjusted my tattered plaid blouse and military-style jacket, cursing as I tried to wipe a smudge of Nesquik chocolate milk off my tights. I remember muttering “Oh **** Konni stop being so unprofessional,” every two minutes as I ran into a small path packed with indie clothing stores and Korean makeup shops and finally got to Coffee Arco, where I was supposed to meet Dahee Jung, the editor of the Korean fashion magazine Pictorial Project. (For those of you that don’t know, Pictorial Project is Korea’s biggest independent fashion photography project magazine.)

Having taken two crazy taxi rides to get there straight after class, my once neatly-combed hair was looking like a mound of garden weed and I could feel my makeup clinging off my sweat(gross, I know. Note to self-please, please bring a mirror to next interview meeting). Anyhow, I had gotten there, and as I took a deep breath and scanned the vintage-style cafe for the slim, dressed-in-black, mysterious-looking, twenty-something Pictorial Project magazine editor I had met back at the 5th Korea Style Week, I saw her in the corner, reading the latest issue of Avenue magazine with a cold latte in hand.

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Absolutely stunning.

In her 4th year of university, she’s already the editor of a fashion magazine.

Unlike me, Dahee ‘unni’(a Korean term used when a girl refers to an older girl) was calm and poised, and I thought, “That’s how I wanna be when I go to university”-chic, independent, and open to new talent and new ideas(in this case, myself, as a young fashion blogger in the Korean fashion scene). Clumsily taking out my papers and voice recorder, I smiled nervously and started to ask Dahee unni about Pictorial Project and her fashion career journey.

“I knew I loved fashion, but I was skeptical of whether I had any real talent, so I made Pictorial Project to test my limits.”

PP was born in 2013 on Facebook! Dahee unni got together with about 40 people on Facebook who were interested in her personnel recruit post. Hearing this, I obviously had to ask-HOW? Unni, how did you get 40 people to work for your project when you were completely new to the industry? To this she replied, “Although we have an overflow of fashion projects right now, at the time there weren’t many project group businesses in the fashion field to begin with, so we had a fresher approach. I thought, ‘There must be other people out there with dreams similar to mine who are looking for that certain confirmation to carry on.’ ” What I found interesting about Pictorial Project as a magazine is that it didn’t actually start out as a magazine! Yup, that’s right-it wasn’t supposed to be a magazine, but rather a collection of photos that Dahee unni and her team of friends had worked on. Literally, a ‘Pictorial’ ‘Project’.

“And then we started to get offers from bookstores like Kyobo(the biggest bookstore line in Korea) that wanted to sell our stuff,”

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Volume 4 of Pictorial Project recently got completely sold out in bookstores in Korea, and now Pictorial Project is on a two-month renewal in order to provide their readers with even more artistic goodness. When I asked about it, Dahee unni calmly explained that ever since the start of Pictorial Project, so many other project-based fashion groups have been on the rise, and all of them have started converging toward the same theme and the same goal. After the 2-moth renewal period, Pictorial Project will be back with Volume 5, and there will be more copies for a wider range of readers(D:”My original targeted reader base was people already working in the field, but most of our actual sales are made by high school or university students who are pursuing a future in the fashion industry.”), and start being distributed as a web-zine too. However, the original overall style of the magazine will not be changing any time soon, says Dahee unni- “Pictorial Project doesn’t really have one main style. We’re just a mix of a bunch of things from different designers and photographers, and as a team we’re all about respecting everyone’s individuality. I think it’s what makes us unique!”

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“FASHION X ART: We care about artistic sensitivity, more than anything.

“We focus on blending fashion and art together, rather than just showing readers what the latest trend is and what they should wear this season. I guess you could say we literally are more of a pictorial than an actual fully-functioning magazine. Also, we don’t usually work with brands or designers that are already super-famous. We work mainly with independent designers that are new to the fashion scene, to give them a platform to showcase their work.”

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‘What if a vegetarian works at the butcher’s?’

“I try to create fresh, original images based on the most random, craziest ideas. For example, one day I might wake up and think, ‘What if a vegetarian works at the butcher’s?’ and voila, there’s my next photoshoot. But then again I must admit that you can never truly create images that people have never ever seen before; different images go round and round and we see similar things again and again like with trends. It’s just a new individual perspective on the image.”

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Dahee unni at work

“Passion pay”

a Korean term to describe receiving little or no pay for one’s work;

a term recently increasingly used to describe the Korean fashion industry

“I used to get a few people here and there being worried for my future, questioning how I was going to make money with just fashion. The fashion industry is infamous for being tough; lots of people start off at the bottom of the ladder and get paid measly amounts of money. ‘Passion pay’ in Korea was also recently a huge issue… but I don’t think anyone around me really was totally against me working in the fashion industry. Everyone that knows me knows I’m an energetic, active person who likes to roam around and work.”

Near the end of our interview, we shared a lot of ideas about the Korean fashion industry (since we’re both a part of it). I couldn’t help but nod enthusiastically, once again realizing the importance of having a clear outlook on the fashion industry to be successful in it. She said, I think the Korean fashion industry is the most interesting in the world. We’re so extremely sensitive to the latest trends and what other people are wearing, so people tend to consume fashion extremely fast, even though we’re not even one of the 5 major global fashion districts. The problem here is that when people consume fast, they’re also quick to throw clothes away. So many people buy cheap clothes from indie brands or street stores and get rid of them when they go out of style. No one seems to wear anything for a long time, like people used to do in the past.”

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“You mean magazines like Vogue, Cosmo, Elle, and W?”

Dahee unni sipped the last of her iced latte, smiling with her eyes, as I asked her about her views on mainstream magazines. I was genuinely curious of what someone who ran an artistic, individuality-based magazine would think of magazines that are targeted toward a more ‘popular’ and trend-based audience. Dahee unni was surprisingly very positive about all types of magazines, and I listened in awe, thinking ‘that’s how I want to be when I grow up’.

ME: “The fashion industry, especially the magazine sector, is under fire for promoting unrealistic body images and lookism standards, and I sometimes have friends that look down on fashion magazines because of their ‘lack of quality content’. What’s your stance on the whole issue?”

DAHEE UNNI: “You mean magazines like Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Elle, and W? I used to buy them and read through them when I was a kid and it would be really confusing. I would read a column in Vogue and be like, ‘the parade of a facade of luxury based on the latest trend which is… err what?’ And then I’d pick up a Cosmo and it would have so many different articles about different topics from celebrity gossip to a sophisticated piece on traditional Chanel eyeliner on the Paris runway and I’d never know what to read. But my thoughts changed completely after becoming an editor of a magazine myself. I began to understand fashion magazines properly. I think that while Vogue tends to stick to a certain concept or theme, Cosmopolitan also has it’s own style and it’s own story to tell. Every magazine shows what they can express best, and sometimes that just happens to be in line with modern beauty standards or the latest trends. And plus, there are lots of types of magazines… If you’re still young and need to read Vogue Girl but you’re reading Avenue, then you’re not really going to get much out of it. Similarly, if you want to see alternative artsy styles, you don’t look for it in Cosmopolitan.”

ME: “Hmm. That’s actually a really interesting point of view. So you don’t think there are any drawbacks with current..mainstream magazines?”

DAHEE UNNI: “Well, as a person who reads about five different magazines every month, I think there’s definitely a situation where each magazine is failing to be unique. Magazines that are more commercial tend to all have similar content, like what the latest trends are, how to get the guy/girl, what the latest beauty tips and tricks are, etc. I reckon it’s because magazines nowadays are desperate to fill up quantity, to make it sell.”

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The Pictorial Project team working on a photoshoot

“You’re doing it wrong, you’re going to fail,”

To wrap up the interview, I asked Dahee unni for a bit of personal advice on how to make in the fashion world.

ME: “Since I go to a foreign language high school, some around me are surprised when I tell them I’m going to be a fashion magazine editor because it’s an uncommon dream for someone in my situation. Some people even tell me not to pursue fashion! What should I do?”

DAHEE UNNI: “I think that times have changed A LOT since the last generation. People used to have to follow the ‘regular’ route to success, and if they worked hard enough, everything would work out fine. But that’s really not the case anymore. We’re in an era where success isn’t determined by the amount of effort you put into following the traditional path to success; it just simply cannot be determined. There are too many variables in today’s society. The line between professionals and non-professionals is unclear, and talent is everywhere. For example, to become a fashion magazine editor, you used to have to start from the bottom of the fashion industry, doing basic labor, and become an assistant, and then if any slots were open for writers you’d work hard again to become a writer, and ultimately an editor. But I didn’t do that-I just did my own thing, even though people would often tell me, ‘you’re doing it wrong, you’re going to fail.’ I think that in today’s world, you need to do what you love because it’s not going to work any other way. If you do something you don’t truly love, you’re going to be beaten by the people who are in that field of work because they really love it and are competent. Plus, I’d personally say ‘do what you love, and money will come naturally.’ ”

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Back to the start: I first met Pictorial Project at the 5th Korea Style Week.

They had a partnership with Korea Style Week and their own booth.

Thank you to Pictorial Project and Dahee unni : )

Intimate Conversations

Honestly, my life feels so stagnant and dull right now. It’s the same routine over and over, and I really just cannot stand monotony. No big projects, no big events, just day after day of overly peaceful, mere existence to the point where it almost hurts. Seriously, not doing anything hurts. But not having anything major on my hands does have one single advantage-it brings out the little things I otherwise wouldn’t have noticed if I’d been busy. Here are some unretouched, raw photos I took of my sister today and raw, fairly intimate conversations I’ve had over the past week.

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(while ice skating together last Wednesday)

Me, carefully tiptoeing and clutching onto the railing for dear life: Aren’t you scared that you might fall over?

Sister, laughing, whizzing past: Well of course I might fall over! But then how are you gonna do anything?

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My mother, on me:

“She’s a free spirit.”

(Quick shout out to my mum: Mum I know you read my blog, my ‘I’m a coward’ post was on your phone yesterday)

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A teenage dream’s so hard to beat
Every time she walks down the street
Another girl in the neighbourhood
Wish she was mine, she looks so good

-Teenage Kicks by The Undertones-

This song is my ringtone right now. Makes me wanna just drop everything and dance and not pick up the phone.

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Dad: I can’t believe you might be married in only ten years’ time! Time flies.

Me: I’m never getting married.

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The best thing about this outfit on my sister is the plaid. I love plaid. Whenever I see someone walking down the street wearing plaid, it’s like, damn we would be so good together we would be soulmates.

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Me, to my crush: So when are we gonna meet up again?

Crush: Um, I dunno. (and then proceeds to not reply for days)

(#yesIknowmylifeissad #whoswithme)

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Best friend: But I think YOU need to stop pretending too. It shows in your facial expressions and the way you talk. Stop trying to act all emo and tough.

Me: I guess it’s my self defense mechanism. I hate feeling vulnerable. I try to put up a strong front.

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Me: Did you know that I have dimples, when I laugh?

S.O.: Did you know that I have dimples?

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Me, to myself: Stop worrying. Get up and do something.

The story of how I fell asleep and missed my interview with Pixie Lott

Hey readers,

I feel like, because it’s hard to find an avid fashion blogger my age in Korea, lots of people tend to think I must be an incredibly amazing blogger. The thing is, whether I’m interviewing America’s Next Top Model models, hosting collaboration projects, or talking to magazine editors, I slip up a lot. And I mean A LOT.

For example, the other day I was supposed to be interviewing Pixie Lott, but I FELL ASLEEP AND MISSED IT.

Yep, you read that correctly. I just literally could not attend the online webinar BECAUSE I WAS FRIGGIN SLEEPING. IN MY BED. And this is THE PIXIE LOTT we’re talking ’bout here.

So here’s what happened. Recently I found a blogger community newsletter in my heap of emails. There was a link to attend the online Q&A session with Pixie Lott, hosted by the brand Magnitone. Of course, being a Pixie Lott fan, I applied. As I waited in anxiety and anticipation, I received an email informing me that I’d made it; that I’d been chosen to participate in the exclusive live webinar session with Pixie Lott. At that point I could practically imagine the looks of utter shock and admiration on people’s faces when they found out about it. Tingling with excitement, I posted this on facebook.

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And people were in awe, as I’d expected.

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I was too busy basking in the glory of being the first person among my friends to be able to exclusively interview someone as famous as Pixie Lott, that at first I did not realize that the Q&A session was in three hours. I was probably the last person put on the list.

I honestly freaked out when I read the words ‘Reminder: the exclusive Q&A session with Pixie Lott is in three hours(4AM)!’ in my business inbox. I’d been studying at school until 10PM that day, I was tired, I needed a shower and a nice few hours of sound sleep. A short internal conflict occurred in my head-should I stay up until 4AM and talk to Pixie Lott, or should I just forget it and get some sleep? After a split second, I decided that the former would definitely have to happen, because, who knows, this could be my big break, right? You never know in the blogging world.

So I drank my coffee, washed my face, and sat at my desk to prepare myself for the painful three hours of cruel, wearisome waiting in anticipation and irritation from severe sleep deprivation that were to come. I did everything to keep myself awake. After all, I couldn’t let my readers(you guys) down, and my friends were counting on me to nail this Q&A session and tell them all about it.

AND THEN guess what I did. I got a little drowsy, so I thought, ‘just 5 minutes…yes…I’ll just close my eyes for just, just…5 minutes’, and then I WENT TO MY BED. Now there’s one thing you need to know about my bed-it’s the coziest, softest, most sleep-inducing patch of space on planet Earth. It’s truly a fine bed. And as I lay down, I kept telling myself, ‘Everything will be fine… I’m sure I’ll get up before 4…’ BUT NO.

NO, NO, NO. JUST. NO. I DID NOT get up before 4. In fact I did not get up at all until the clock struck 7:10 AM. I opened my eyes, got straight up, stared at the clock, rubbed my eyes, then stared some more. The clock definitely said 7:10. I panicked for a while, even thinking, ‘well..well…maybe the webinar isn’t over! Maybe I’ll still get to talk to Pixie…’ But I regained my logical thinking skills, muttered some bad language about how I was such an idiot(WHICH I WAS), and went back to bed, because, you know, maybe it was just a big bad dream(which it wasn’t).

And that’s my story of how I almost, just almost, interviewed Pixie Lott. My friends were totally bummed when I told them, of course. My mother just laughed at me. I was mad at myself for a while but then, oh well.

This post was supposed to be about my almost-happened interview with Pixie Lott, but since it didn’t happen, here’s my reflection on the whole situation.

Thinking back now, firstly, I’m beginning to realize it’s not that big of a deal. #YOLO. Just kidding. That hashtag is overused. But seriously though, take that in for a moment-You Only Live Once. If I only live once, I wanna make mistakes, especially while I’m still young. I’m only human. There’s no point dwelling on the past and getting angry all over again. It’s a waste of precious time. Secondly, while I do need to forgive myself and move on, I also need to learn from my mistakes. Me missing the interview chance was totally my fault. I cannot blame anyone else for it since it was just the result of me being an idiot. Blogging and tackling school work all at once is turning out to be harder than I thought, and I do struggle. However, since I made the conscious choice to continue on with my blogging career, I need to start being more responsible for it. I need to improve my time management, primarily.

I also need to focus on the essence of my blogging. I always told myself that I didn’t want to be the type of fashion blogger that just posts photos of Chanel and Givenchy, accepting unhealthy fashion ideals and passing selling them on to the public as if those standards are the ultimate rules of fashion, conforming to trends without critical thinking. However, these days I often find myself thirsty for opportunities with famous, popular people that might give me my ‘big break’. It’s ridiculous, I know. I need to focus on my writing; my posts, which express my true colours and insights, and stop floating above my conscience, swimming on the edge of glamour and undeserved fame. This is my confession and promise to you guys that from now on I’ll remind myself each day of why I’m staying up this late(or NOT staying up, in the case of how my Pixie Lott interview went down, haha) and take myself to the beginning whenever I feel like I’m becoming too obsessed with the shallow glittery stuff. Because I believe I can make a positive change and contribute to the development of self-expression.

I love you guys. Thank you.

Interview with Lenox Tillman from America’s Next Top Model!

Hey readers,

I’ve picked up a new habit of doing, not saying. As the Tyra Banks(a major role model of mine) once said, “Don’t make excuses, make improvements.” Which is why, as I was watching America’s Next Top Model(ANTM) last week, I thought, “What’s stopping me from getting closer to pursuing my lifelong dream in fashion?” All the contestants on ANTM seemed to be making their way through rubble to achieve their dreams(heck, they walk down buildings and pose mid-air and walk practically naked down a runway full of strangers just to prove they’ve got what it takes). ANTM is a perfect embodiment of the bittersweet glory of reaching out toward a dream in fashion. The ANTM theme tune goes, ‘Wanna be on top?’ And this time I immediately think, “Hell yeah?!” And what did I do next? Reach out to ANTM, of course.

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(Tyra Banks and Lenox Tillman)

So here I am, a week later, with an interview with the smart, talented, and beautiful 19 year old Lenox Tillman from ANTM Cycle 21(the current cycle that’s currently airing). She’s one of the most talented contestants on the show right now, and it’s unbelievable that she started out as just a sweet, quiet small-town girl. Now she’s just rockin’ the whole competition with her amazing photos. We talked about what it’s like to be on ANTM(obviously!), working with Tyra Banks(gosh I can’t even), modelling in front of the judges, hardships, and some personal stuff.

You can watch Lenox and the other remaining ANTM contestants on the CW. Wonder who will win…(http://www.cwtv.com/shows/americas-next-top-model/)

Now without further ado, here’s my exclusive interview with Lenox! Enjoy! : )

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Keep up with Lenox! (FACEBOOK/INSTAGRAM/TWITTER)

1. Tell us a bit about your childhood. What were you like at school?

I was a pretty shy but active kid. I played softball all of my childhood and was almost always outside if I wasn’t sleeping. In school, I would tend to be the quiet and weird kid to everyone and I definitely wasn’t the most confident. I usually was just drawing and kept close to my small group of close friends.

Haha, I can definitely relate to this.

2. What/who inspired you to run for ANTM at first? 

I always said I would try out for the show once I was 18 because I was such a huge fan of it, but once I actually turned 18 I felt like it was unrealistic to think I could get on! It was actually my mom who saw an ad for a casting call and talked me into going and trying. So I guess my mom was the one who inspired me!

3. Have you watched the episodes released so far? The other contestants talked on screen about how they thought that your ultimate weakness was your lack of self-confidence. How do you feel about that?

Yes, I have seen all of the episodes. I love watching it just like I did with all of the other cycles but me being on it now makes it even cooler, I have to admit. Haha! As for the lack of self-confidence comments, I wasn’t surprised by that when I heard them. I think they’re right, and while I think I’ve come a long way with being okay in who I am, I still am super tough on myself. This competition definitely brought that out in me, too.

You’re only two years older than me but you’re so much wiser! 

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4. What was trying to model when you had to act “sexy” like?

It was awkward since I had a giant crowd of people watching, but I did my best and tried to laugh at myself throughout it since I wanted to be a good sport. I’m working on it!

5. What’s going through your mind when you’re modeling in front of the camera? Is it nerve-racking or does it make you more confident? Have you gotten used to it?

When I first started modeling I was absolutely terrified during shoots because everything was so foreign to me. I have gotten so much better since then, though. I now tend to just be constantly brainstorming from the moment I walk on set to the moment I walk off. I am much more comfortable with it and just try my best to see it as an art experiment that photographer, makeup artist, stylist, and I are doing together.

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6. What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?

Eat an onion.

7. Who’s your ultimate role model?

In my modeling career? Lindsey Wixson. In overall life? I have so many; I would say Jill Bolte Taylor, Stevie Nicks, and Florence Welch if I had to narrow it down.

8. Tell us something no one (referring to the general public) knows about you.

Hmmmm, I can lick my elbow! It is said to be impossible but I can do it!

Cool!

 

9. What are your plans for the future?

I plan on growing up and working hard at whatever I am doing, mostly. Hopefully, I can continue modeling and enjoy all of its adventures for as long as I can. One day I hope to own my own avian rehabilitation center or sanctuary, too. That would be amazing.

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(Lenox with Cory from Cycle 20!)

10. If, in the future, your child wanted to become a model and follow in your footsteps, would you tell her/him to go for it?

I want my kids to do whatever makes them happy. If modeling is what makes them happy then I will gladly encourage and support them.

That was such a flawless response, haha.

11. Are you a feminist?

Yeah, duh. Equality between men and women is awesome. Men are cool and women are cool, that is obvious.

12. What’s it like to stand in front of the ANTM judges at panel? What was is like to work with Tyra Banks?

It is terrifying! All of your hard work from that week is about to pay off or be thrown in your face and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it. As for Tyra, she is a great business woman and I really enjoyed getting to see that behind the scenes. I hope I can learn to juggle that well- haha!

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Lenox is just amazing. Inside and out.

I’ll be back soon with more : )

Here’s a huge thank you to ANTM’s publicity manager Ellen who helped me reach out to Lenox, and of course thank you to Lenox herself for giving such thoughtful answers(and being awesome).

The friend that looks amazing in her soccer uniform and sneakers

Hey readers,

The time has finally come for me to show you guys the photos I’ve been taking with the new camera that my friend Jen lent me.

I took loads of photos of my friend Jiyeon. She has a unique look, an interesting sense of style, and an easygoing attitude, so she makes the perfect model to work with. The sunlight was just perfect when we were taking these photos.

So this is what we managed to create after about two hours of light bickering and fooling around with the camera(which was a Canon DSLR, by the way).

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The one above is my personal favorite. It was hard to get the right angle though.

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“Why are they always telling me to sit?”

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I love photos of natural, honest moments, like the one above.

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Thanks : ) Don’t forget to leave a comment!

What we think ‘being an artist’ means

Hey readers,

When I hear the word ‘artist’, I imagine a free spirit; I visualize long, straggly hair, a pair of shades nonchalantly placed slightly tilted above the nose, a cigarette(or even better, cigar) between the quivering, chapped lips, with a paint-splattered ripped white shirt(or no shirt), and ripped faded old jeans, and to finish off, probably a pair of black Doc Martens(or at least something that looks like Doc Martens).

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(And it would probably look somewhat similar to this.)

I’ve realized that this is my way of absorbing what ‘being an artist’ means from popular culture: movies, novels, television, and online. The idea of being an artist seems more romantic now than it ever has before. Take the recent box office hit Begin Again, for example. The protagonists are drunk, broke, considered unimportant by mainstream society, yet somehow manage to overlook these realistic obstacles and strive toward an artistic, emotional, sentimental value, which portrays them them as true artists. (“Maybe music should be FREE,” Mark Ruffalo says to his music industry business partner/boss in Begin Again.)

Judging from how a huge portion of society defines ‘being an artist’, it seems sooo, so different from being a banker or a stock investor or a teacher. It seems like a job that’s so aloof from the majority of other jobs out there. Maybe it’s because most artists aren’t in it for the money or the profit or even popularity, but rather for the meanings of things. They often hold a contrasting perspective on life itself, and know(or at least act like they know) to appreciate even the subtle things, from emotions or moments to the feeling you get when you step outside on a rainy day to the randomness of the birthmark on the back of your left ankle(see? that sounds artistic, haha). We expect artists to not be money-driven, because we think that art is supposed to be pure and crazy and unrealistic. It’s almost magical in itself. In fact, I bet being an artist is way more romantic than Tinder(obviously).

Now, my humble, personal opinion is that I disagree with how being an artist is branded because it creates some unfair stereotypes for artists. And although I’m constantly tempted to lock myself in my room with my paintbrushes and 4B pencils and respond to my mother’s “Keonha you gotta study!” with “Mum. I’m an artist. Artists don’t fret over such profane matters. I need time to drink my black coffee and think my artistic thoughts(and no, I’m not daydreaming. Artists don’t daydream. We do creative thinking).”, I try to dismiss the thoughts by reminding myself of the essence of art(which I believe to be genuineness) and scold myself for falling into the somewhat shallow trap of the commercially painted ‘popular’ image of ‘the artist’.

But then again, at the end of the day, none of us really have/will ever have a complete answer to the mysterious, fabulous question of what being an artist means to us as humans. All we can do is write blog posts like this and express what goes on in our heads and try to scrape at the surface of the great holy truths of art. After writing this post, I STILL don’t have a straightforward answer to what being an artist actually means, but one thing I do know is that what I love most about being an artist(alright, alright-self proclaimed artist) is the freedom. You’re socially allowed to be totally nuts and display your true weird self for everyone to see. This is great news for me and all the other slightly crazy different humans out there, since we’re usually in love with spontaneity and sudden outbursts of randomness. Isn’t that how life’s supposed to be lived-free, natural, and fun? : )

Image Credits: http://favim.com/image/179077/

Picnic in the woods

Hey readers,

Although I’m not a big fan of being in the sun (UV RAYS! UGH!), I must admit that the right amount of sunlight and a green, nature-filled background can create amazing photos. Here are some photos I took with my sister on a picnic.

Keepin’ it simple with a white oversized shirt and black shorts.

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To like or comment on this post, just click the title of this post and scroll down to the bottom : )

Have a lovely day!

Bon voyage, everyone!

Hey readers,

I don’t really get to travel a lot because being a high school student in Korea takes up so much time and energy(Gahh I’m not kidding-I have lots of friends that only get 3 hours of sleep every night even though it’s the summer holidays right now), but sometimes I do find the space to just get away for a while and relax. A week ago I went on a family trip to the seaside! There’s this island called Jebudo on the west coast of Korea. We stayed there for just two days but I had an alright time, writing stuff, reading Shakespeare(okay to be honest the reading part was pretty boring), taking long walks along the shore, and barbecuing!

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(No kidding. I was reading Shakespeare in Jebudo.)

Aside from the stay at the island, one thing I noticed during the length of the whole trip was that for some reason I enjoyed the journey of getting to Jebudo more than actually being there. It occurred to me that this wasn’t the first time. Thinking back on most of my past trips, I had always anticipated and loved the journey to the destination more than the destination itself. (But don’t get me wrong- I don’t mean that I don’t appreciate the experience of mingling with people and chilling out at vacation spots. I just tend to enjoy it less. If that makes any sense.)

To be honest I think it’s partly because the ride there gives me some time to breathe; some ‘vacant’ time. It’s a time when I’ve got nothing planned and can rightfully waste time without feeling guilty-since there’s nothing planned which means it’s basically blank time, right?(Okay writing this is making me feel guilty… I guess being good at self-rationalization has its drawbacks!) Seriously, it’s one of the best feelings ever to just sit in the car/plane/train/whatever and look out at all the buildings and people and fields and cows(I really did see some cows on a field. No kidding.), imagining what their lives must be like. Although, life as a building is probably pretty boring. I love the moments of simply listening to good music, eating snacks, and writing about whatever comes to mind, like there’s no tomorrow. Usually I always have to think about my schedule and plans and all the things I have to do, and that gets to my head sometimes.

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(Journey to the top of the mountain…in my favorite comfy oversized knitted sweater.)

However, ultimately I think it’s because, when I’m going on a voyage, I like the feeling of knowing that the immediate future is unpredictable and may hold unlimited fun and happiness, even more than the sensation of the actual ‘having fun’ part that happens at the destination of the journey. In my daily life I spend way too much time worrying or being paranoid about my future-“Will I get this done on time?” “Will my teacher scold me for this?” “What if I screw up on this test again?”-that, upon hearing the phrase ‘the future’, I seem to unconsciously light a fire of paranoia inside my mind, and the fire catches on and I start worrying about everything related to what I was originally worrying about. So when I have something to look forward to, it’s great to have that tingling feeling of positive anticipation about the future for a change.

Is this ultimately a good thing or a bad thing? I really don’t know. But I do know that, in a certain aspect, it can be a positive trait, if I interpret it in the right way! Unfortunately, I often observe that many people forget to enjoy the ride to a certain destination, whether it’s your dream job/school, fighting an illness, or even making a peanut butter sandwich(yeah, enjoy your sandwich-making, people). People are so focused on their destination that they don’t think to enjoy the journey of getting there. “Oh I’ve got that test next month? I guess I’ll just sit and memorize everything meaninglessly and lifelessly until I know enough to just get an A. And then I’ll empty all the information out so that I can start memorizing for the next test. Even though I hate studying. God I hate studying.” Honestly. I swear some people think like this(and it’s annoying…). I mean, I understand that goals are made for achieving. But Dorothy wouldn’t have met the wizard of Oz without spending all that time making weird friends and getting into trouble with those witches! One way or another, Dorothy had to follow the yellow brick road to get to Oz. It was up to her to either enjoy the road or to whine the whole way there.

Let’s enjoy the journey together! Let’s imagine a bright future and dream big, so big that it scares us just thinking about it. And let’s work hard but enjoy all the little things along the road. I’ll be there for you : )

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(I am the statue of liberty and I shall make you feel better-from my debate trip to NY)

Let me know about YOUR journey by leaving a comment(click the title of the post first, then scroll down to the bottom of the post- you’ll see the comment box and like button) or reaching out to me at konnikim@gmail.com. Actually, it doesn’t even have to be about your journey, it can be anything and I guarantee you I shall respond to everything, sooner or later. I haven’t been able to respond quickly to comments lately so sorry! But now I can! : D

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(“What? You wanna talk? Gurrl I am listenin’.)

My good friend Rylee. And our little photoshoot!

Hey readers,

I took the MBTI personality test(Myers-Briggs Type Indicator), which is a surprisingly accurate test that can determine which of the given 16 personality types you belong in.  I got ‘INTP’. This means I’m extremely analytical. I enjoy(and unfortunately or fortunately feel the irrational impulse) analyzing just about everything and anything that catches my eye. It’s a pretty useful personality trait in terms of studying subjects like fashion, but today I decided to utilize it in analyzing my good friend Rylee. It made me see her more clearly as a person and made me realize that she’s actually a pretty cool person if you think about it.

This is the first time I’m writing a post about someone else other than my sister(who I always use as my model), so if Rylee is reading this she should probably feel blessed. : D

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(YES THIS IS RYLEE)

I was a bit worried about writing this post at first because I thought that maybe it would seem to you guys that I’m talking about a topic too distant. You know, the awkwardness when your friend suddenly starts talking about her friend from Art class who you don’t know. The irritation you feel when you’re having a lovely conversation with someone about ice cream and they suddenly change the topic to the history of quantum physics, and you just stand there with a blank, lifeless expression, thinking, ‘So you were saying… chocolate or vanilla?’ Yeah… I really didn’t wanna be a turn-off in that manner so I honestly am anxious about you guys’ reactions, so be sure to leave a comment and tell me whether you liked it or not!

Anyways, here we go!

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Think of that one friend-the most easygoing, crazy, spontaneous, yet surprisingly smart(probably the result of DNA, since, well, the day you see this friend being studious is probably gonna be the day Miley Cyrus stops twerking. A day we shall never see in this lifetime.), slightly-obnoxious-at-times friend. The one friend that we can always count on to grace our Facebook newsfeeds with gloriously disturbing yet magnificently delighting photos, always making us smile awkwardly into our laptop screens(, not quite knowing how to respond to the piece of exquisite photography before our eyes).

Well, in my life, Rylee is that friend. And she’s so amazing that I want you guys to cherish in her awesomeness with me. (okay that was too cheesy.)

The best thing about Rylee is that she’s always up for fun. Whether you wanna go dress like Lady Gaga and sing and dance like a lunatic in the middle of the street or just sit and talk about your feelings, Rylee will be there for you. But the thing is, since she’s always there, it’s easy to make the mistake of taking her for granted. Which is what I did yesterday night when I was talking to her on Facebook. It was 3AM and I guess we were both just tired and cranky when we talked, but that’s when your true feelings start seeping out, right? When she brought up the topic of me putting other priorities or other people over her and our friendship, I realized how there was so much truth in what she was (probably) absent-mindedly saying to me out of the fatigue and crankiness and raw honesty of 3AM.

So Rylee, if you’re reading this, I apologize. I agree that I’ve been pretty thoughtless lately regarding us and I’m sorry.

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Another great thing about Rylee is that she’s so brutally honest. Sometimes I can just feel her honesty smashing against my ego, but strangely enough I actually love that. (No, I’m not a masochist.) I cannot emphasize enough how much I worship honestly, even if it can be painful at times. I remember this saying that I picked up back in my Tumblr days-“Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes.” It used to be written on my phone background. I love that Rylee has the courage-something that I notice many others don’t have-to speak her mind. It’s really not that easy to be able to do that if you think about it. People are usually dominated under circumstances or authority and we always seem to find a way to self-rationalize holding our tongues even when we feel the urge to speak, but I’m proud to have a friend like Rylee who isn’t afraid to expose her thoughts, whether they’re right or wrong. If my hair looks bad today, then I can count on Rylee to tell me it looks bad! If I’m slacking off and need to get a grip and start working harder, then I know that Rylee will be there for me with a cup of coffee, telling me I’ve got to try harder.

There are still so many things I want to tell you about my friend Rylee, but I really think it would take all night. So I’ll just show you some pictures I took of her while we were on our photoshoot spree during our school’s festival and we’ll call it a day.

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Once Rylee said to me, “I want to know everything about you!” And Konni was happy that day because she felt thankful to have a friend who was willing to hear all about her dull, tragic life story.

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If there’s one thing about Rylee that I’d point out in personal disagreement, it would be her fashion. I personally would never dress like Rylee. It’s too sporty for me. (This is just my personal opinion. I’m not saying Rylee’s fashion is objectively bad. I actually respect the fact that Rylee is not wrapped up in current trends or the latest fashion. Really.) But I like the ensemble of simple clothes in the photos above, especially since they suit the atmosphere of the graffiti in the background.

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(Sometimes Rylee and I like to chase random ducks together.)

They say your friends are a reflection of yourself. (If I looked at a mirror and I saw Rylee looking back at me, I would feel… wait, wrong train of thought…) If Rylee is a reflection of me, then Hooray for me! I’d love to be more like Rylee. She’s athletic(hello, miss head-of-the-school-lacrosse-team), cool, and much braver than me in many ways. I’m grateful to be lucky enough to have a special person like Rylee be my friend. I don’t know what I would do without her.

I hope you guys enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Don’t forget to Like this post or leave a comment below- just click on the title of this post, then scroll down. You’ll see the Comment box and Like button at the bottom of the post.

Korea Style Week, Celety, meeting the most famous fashion designers in Korea, and how I found out I can’t be a model

Hey readers,

I’ve never been pressured to write a post before, but tonight I am. Not in a bad way though. The pressure comes from my own enlightened desire to write something worthy of describing the awesomeness of the 4th Korea Style Week and all the things I learned and all the wonderful people I met through the experience.

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I honestly have so much I want to share about Korea Style Week this year that, despite my years of blogging experience, I don’t know where to start. The experience was overwhelming in such a lovely way that makes me feel all tingly just thinking about it right now.

 

BRANDS, BRANDS, BRANDS //MODERN SNAPBACKS AND CLASSIC JEWELRY

This year’s KSW was THE essence of my fashion blogging career(if you can call it a career). I feel that the most distinct feature and exclusive merit of buyer-to-buyer brand fairs like this is the diversity of brands. All the brands are willing to engage with the public and are very willing to communicate, which is something I truly appreciated as a fashion blogger at the event. Almost all the brand representatives I talked to were amiable and open to questions about the brand’s style in general, which made it easy for me to do interviews and gather resources.

Since it was a buyer-to-buyer fair, I inevitably anticipated that there would be limits on the creativity/originality of brands’ products but I was pleasantly surprised to see that in depth, every brand had their own ideals/motives and each held a sort of pride about their brand name, which I loved.

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Walking around the maze of brand booths, I could not take my eyes off all the clothes just beckoning for me to come buy them but interestingly for me the two exquisite hidden gems that I discovered this year in KSW were snapbacks and custom jewelry. This is amusing to me because I hardly ever wear snapbacks or pay much attention to my jewelry(hipsters leave angry comments now). It seems to me that hats or accessories have always been side-dishes to the main menu of my actual clothes, which, I now realize, is a very inappropriate attitude(since snapbacks are just the epitome of modern, youthful, hip culture).

 

HATER SNAPBACKS (http://hatersnapback.com/)

The most popular snapbacks at KSW were definitely those from the brand ‘HATer SNAPBACK’, and I could see why. Their snapbacks had a definite structure(unlike those other flimsy caps that you get from brands that don’t specialize in snapbacks) and a unique, appealing style. Their snapbacks seem like a whole new world of snapbacks. They succeeded in creating their own pedestal in the market of snapbacks.

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Each snapback has the famous upside-down-triangle brand logo in gold and the same structure. The only variants among all these snapbacks are the colors and patterns. It gives a sense of altered continuity. The snapbacks look great as one big collection and look equally as swag-filled separately, too.

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I would pick out one personal favorite if I could, but right now I’m hovering between the pink fluorescent one above and the tie-dye colored, leather printed one below.

IMG_2649IMG_2638 IMG_2639IMG_2708 IMG_2651Looking at these snapbacks makes me realize the importance of creating a distinct, consistent brand style. The certain image that you have of a brand can really decide whether you buy or not, and something that all successful brands have is a proper understanding of that fact. Sounds simple, but hard to put into action.


CELETY 

This is a brand I now personally feel extremely attached to. I approached the brand representative with the usual “Hi, I’m a fashion blogger and I want to feature your brand..” and she said, “Are you sure you’re a fashion blogger?”(I will still never know whether she was joking or not) Slightly offended, I replied, “I’ll show you my blog!” She smiled coolly and said, “I’m kidding.” At the time I was taken aback by her straightforwardness and humorous nature but I soon came to adore her relentless honesty. After talking about my blog and showing her my work, she was happy to collaborate.

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Jewelry is something I’ve never really experimented with. Personally, interacting with a jewelry brand was like pioneering in a whole new field. And it turns out I’m a jewelry geek.

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Intrigued by their painfully beautiful summer collection, I couldn’t have been more eager to work with Celety. I actually got the chance to interview the brand rep. of Celety(her name in Korean is 임그린), and it was honestly one of the most meaningful conversations I’ve had as a blogger.

 

ME: What’s the most important thing in running a brand business?

REP: Uniqueness is great, but individual sensitivity is definitely crucial. I draw my inspiration and sensitivity from old pop, and therefore I don’t deviate too much from the classics. I just add my own color and structure.

ME: What’s the difference between clothing trends and accessory trends?

REP: Jewelry doesn’t really have cyclic trends. It’s been 8 years since I’ve been doing this work and I just reinterpret the classic styles of the past.

Brand Designer/Stylist: Accessories don’t trend on their own. They go with clothing trends.

ME: So accessories aren’t treated as a whole separate market; they walk alongside clothing fashion.

Brand Designer/Stylist: Yeah.

REP: I wouldn’t say ‘accessories’. Rather, use the word ‘custom jewelry’.

ME: Right. Custom jewelry. I have another thing I wanna know. When you design your own jewelry for your brand, I assume that a certain disparity must exist between your own personal style and the style that your consumers want from you. How do you deal with that?

REP: Yes, of course, there definitely is that gap between what you want and what your customers want. I basically just try to ease prevailing current trends into my own designs. It’s actually one of the reasons why I attend fashion fairs like this-to make our jewelry better known among the public and to find the line between my personal visions and public desires.

ME: Hmm. That makes sense.

REP: It’s really all about reinterpretation. I keep my analogue sensitivity but reinterpret it accordingly every time, just like brands like Ralph Lauren-I truly respect Ralph Lauren- or Yves Saint Laurent do with their fashion. They always have a sort of consistent structure, sensitivity, and sense of color but they manage to make their collections different every time. Our brand name, Celety, means celebration+party, and I got the idea from the song ‘Celebration’ by a band called Kool and the Gang. You should look them up.

ME: Sure.

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(‘Celebration’ by Kool and the Gang)

 

I learned a lot from the short 8-minute conversation that we had. It made me think of jewelry from a new perspective. Not just as an ‘accessory’ but as an actual part of the whole fashion scene. Later, the Celety brand rep. told me that she likes plain white tees with a simple eyeliner and a high bun, because they’re easier to coordinate jewelry with. This made me look at fashion from a whole new point of view. Fashion isn’t just about the clothes you wear. It’s about how you wear them and what you wear them with. And it’s also about perspective. In an industry where objectivity is almost nothing but a myth and sales are based on interaction through common style, every sector of the industry has a strikingly unique point of view towards fashion and towards other sectors. Albeit modern youthful fashion labels focus on studs, statement tees, and bright floral shorts, jewelry brands like Celety appreciate a clean cut look more, because apparently a simple, plain look is more convenient when styling and matching jewelry.

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(The brand rep. gave me this necklace as a gift. I picked it out myself because of the ethnic feel and the combination of colors. I still cannot get over how stunning the necklace looks and how much it means to me. It’s an embodiment of all the sleepless, blogging-filled nights that have led up to this moment.)

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(Yay I’m wearing the necklace!)

I know that Celety will forever have a special place in my heart and my career. The brand rep. said she would invite me to future brand store openings and all that jazz, so, looking bright here!

GETTING TO MEET THE MOST FAMOUS FASHION DESIGNERS IN KOREA//THE RUNWAY

This was a huge part of KSW for me since, well, obviously, it’s not every day that you get to meet the role model of your whole career. Watching the runway shows at KSW and seeing Ko Tae Yong(고태용) and Hwang Jae Keun(황재근) was something that I never thought I’d be doing at this stage of my life and being there and witnessing their presence before my eyes was so inspiring in itself.

I learned a lot from listening to them talk.

Ko Tae Yong, who recently had his own show in New York Fashion Week just this year, designs for Reebok and his own brand, Beyond Closet. I watched him intently. His shades were reflecting light, and they shimmered because he kept adjusting them incessantly. He was also fiddling with his fringe a lot as he spoke. His choice of garments to the event was simpler than I had expected. He looked carefree yet down to designing business in loose black trousers and a loose shirt to go with.

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Ko Tae Yong’s words about how a fearless spirit is imperative in becoming a fashion designer really channeled my attitude towards being head-first and non-stop rather than over-thinking every single situation and being too careful to take risks. During his interview, he calmly stated that the most important difference between designer clothes and clothes sold at 4900 won is that designer clothes are sold at a much higher price because they have a sense of identity, unlike clothes that are mass produced in a factory. It cleared things up a little for me and I learned not to view the high-fashion designer brand world with my usual negativity and slight cockiness, since although the high-fashion world may be clouded by stereotypes of unlimited wealth and useless hubris, there is definitely a reason why those classic brands are still a huge success in the industry, and there’s a lot to learn from them.

 

Hwang Jae Keun is the ultimate champion of Project Runway Korea. That means he’s a renowned, experienced designer(Whoo, shocker). He gave styling tips and answered questions from the audience, and although I didn’t get to directly ask him anything due to time management issues, I did learn a thing or two about the concept of fashion.

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I realize now that I’ve been so selfish about fashion and art. I always had that selfish ‘i-don’t-want-your-influence-because-fashion-should-be-personal-and-genuine’ type of mindset when it came to styling or designing, but Hwang Jae Keun’s talk on what fashion meant was an eye-opening turning point. He said that fashion was ‘communication‘, because not only does a fashion designer have to express his individual identity but he also must excel in creating a common ground in which to bond with his consumers. I remember an internet article I read about Lana Del Rey saying that she doesn’t like it when people listen to and reinterpret her music because she makes her music solely for herself. At the time I was sympathetic of what she said to a certain extent, but I’m slowly leaning away from that point of view to the less-stubborn side.

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The runway shows were a delight.

 

HOW I FOUND OUT I CAN’T MODEL

Now, I’m usually the one behind the camera, taking pictures of other people (or heavenly items that I find once in a while in the back of my wardrobe), and I gotta confess that although taking the photos is great because I get to direct everything and create my own little work of art, sometimes, once in a while, I do want to be the girl standing in front of the camera, basking in the glorious spotlight of that camera beam. It’s probably not just me(I hope.), I bet a lot of girls and guys have flipped through W magazine or Vogue thinking, ‘Oh man, I gotta do that someday’. So since I was at KSW with my lil’ sis, I decided to switch roles for a change!

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“Like this?”

“No no, put your chin down a little more, and SMIZE. You know what Tyra Banks told you on ANTM.”

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“Ohhh okay like THIS!”

“Ehh.. move your head back a little.”

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“What, you mean like THIS??”

“Gurrlll you ain’t ever gonna be a model. Stop that this instant people are watching”

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“OHMYGEERRRRRD”

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Okay, this last pic is the least monstrous one out of all of them. This will have to do.

 

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(This is how it’s supposed to be done.)

All my sleepless nights of watching America’s Next Top Model and I still can’t take a good photo. Well that makes me feel professional.

LAST THOUGHTS…

Upon concluding this exclusive, one-of-a-kind, fashion-filled post, I’d like to give a huge internet hug to my readers(whether they want it or not) and I’d like to say thank you to everyone that’s supported me and brought me here. Although I still consider myself a beginner, I must say that I’ve come further in this than I expected myself to be at this time of my life and I’m grateful of the fact that I can still find the positive, pure energy in me to continue on with this passion of mine. I’m having the time of my life here, and I guess I can only try hard and hope things just keep on escalating.

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